Summary: This is the fourth and final sermon in the series "Touched by the Master" wherein we learn the power of Christ’s touch in our lives.
A little four year old girl became frightened late one night during a thunderstorm. After one particularly loud clap of thunder, she jumped up from her bed, ran down the hall, and burst into her parents’ room. Jumping right in the middle of the bed, she sought her parents’ arms for comfort and assurance. "Don’t worry, Honey," her father said, trying to calm her fears. "The Lord will protect you." The little girl snuggled closer to her father and said, "I know that, Daddy, but right now I need someone with skin on!"
(From "The Blessing" by Gary Smalley and John Trent)
In this scripture the little children had more than just "someone with skin on", they had "God with skin on" in the person of Jesus.
People were bringing children to Jesus so He could touch them. And Jesus welcomed these requests.
What can we learn from watching Jesus touch the children? Here are just a few things.
1. Jesus touched the children to show their great worth.
The disciples tried to keep the people from bringing the children to Jesus. No doubt they believed their motives to be sincere. They may have resented this imposition on the Master’s time and strength. They may have even made the tragic mistake of concluding that the needs of children weren’t that important.
In any case they were quite forgetful. Jesus had already told them how important it was to receive children. Mark 9:36,37 - "And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me."
[Matthew’s record of Christ’s previous lesson about children is even more extensive - Mt. 18:1-6; 10-14.]
When Jesus saw the attempts of the disciples to keep the children from coming to Him "He was indignant". (verse 14 - NIV) It displeases Jesus very much when we stand in the way of His being able to touch the children. They are very valuable to Him.
The Bible portrays children as a blessing, not a burden. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." (Psalm 127:3-5)
Like Jesus, we should invest time in touching our children by being involved with them, investing time in them, letting them know how much we love them and how much God loves them.
There will be others, like the disciples in this story, who don’t "get it" yet. They’re not yet insightful as to the great value in children. But we cannot afford to let their ignorance stand in our way.
Sitting in little chairs with our daughters playing make-believe tea time is every bit as important as sitting at the table with an important business associate. Throwing the ball to our sons in the back yard is every bit as important as a major sales pitch in our corporation.
Children are valuable. Don’t overlook it. Touch them every chance you get. Jesus did.
2. Jesus touched the children to bless them.
It was common for parents in Jesus’ day to bring their children to a godly rabbi and ask him to bless them. With the teaching and miracle ministry of Jesus it was no doubt an exciting prospect to have one’s child touched by the Master!
Christian counselors agree that the first meaningful component of blessing others is meaningful touch. "It communicates warmth, personal acceptance, affirmation - even physical health!" (Trent & Smalley)
In 1945, a research project was conducted and was entitled, "Infants and Institutions". The project sought to discover the effect, if any, of the personal touch and personal attention given to babies. One group of babies was given continual attention and affection. Seldom did a minute pass that physical care and adoration was not expressed.
The second group of babies was ignored and left to fend for themselves with the exception of the meals provided.
The conclusions were as expected. Those children who had been deprived of attention and treated as if no care or concern for them existed were shown to have higher rates of vulnerability to illness.
Consider this story from The Blessing by Trent & Smalley...
A free-lance reporter from the New York Times was interviewing Marilyn Monroe years ago. She was aware of Marilyn’s past and the fact that during her early years Marilyn had been shuffled from one foster home to another. The reporter asked Marilyn, "Did you ever feel loved by any of the foster families with whom you lived?"