Summary: Jesus loves children and uses the children as an example of how to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Walkin’ with Jesus:
Young at Heart
Scripture Text: Mark 10.13-16
Kids! They burp, …they toot, …they laugh, …they cry ~ …and some of us-adults wish that they’d just, grow-up already!
There’s a part of me that’s-that-way. I’m not-really-sure what-to-do with kids. It doesn’t-come-naturally to-me. During our-stint in seminary~ …we’d do-our-time, …as volunteers our local church’s church-nursery. And I grew-to-have a great-admiration for my wife ~ …how she’d get-down-on-the-floor, …and play with the kiddo’s. The floor always looked so-far-down, to-me! Besides, I didn’t know what-to-do once I got down there! I was so-immersed in my deep-theological reading ~ …and these little-critters couldn’t-care-less about Barth or Brueggemann! They didn’t care about theories of the atonement! I couldn’t-even talk-with-them about the cartoon Martin Luther drew of the Pope!
The little-girls wanted me to play dollies; …and the boys wanted to race trucks and make engine-noises. The best thing I came up with was to pull-out these large-cardboard-building-blocks ~ …they looked like large bricks. And I’d try to get the kids to build tall towers… Now-that-I-think-about-it…I was kinda-like the engineers who gave-oversight to the building of the Tower of Babel!
But, I’d try to get them to build the tower as-tall-as-they-could. I’d even lift-them-up, …once the tower got-taller than they could reach. And we’d build the thing all-the-way-up to the ceiling. It was grand! I felt like, finally… we’ve accomplished something in the nursery! And I took a some-pride in organizing the little-kiddo’s and channeling-their-energy in a constructive-way!
But do-ya-know what always happened ~ …and sometimes there was hardly-time to relish our accomplishment ~ …do-ya-know what the kids did after the building-blocks got so-high?
Yep!... They knocked-it-down! It-was-like they couldn’t-wait to demo-the-building. I think that they only-reason why they went-along-with my suggestion to build-a-tall-tower ~ …I think they just-went-along-with-it, so-that they could give it a good-whack, …and watch the blocks tumble-to-the-floor in a great-big-crash!
I guess this-is-confession-time: I confess that there are times when I get so-wrapped up in the adult-world ~ …with adult-thoughts, …and adult-worries, …and adult-concerns ~ …sometimes I get so-wrapped-up in the world-of-adults, …that I have little-appreciation for children ~ …and the things that make childhood, …childhood! Kids are silly. Kids are imaginative. Sometimes kids are temperamental. Kids are short-sighted… They’re in-it for the moment. And they’re not all-that-interested in the world-of-ideas or the responsibilities that weigh on-us-adults.
And-maybe I’m not-alone… I love-kids, and-everything, …but I find-myself pushing-them to-the-side because there’s so-much, “more-important-matters” that consume my attention-and-energy!
Now, …One of the best ways to get into a Bible story ~ …and give God an opportunity to speak to you ~ …a-good-way to get-into-it, …is to find someone in the story to identify with.
This story has lots of folks to identify-with: …parents, …disciples, …children ~ Who – in this story – do you identify with?... The gospel stories are like mirrors for us to look in, …and when we look closely, …we often see ourselves.
I. Adults (Disciples v. Parents)
Let’s start-off by looking at the adults: There are two contrasting-pictures of adulthood in this story. The first picture that we encounter is that of the parents. They were-bringing their children to Jesus… Why?... So that Jesus would bless them.
Good stuff! Incidentally, …Isn’t this a snapshot of every Christian-parent’s desire? We bring our kids to Jesus ~ …by reading them stories from the Bible, …by bringing them to Church and to Sunday School and to Vacation Bible School, …and by teaching them when-and-where to see God’s hand-at-work in everyday-circumstances; …we bring our kids to Jesus.
We want Him to take them in His arms and bless-them and hold-them. Don’t we do this because we love them? Don’t we do this because we know that they need: His-touch; …that they have-ta-have His blessing resting-on-them, in-order-to make it through this life?
I understand why parents were bringing their kids to Jesus. They very-much-wanted Him to bless them!
But-in-contrast to the parents, …we have the other group-of-adults who should’ve-known-better! The disciples. They’d been hangin’-with-Jesus for quite-a-long-time, now. You’d think-that, by-now, they’d know His heart. They’d have a good-idea of Jesus’ attitude toward children. But they really-blow-it here, don’t they!?! Mark-tells-us that as the parents-brought-their-kids to Jesus, …the disciples are shakin’ sticks at ‘em! He says, “the disciples rebuked them”!
“Rebuked”… We’ve heard that-word before, haven’t-we?... As-in, when Peter ‘rebuked’ Jesus for telling the disciples that He was going to be rejected, and handed-over, and-that He was going to die. ‘Rebuke’ means “reprimand, …to speak sternly to, …to correct.” The disciples ‘rebuked’ them.
I guess the disciples were caught up with the same mentality that sometimes we get-caught-up-in: …thinkin’ that adult-business is most-important; …thinkin’ that children are a pesky-interruption; …maybe-thinkin’ that Jesus is way-too-busy for-to-be-bothered by parents bringin’ their kids!
Mark doesn’t tell us exactly what the disciples said, …but can you imagine-hearing-them: “People, …we’ve got folks-to-see and business-to-take-care-of! “Jesus just fed a crowd of 4,000 ~ …ya-never-know when another crowd like-that will show-up! “He’s got a full-slate: …teaching, …preaching, “…healing some-more-blind-dudes, “…arguing with those blasted-Pharisees. “He ain’t-got-time to play dollies or race-cars with yer-kids! “Back-off, people! Give Jesus some room! “We need to get-on-down-the-road!”