5 Oct

Seems Like Kid’s Stuff

written by Pastor No Comments posted in Blog

October 6 & 7, 2012                                    World Communion Celebration

Mark 10: 13-16

Seems Like Kid’s Stuff

Tom Willetts

 

Mark 10:13-16

The Little Children and Jesus

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

 

I remember when I first heard this Bible verse and understood that as a child Jesus was inviting me – welcoming me – advocating for – and willing, eager to give me special gift as part of the Kingdom of God – he was even going to take me in his arms and bless me. My reaction – “Get out of my way! I’ve got places to go and Jesus to meet!” My parents – with all good and proper intentions – placed their loving hands on my knee and shoulder and repeated the oft heard strain – “Tommy, now sit quietly.” They were unaware that Jesus had just spoken to me – of the impact of this verse. They were far more in interested in maintaining the proper decorum and demeanor within our suburban Methodist Church. Thankfully, I kept hearing this verse and my parents took their hands off of me and I still find that “I’ve got places to go and Jesus to meet,” so don’t worry about an expiration date on Jesus’ words but take a moment and ask yourself, – do I hear, “Now just sit quietly,” from your past or present in response to Jesus’ declaration of invitation, inclusion, and blessing to the children?

Children in Jesus’ day were the property of the father. Their survival depended on the generous spirit or whim of the father. They had no status or significance on their own. 60% of them would die before the age of sixteen. Over the past weeks we have already read several Bible accounts in Mark of desperately sick children – one demon possessed child. Being a child in Jesus day was precarious, powerless, marginal, minimal and hopeless. Jesus has already told the disciples – just two weeks ago – with a child in his arms, Mark 9:37 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”  Welcoming a child = welcoming Jesus + welcoming God into their lives. How easily we forget.

In today’s gospel lesson people are bringing children to Jesus. This is not uncommon. People would bring their children to traveling Rabbis’ to receive a blessing – a wellness visit to hopefully inoculate them against the evils – the precariousness of their lives. The people recognized the dire situation of their children and they recognized the power of Jesus to bless them. The problem was the disciples – those closest to Jesus – who didn’t care about the children – their need, their plight, their situation nor did they really care what Jesus had told them about welcoming children. As disciples they cared about themselves – their own personal relationship with Jesus far more than anyone or anything else. So as these inconsiderate, needy, insignificant children came interrupting their teaching time with Jesus they did what we all do – rebuke them. Previously, in the gospel do you know who else was rebuked – Satan and evil spirits. Children had it tough.

Jesus’ response is equally powerful, 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. Would you want Jesus to be “indignant” in response to your actions on his behalf?

Jesus provides a three part instruction to the disciples. He said to them, [ALLOW] “Let the little children come to me, [DON’T STOP] and do not hinder them, [BLESSING] for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Is everyone ALLOWED to come to Jesus through the ministry of our church? Absolutely! NO ONE IS EXCLUDED. In fact, the sinner the better. It’s the self-righteous ones that really cause all the problems. We are all sinners – all saved by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ. The more we claim the love of Jesus in our lives the more humble – the larger our servant heart grows to the point of total surrender to Christ. Remember your sin – remember your need – remember someone brought you to Jesus. Let them come.

How tough should it be to meet Jesus? What hindrances exist between those in need and the love Jesus has to offer?  TIME – SPACE – MONEY – EFFORT and ATTITUDE. I’m too busy to invite, to welcome, to serve, to teach, to sing, to read, to …. We don’t have the space to receive any more people. The corollary excuse, “We don’t have any more money we can give to build more space.” I’m too tired – I’m retired now – My birth certificate says, Find someone else. All of these can be more or less true or false at any point in our lives. Sometimes we have little or no control over our time, space, money or effort.

We do have control of our attitude. Our attitude towards others should never be a hindrance to anyone coming to meet Jesus Christ. I’m using attitude to address the quality of our character, our relationships, and our faith community. Do people see the love of Christ in our daily behavior? Do you witness to your faith? Do you invite people to church?  Do your family and friends see Christ in us? Has anyone referred to you as their “Christian friend” or family member? When guests and visitors come among us do we welcome them and introduce ourselves and offer a conversation and share with them? Jesus has set this as our standard – the expectation of being a disciple of Jesus. We can all control our attitude and seek to not hinder others.

Verse 15 speaks to our personal response as we do meet Jesus. We are to meet Jesus as a child – with NOTHING. None of what we have or do or have learned are necessary to impress Christ. The Lord desires a broken and contrite heart. Those children brought nothing of earthly value to Jesus – that’s why the disciples hindered them – that’s why Jesus welcomed them. All the children brought was the desire to be in a love relationship with Jesus. They brought an intention – a desire – a faint hope of a promise of deliverance. They sought relief in someone’s arms and the loving arms that did receive them all – without judgment or measurement – were the arms of Jesus.

When in the arms of Jesus we are not disappointed. (Jesus) placed his hands on them and blessed them. The comfort and blessing of God for your life. A relationship – a covenant of love that Jesus will not break or abandon. Sure, we are going to make a mess of it – all disciples have, even the first twelve. But the love of Jesus – the promise of Jesus – the covenant of Jesus is unbreakable. We are going to share in the expression of that covenant love in just a few moments in Holy Communion. This weekend is World Wide Communion Celebration. All Christians are asked to share that which binds us together – the love of Jesus Christ expressed in this Last Supper.

Come as a child to meet our Lord. AMEN.

Leave a Reply...

Name: *

Email: (will not be published) *

Website

Message:

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Find Us Here

2951 Trail Dairy Circle ~ North Fort Myers, FL 33917 Phone: (239)543-2686
October 2012
S M T W T F S
« Sep   Nov »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031