(This post seems to have disappeared so I’m reposting it. Sorry if it is a duplicate.)
We just finished with one of my least favorite subjects and move into my favorite now. Today brings us to Jesus blessing the children. I would have loved to be one of those children!
We got to see Jesus blessing this group of children through Matthew’s eyes a while back. That post was titled “Welcome Little One.” Today we get to see it through Mark’s description. As Mark was not there in person, we get to hear the account as it was relayed to him through another of Jesus’ disciples; possibly Peter.
As Jesus finishes His teaching and dispatches the Pharisees, a group of parents, I presume, brought their children to Him that He might touch them. Mark doesn’t say it was for a blessing, but just Jesus’ touch was enough to change lives. We aren’t told of any infirmities in the children that would require Jesus’ healing power, so we know they simply wanted His touch and anything that touch would bring into their lives.
As a parent I wanted Jesus’ hand in my children’s lives. I would have given anything to actually bring them to Him and let Him personally put His hands on their shoulders or hold them in His lap. I certainly understand these parents’ motivation. My children were and are precious to me, just as these children were to their parents.
But the disciples didn’t recognize this. I doubt any of them were parents at the time. They saw an unnecessary drain on Jesus’ time, and theirs. These children had nothing to offer Him, in their eyes. They tried to send the children away and “rebuked” the parents.
Mark tells us that “when Jesus saw it, He was indignant” (verse 14). I wonder what that looked like. I’m certain that Jesus didn’t get red in the face and start yelling at His disciples, but He communicated clearly with them that their actions were NOT acceptable. He told them to let the children come to Him. He wanted them to come to Him. They belonged to Him. Jesus told His disciples that they belong to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus further said that unless you receive the Kingdom of God as a child you cannot enter it. Jesus is not saying you have to receive the Kingdom of God as a chronological child but as a spiritual child. One who is open to learning His ways. One who is dependent upon Him to teach and care for him. One who is humble. One who is trusting. One who is seeking his Father’s direction in life. One with faith and innocence unspoiled by this sinful world. This is the person Jesus can teach and grow up in His Kingdom.
Finally we read where Jesus takes the children into His arms and blesses them. THIS is where I want to be. Where I want to stay. But this is not where I’m supposed to stay. I am welcome in His arms, but after I receive His blessing and ministering into my life, I have to climb down off His lap and walk the path He set before me. He lets me come back for a new hug and blessing any time I feel the need, but I have to grow and learn too.
Physical children do this. They start out the helpless clean slate, but as time passes they learn more and more about how to “do it myself.” That doesn’t mean they get it right the first time or really can do it themselves, but they need to try, so they can learn. A parent’s guidance, encouragement, and discipline provide the framework for the child to grow into the role of adult. It is not an easy task for either of them, but it is necessary for both of them, as well as the rest of the world around them. We are seeing the results in our society from too little of the key ingredients when raising children. We have children today killing other children and adults. We have rebellion in so many directions.
God, help us! We have made a mess of our children. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). We have forgotten the training part and want it all to be about “freedom” instead. “Whoever spares the rod hates his children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24). I am not preaching beatings for child rearing, but sound, loving, and consistent discipline.
Spiritual children need the same guidance, encouragement, and discipline to become spiritually mature. The lack of the key ingredients also leads to spiritual decay and rebellion. Take a look at all those who have perverted the bible to mean anything they want it to. Those who preach doctrines of men instead of the truth of the word. The bible is God’s instrument; His words of guidance, encouragement and discipline. I won’t pretend it is always easy to understand every passage or that it isn’t difficult to live up to the rules set down for us, but to abandon God’s word in favor of ANY of man’s creations leads to death.
Thank You God for welcoming me as Your child. Thank You that I can come to You any time and feel Your arms around me. I look forward to doing that in person in Heaven. To actually being held in Your arms.
Thank You for showing me that I have to climb down off Your lap too. That I need to grow and be about Your business. That I need to walk the paths You prepared for me. Thank You for training me to walk those paths. Thank You that I am not left to figure it out on my own. Thank You too for Your guidance and encouragement and even discipline. I KNOW I would be a mess without them. Like a ship without a sail. I need Your hands on my life. Bless me Father as You blessed the children. With a personal touch and encouragement for what lay ahead in their lives.