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.
Mark 10:1 reads, “Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.” Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem to suffer and die for the sins of the world. He could have been overwhelmed by his imminent suffering and death. But whenever crowds of people came to him, he taught them with the words of God. Jesus also taught the religious leaders about divorce. Today’s passage shows that Jesus taught about who will enter the kingdom of God. The little children are those who put trust in the Lord and they will enter the kingdom of God. May the Lord help us to become little children and put trust in the Lord. Also I believe that to Jesus’ eyes, the younger the more valuable because earthly lives are the one and only chance to be conformed in the image of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, it could be the most valuable meaning and purpose of our transient life on earth. Thank God for blessing our UBF ministry to serve younger people. Thank God for blessing our LA ministry with so many children, infants, and babies so that we may raise them up for the glory of God. Who knows? They will one day become great servants of God who can willingly suffer for God’s redemptive purpose. Praise God.
Read verse 13. What were people trying to do? (13a) How did the disciples respond? (13b) Why might they have done this?
1-1, Read verse 13.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.
1-2, What were people trying to do? (13a)
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them,
The ancient Greek word here used (prosphero) suggests bringing the children to Jesus for dedication.
Many parents have some lingering desire to dedicate their precious children to God, for it is considered to be the most wise and valuable choice before God.
Some people brought little children(babies, Luke 18) to Jesus for His blessing. As parents, we can understand why these people brought their children to Jesus. Parents want God’s blessings for their children.
When we meet Bible students on campus, we must see them as precious children. Who knows? Their parents might have prayed a lot for them. In a sense we are reapers and their parents are sowers.
1-3, How did the disciples respond? (13b)
but the disciples rebuked them.
The disciples rebuked the parents. Perhaps they thought that the parents were interfering with Jesus’ important work. They might think that little children were not ready for the discussion topic about divorce.
We also know that in Jesus’ time, women and children were marginalized (6:44).
But because children love to come to Jesus, we should not fail to provide them a way to come to Jesus.
The prayers and words of a parent can mean so much in the salvation of a child. Many servants recalled the prayers of their mothers for them.
For example, Charles Spurgeon said, "Then came a mother's prayer, and some of the words of a mother's prayer we shall never forget, even when our hair is grey. I remember on one occasion her praying thus: 'Now, Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them on the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.' That thought of a mother bearing swift witness against me, pierced my conscience and stirred my heart."
1-4, Why might they have done this?
They might have done so because of their authoritative attitude of adult men or legalistic minds like that of the Pharisees.
Although they followed Jesus, their minds were still legalistic and judgemental.
Read verse 14. Describe Jesus’ heart towards His disciples? (14a) Why did Jesus ask them not to keep the little children from coming to Him? (14b)
2-1, Read verse 14.
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.
2-2, Describe Jesus’ heart towards His disciples? (14a)
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant.
Jesus had been disappointed by the Pharisees who came to him to ask a question about divorce, not because they wanted to learn the truth but to test him.
He was now indignant because his disciples did not welcome the little children. Jesus wanted his disciples to be different from the Pharisees.
2-3, Why did Jesus ask them not to keep the little children from coming to Him? (14b)
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.
Children love to come to Jesus. It shows something about Him that children love to come to Him and He loved children. Children do not love mean people.
He really wanted his disciples to have a learning mind like a little child. Jesus wants us to be like a little child.
Little child had some of the noble characteristics, that is to trust his parents. He feels safe in the arms of his father even on a stormy night.
A child is obedient to her parents. She simply follows her parents’ word even when she does not fully understand the reason.
A child has a great learning mind. He often asks questions to learn. A child is also pure and innocent. He or she is not pretending or self righteous like the Pharisees.
Read verses 15-16. What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God like a little child? (15) What example did Jesus show? (16) What can we learn from this passage?
3-1, Read verses 15-16.
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.
3-2, What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God like a little child? (15)
15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Matthews 18:1-5 reads, At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
In our sinful generation, many people despise these child-like characteristics. They refused to simply trust God and obey his word. They have no learning minds. Those who left the church lacked or lost such a learning mind.
Even some children in our society have lost their innocence and act like childish adults. But Jesus teaches us that we must be like innocent little children. We must trust and obey God like little children in order to enter the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 14:20 reads,
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
3-3, What example did Jesus show? (16)
16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Jesus simply yet powerfully, blessed them. The ancient Greek verb is emphatic, literally meaning to fervently bless.
How could children receive such a blessing from Jesus? Because children can receive the blessing of Jesus without trying to make themselves worthy of it, or pretending they do not need it. We need to receive God's blessing the same way.
3-4, What can we learn from this passage?
Children are not only for blessing but they are also examples of how we must enter the kingdom with a childlike faith, not with a childish faith.
We must come to God with a faith that trusts God fully just like a little child with trust in his father and leave all the problems up to daddy.
The emphasis isn't that children are humble and innocent, because sometimes they aren't. But the emphasis is on the fact that children will receive, and don't feel they have to earn everything they get.
Children are in a place where often all they can do is receive. They don't refuse gifts out of self-sufficient pride.
So we must receive the kingdom of God as a little child. According to Greek word, “lambano”, active participation by the receiver requires!
We must receive, believe, and welcome Jesus willingly. Salvation involves a person, believing truths about that person(the gospel of Jesus Christ), and living a life imitating or emulating that person.
So there is an initial and ongoing volitional aspect of salvation. Nowadays people focus on grace and easy way of belief with lip services. But it is more than that.
That is why in Mark’s gospel Jesus helped His disciples to deny themselves, take up their own cross and follow Jesus in light of suffering to participate in His salvation work.
Luke 18:15-17 reads,
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Praise Jesus who grant us the valuable lesson in and through little children. May the Lord help us to fully trust in Him especially in these unpredictable times so that we may live a life of mission to serve Him only rather than calculating and worrying for anything. May the Lord help us to deny ourselves so that we may receive the kingdom of God here and now and be a source of blessing for many by spreading our faith in the Living and Almighty God! Amen.