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This transcript was created automatically and may contain errors. It should be used for guidance only.
When you see that, I suspect if you’ve had children or you have grandchildren, you’re probably thinking, I’m glad they’re not mine. You’re probably also thinking, I’m glad the Royal Family has troubles like we do.
Sadly, some people think children should only be in their presence if they are controlled by adults
But sometimes I think as adults, if we’re not careful, we’re guilty of only really wanting children around us if they’re under our control. Sometimes not even under another adult’s control is enough. We’d actually prefer it if they were under our control. And we find it really difficult when children interrupt us or when they’re disruptive.
And so we end up segregating them and we end up saying, well, these things are going to be adults only because in these kind of circumstances, we don’t want to be interrupted or disrupted by children so they can go off and do their own thing and we’ll have our adult thing over here.
But Jesus treats children differently
But what is most noticeable about just those few verses from Mark 10 is that that is not how Jesus treated children.
Jesus did not treat children as an interruption. He didn’t treat children as a disruption to his ministry. In fact, he saw children as his ministry. He loved them. And not only did he love them, but he actually said to his followers, you need to look at them and learn from them that there is something about them that you can take into your life and into your faith and into your discipleship.
We are called to be like Jesus, and the children of today need us to look at this challenge again
And more than ever, I believe in this world, our children need Christ followers who love them and learn from them. When you think beyond our circumstances to the world, there are children in the world who are being exploited for money, for profit. Around the world, child labour is a problem. There are children who are being forced into prostitution, who are being trafficked across the world, children who are treated badly, children who are caught up in domestic abuse. And as Christ followers, we are called to stand against those things and to call the world to love the children like Jesus loved them and to learn from them instead.
Jesus’ disciples are guilty of seeing the children as an interruption
The disciples were guilty of that trap that we might sometimes fall into of seeing that children who were coming to Jesus on this particular occasion as an interruption. Children or parents would bring their children quite often to rabbis in first century Palestine and ask for a blessing. And that’s all that these adults were doing, all these parents were doing were just asking that Jesus would give their children a blessing.
But the disciples were guilty of finding that as an interruption, as a disruption to Jesus’ ministry.
I guess in some ways we can understand that. As you look through the Gospels and as we said last week we see that Jesus was constantly interrupted in his ministry. He was busy. There was always stuff going on and then when there was stuff going on there was more stuff going on because he was interrupted by more stuff and more people. People crowded in on him wanting to hear his teaching, wanting his healing, wanting his miracles, crushing in on him. Some just wanted to touch his clothes so that they would be healed so they would get whatever it was that Jesus had. And there were times when Jesus had to escape to places where nobody knew where he was – out into the mountains or into quiet places just to spend time with his Father.
Jesus is indignant
And so in a sense it’s not surprising that the disciples wanted to protect Jesus from what they saw as yet another interruption, yet another disruption to his ministry. It’s understandable. But in the midst of all that busyness, in the midst of whatever Jesus was doing at the time – teaching I guess teaching his disciples – he didn’t see those children as an interruption.
He didn’t see those children coming forward for a blessing as a disruption in what he was doing. He loved them. He loved them.
And this is what he said in verse 14:
When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children”.Mark 10:14 NLT
Jesus says, don’t stop them. Don’t see them as an interruption. Don’t see them as a disruption. Let them come to me. Let them come to me and I will love them and I will care for them and you can learn from them too.
Jesus Loves the Little Children
It’s clear that as you look through Jesus’ ministry he loved children. Not just these children on this particular day but throughout his ministry he loved children and he spent time with them. You can think of other children in the gospel stories.
The boy who was possessed by demons whom he saved from those demons and loved and cared for. Jairus’ daughter. Other people throughout, other children throughout the gospel story that Jesus spent time with and loved and healed and spoke with and spent time with, even though, again, on many of those occasions, those occasions were interruptions and disruptions on what he was doing at the time.
Here’s the thing that really stood out to me and it brought me up short and maybe it will bring you up short this morning as well.
The Gospel account in those few verses in Mark 10:13-16 says Jesus was angry with his disciples for stopping the children coming to him and for seeing them as an interruption and a disruption. Jesus was angry with his disciples. Now the Greek word for that word anger is aganakteo. Would you all like to say that with me in your best Greek accent? Aganakteo. Say it. One, two, three: aganakteo. There we go. And it means that he was angry at an injustice. That’s kind of the concept in that word, in that Greek word that he was angry at an injustice that was happening. He saw that what the disciples were doing was morally and ethically wrong. It was an injustice against these children. Some of the other Bible translations says that he was indignant. That’s the kind of impression that you need to get of how Jesus reacted to his disciples in this situation.
And here’s the thing that really stood out for me and pulled me up short as I was putting this message together. This is the only time in all four Gospels when this word is used to describe how Jesus felt about his disciples. This was the only time in all four Gospels when Jesus was angry at an injustice that the disciples were doing to these children.
So when Jesus said to Simon Peter, get behind me Satan, what you’re saying to me is from man, it’s not from God. He wasn’t angry in the way that he was angry about the way that his disciples treated these children. When Peter denied ever knowing Jesus the Gospels do not say that Jesus was angry at Peter in the same way as he was angry at the way that they treated these children as an interruption. When Judas betrayed Jesus the Gospel accounts don’t say that Jesus was angry with Judas in the way that he was angry at the way that these disciples treated these children as a disruption. Even when James and John were arguing about who should be first in the kingdom of God, Jesus was not angry in the way that he was on this occasion.
The only time in the four Gospels that Jesus was angry with his disciples was when they mistreated children and showed the wrong attitude to them, saw them as an interruption and saw them as a disruption. That brings me up short. That brings me up short. Maybe it brings you up short too.
He also recognised they had something to teach us
Jesus says not only should we love the children like I love the children, but actually we can learn from them too. The kind of faith that jesus is looking for is a childlike faith. What does he mean by that? Well, if you think about a child, a child is totally dependent on an adult, particularly when they’re very young, totally dependent on an adult, and they come with it to life with a kind of wide eyed wonder, innocence, purity, and they just kind of take it on board, just soak it in, soak it up.
When we become adults, we become a little bit more cynical. We have some perhaps difficult experiences that affect our faith and the way that we approach God and our relationship with Him. Jesus says, Let me help you strip all of that away. Return to a childlike faith. A faith where we put 100% of our trust in Jesus, not in ourselves, not in what we can bring to the relationship, not what we can bring to our faith, not who we are, not what we do, but simply to fall on God’s grace and God’s mercy and trust him with that childlike faith.
Let’s recognise God’s work isn’t interrupted by children
And so this message this morning isn’t very complicated. It’s not very difficult. I tried to listen to that idea of childlike faith. We don’t want to overcomplicate that. Our message this morning is simply this love the children in your life like Jesus loved them.
We are Christ’s followers, most of us, and we sing songs and choruses like, To be like Jesus, This hope possesses me. Well, in terms of children, if we’re going to be like Jesus, then we need to see them not as an interruption, not as a disruption, but to love them.
Now, each of us in our lives somewhere will have children. It may be that we have children. It may be that we have grandchildren. It may be that we have great grandchildren. We might have nieces, nephews, we might have cousins, other wider family members who are children. We may have neighbours who have children. We may have friends who’ve got children. If nothing else, we have children to love and to nurture here in this place.
And Jesus says, if you are going to be like me, if you’re going to be my disciple, if you’re going to be my true follower, then you’re going to love those children like I love them and overlook the times when they interrupt and disrupt us. Look beyond that and love them for who they are.
And then let’s learn childlike faith from them
I think one of my highlights for this year – I think it was this year don’t know, time is flying very quickly – I think it was this year – One of my highlights this year was and you won’t remember this because you’ll have all forgotten what I preached on earlier in the year, but I was preaching on temptation. You might remember the doughnuts that were on the mercy seat. And as I was preaching about temptation, dear little Elliot came and knelt at the mercy seat and started to creep along to the doughnuts just as I was explaining, sometimes we can’t keep away from the temptation.
You probably don’t remember the sermon, but you might remember that. And you might remember the fact that the temptation can sometimes creep up on us. And it’s a reminder. Childlike faith, childlike faith we can learn from them so much.
Listen when they sing in the Singing Company – and just that song today. Father, Creator again, not a complicated song, but words that we can take away with us. Father, Creator, Lord of the universe, thank you that you notice me and that you love me. Help me to love you back. We can learn from those things, some of the childish choruses and songs we sing. I hope that sometimes you remember what the fruit of the spirit are, because you remember it’s not a banana or an apple or a coconut or anything else. Childlike faith that helps us to trust and to love Jesus more.
And what we learn most from them is that we bring nothing to our relationship with God. Nothing. We’re going to sing a song together in response that reminds us of that. And it just reminds us in our childlike faith, there is nothing that can save us other than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. It doesn’t matter what situation we find ourselves in. Nothing but the blood can save us. Nothing, the chorus says, nothing do I bring, But by faith I’m clinging To the cross O Lamb of God, nothing but Thy blood can save me.
Now, we have six short verses in this song. What I’m going to ask you to do, if you feel comfortable, is that as those verses go by, if one particular line calls to you and speaks to you this morning, then I suggest you just come forward, face one of these mercy seats. You can kneel at it if you wish, but just put your hands out as an indication that you bring nothing to God.
And then in childlike faith, receive from Him His love, his grace and his mercy. And we can do that because our hands are empty. We bring nothing so that we can receive from God. Let’s sing these verses together.
Sermon Series: Divine Interruptions
- Sunday 29 October – Interrupting Jesus Disrupts Our Lives With His Love and His Ways
- Sunday 5 November – Jesus Loves the Little Children – This is the Remarkable Key to Childlike Faith
- Sunday 19 November – Jesus is Interrupted by the Hurting – This is What We Must Make Time For Too
- Sunday 26 November – God Is Never Too Busy To Be Interrupted By You
Battle Drill Daily Devotional Podcast This Week
This week on the Battle Drill Daily Devotional Podcast we witness Jesus welcoming the interruption of children, and encouraging us to have childlike faith. Each weekday we share hope and encouragement as we read and study the Bible together.
- Monday 6 November – How did Jesus treat people who were “wrong”? A Touching Tale and Teaching
- Tuesday 7 November – People Jesus Spent Time With: A New Perspective on Mark 10:13-16
- Wednesday 8 November – Unlocking the Secrets of Childlike Faith: Analysing Mark 10:13-16
- Thursday 9 November – Receive the Kingdom of God Like a Child: Insights on Embracing Divine Grace
- Friday 10 November – Unlock the Secret of What to Pray for Children to Encourage Growth & Well-being
- God’s Beautiful Gift Of Grace: Does God Forgive All Sins?
- You Need to Focus on Jesus not the Storm
- What Does Heaven Look Like?
- How To Apply God’s Word: The Most Wondrous Force Ever Seen
- Prison Life? Temptation and How To Overcome It with The Salvation Army Soldiers Covenant
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