VERSE DISCOVERY: Mark 10:13-16 (KJV, Public Domain)
There is a familiar scene that plays out in many families between dad, mom, and the little ones. It is the one where the father, playing with his children, tosses them into the air and catches them on a band of giggles coming from the child while the mother stands on the sidelines holding her breath.
The father with a sure grip and a steady hand has no qualms playing this innocent game. The child, often young, just thinks it is absolutely hilarious to go for this free ride. The child never worries about being caught. The child never worries about being hurt. The child only sees daddy. Daddy loves me, daddy cares for me, I trust daddy and daddy will never let me fall. Therefore, I will enjoy playing with daddy.
From the time that children are born, they have an innate capacity to trust. They are literally at the whim of their caretakers and can do nothing for themselves. Their dependency is constantly on others to feed, care for, and love them in their most vulnerable state. In their innocence, they do not judge by anything outwardly but, only by the love they receive inwardly.
Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). Children are our future. These little ones will be the next carriers of God’s Word. They will be the conduits through which generations after them will find their way to the Lord and His salvation. At the same time, children can teach us so many things and one of the things they teach us is how to have faith.
Faith gets over-complicated in the adult way of thinking while children just simply receive, remain dependent, trust, and believe. And that is all God asks from all His children, no matter what their age is.
Mark 10:13 “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.”
Teachings on the kingdom of God and examples of what true faith looks like were never far from Jesus’ vocabulary. He took many times and opportunities to open the understanding of all who would listen and heed what God looks for in a true follower of His.
In this lesson, He gives us an undeniable example of both as parents in the crowd “brought young children to him.” The desires of the parents in question are to have Jesus “touch” their children thereby blessing them. This was not an uncommon practice in this ancient culture.
The truth is parents always want what is best for their children. If they find a good thing, naturally they would want their children exposed to it as much as possible. Many modern-day parents spend an enormous amount of money each year to give their children the best clothes, education, housing… the best start in life, if and as they are each able to do.
The parents in today’s lesson saw Jesus teaching and healing and showing compassion to many people, many times over. He was (and still is) the best thing they could give to their children. Why would they not want their child exposed to Him? Why would they not seek a “touch” from Jesus for their little ones if they could?
A child’s faith often starts with their parents (or guardian), and in the home. It’s where God gave the command of responsibility to Moses for the parents to “teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house…” (Deuteronomy 6:7; see also Deut. 11:19). There are many variables that go into raising a child. Parents really must take into consideration and calculate what their children are exposed to on a daily basis and whether or not it is beneficial to their physical and spiritual wellbeing. The guidelines given to Moses to pass down through the generations was to ensure that the most impressionable of society receive the proper exposure to the things of God; to what would benefit their children the most. This would also ensure the longevity of the faith amongst the community as a whole.
Those in today’s lesson wanted to expose their children to Jesus. They wanted Him to touch their little ones with a blessing. They brought their children near to where Jesus was, giving them the opportunity to hear of His teaching and wisdom on life and the kingdom of God. The Bible encourages us to, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” (Proverbs 22:6). This stands as a strong lesson that if we want our children to be exposed to Jesus, then we, as parents, must take that responsibility and not depend on others to do it for us. When it comes to our children’s faith there can be no complacent parenting.
“And his disciples rebuked those that brought them.” The disciples didn’t have the same vision for the children as the parents did. The Bible does not exactly state why their rebuke was so strong (although many speculate). But they did prohibit the parents from bringing the children nearer to where Jesus was and made no attempts to hide their displeasure at the intrusion.
Did they think the children were unworthy of the Master’s time and consideration? Maybe they believed Jesus was just too busy and important to deal with the likes of these. Who knows? Perhaps it would have been prudent for them to ask Jesus first instead of thinking to act on His behalf. The fact of the matter is they stood in between Jesus and the children. Something Jesus highly disapproved of.
Everyone MATTERs TO JESUS
Mark 10:14 “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Jesus intervened. Jesus has never turned away a desiring soul. He has never told a mom or dad no who sought physical or spiritual healing for their child. And He was not going to turn down or turn away those who desired a special spiritual blessing or touch for their children now.
One of the most precious things I love about our Lord is His ability to see value in everybody. Those whom society thinks are the lesser, non-important, are magnificent in the eyes of our God. The Bible teaches us, “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows,” (Luke 12:7).
To Him, it does not matter where you live, what your social status in life is, or anything else like that. It does not matter if you are aged with wisdom or new and in the innocence of your years. He that knows the days then, the days now, and the days to come and sees beyond all of that, straight down to the very soul He loves. With that, He invites or allows (“suffer” as this lesson puts it) them to come unto Him.
Previously I wrote in another lesson, “The feet of faith walk forward believing God is, “and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in its highest form removes all worldly shackles and just rests in the truth that if it is His will, there is nothing that can hinder God from performing a miracle in one’s life. Ethnicity, background, and prestige all fall away in the eyes of our Savior whose only view is that of an opened heart filled with belief,” (Word for Life Says/The Centurion’s Great Faith). All are welcomed before Him: man, woman, and child. Many are quick to write off young people, but our youths’ matter to Jesus, too! Everyone matters to Him!
“Forbid them not,” Jesus commanded. Do not prevent people, no matter who they are, from drawing nearer to Christ. The constraints that society then and now may put on some people are not recognized by God.
Youths especially come packed with potential. For example, Samuel was dedicated to God as an incredibly young child (1 Sam. 1:21-28) and became a righteous judge of God’s people. Josiah, became king at the tender age of 8 (2 Chr. 34:1), and “in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,” (2 Chr. 34:3) and eventually went on to make great reformations for God’s people in turning them back to true worship (2 Chr. 34-35) which all started while he was still young. Timothy learned from his grandmother and mother about true faith and helped the apostle Paul during his missionary journeys and in the establishing of new churches (2 Tim. 1:5). And, let us not forget our Lord Jesus Christ who was found at the age of 12 in the temple with the “doctors”, amazing all who saw Him and heard “his understanding and answers,” (Luke 2:41-52). It is far better that potential is tapped in young people for the glory of God than for the things of this world.
I am sure the disciples thought they were doing their best in providing protection and care for their Master. Yet, Jesus has always had an open-door policy when it comes to people. People matter to our Savior, even the littlest people – the kiddos. Jesus always had a heart that burned for drawing people near and exposing to them the kingdom of God. He loves people. He loves children. And He loves you, too!
“For of such is the kingdom of God.” God’s kingdom is made of those who trust Him with total abandon and are dependent without inhibitions; that have faith and just believe as through the eyes of an innocent child. Too many adults are hindered in their faith due to life experiences. But children just accept and believe and love and trust. They are prime examples of how His sheep come to the Shepherd and humbly follow His lead.
Faith as a Child
Mark 10:15 “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”
Continuing His line of teaching on the kingdom of God, Jesus reiterates the one who wishes to enter in must “receive” it “as a little child.” Those who choose not, forfeit their right to “enter therein.”
Why? Because the same characteristics that made that celebrated faith like a child acceptable in heaven are not found in those who refuse to receive it. In fact, the exact opposite is usually what is present. Instead of trusting, one may see self-sufficiency, and instead of a heart surrendered in faith, one may see it being lifted in pride. Of course, one does not have to go far in realizing these are things God opposes. They are not found in His children, the accessors of that heavenly kingdom, therefore to them who refuse to receive it as a child, access is denied.
The promise of heaven awaits any and all who will humble themselves as these children do and put on those same traits. Walking in a lifestyle that opposes the fruit of the Spirit which is often found in these little ones is to oppose the working of the Spirit in that life. Flesh wins and carnality overtakes that individual prohibiting them an opened door into the heavenly realm.
Do not be like the children of Israel. God led them through the wilderness, and they fell short of the promise that lay ahead of them. Losing out on the spiritual blessings of entering heaven would be far worse with more significant eternal consequences than that of an earthly Promised Land. Therefore, it is prudent that one takes on this faith, which He describes as being like a child in their trust and willingness to receive, that they may enter in.
Blessed by Jesus
Mark 10:16 “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
After His lesson on the benefits of having the same faith as these little ones that were brought before Him, Jesus granted the parent’s request and “blessed them.”
Look at Jesus’ actions closely. He did not just speak a word over them as He could have. He did not send one of the disciples to relay the blessings. No. He got personally involved with each child there in showing them the compassion of the Savior. He lifted “them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” I get the impression that He possibly took the time to lay hands on each child individually as any good father or spiritual leader would and speak a word of encouragement over each one of them (just my thoughts).
Remember our introduction: “The child never worries about being caught. The child never worries about being hurt. The child only sees daddy. Daddy loves me, daddy cares for me, I trust daddy and daddy will never let me fall. Therefore, I will enjoy playing with daddy.” Jesus is calling for all of us to turn to Him with that same kind of innocent and trusting faith found in children. Your heavenly Daddy loves you! Turn to Him.
PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – Jesus Blesses the Children
Lesson Opener: If you tried to put a picture to the word faith, what would that picture look like? What would it show? (As you present the questions in the following paragraph to open the lesson, have pictures ready that depict the scenes being spoken of.)
Would we see one authoritatively speaking with power to the multitudes (show picture)? Would we see miracles and signs being performed (show picture)? Or would you see the face of an innocent child (show picture)?
When Jesus taught about what those who enter the kingdom of God and what they would be compared to, in this lesson, He likened them to the picture of an innocent child.
While all the others are very real signs of things being done by those who profess and walk in the faith – what it all boils down to is if one wants to enter His heavenly kingdom, they must, in faith, receive it as a child.
Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Jesus Blesses the Children
Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Jesus Blesses the Children
Blank Journal Pages: These pages, one designed for adults and one for children, can be used to bring out, remember, or write a particular part of the lesson you wish for you and/or your class to focus on. Click>>Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages to access the journal pages.
Paper Bag Puppet Craft: Younger students can also put together a paper bag puppet depicting themselves and, on the back, attach the phrase from the printable available on site which states, “Jesus Thinks I’m Special, Too!” Click here for the printable PDF.
Draw the Scene: Jesus Blesses the Children Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: Jesus Blesses the Children Memory Verse
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