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Accepting Faith

SUFFERING KING: THE BOOK OF MARK:
Accepting Faith: Mark 10:13-16
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday October 25, 2020

We find today’s s passage in Matthew (19:13-15) Mark, and Luke (18:15-17) and as so often ISN’T the case, Mark’s telling is the longer more detailed telling.

Matthew 19:13-15 (ESV)
Let the Children Come to Me
13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people,
14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

Luke 18:15-17 (ESV)
Let the Children Come to Me
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

We’ll see Jesus make a priority of demonstrating Kingdom focus for his Disciples – who cannot become so task focused that they forget people. Jesus is going to be leaving, and this lesson is key to the disciples who’ll shape the church.

Let’s read the passage again, slowly considering it – looking for what if anything sticks out, how does it relate the verses before and after it, are there any things that stick out about the circumstances, is anything odd?

Then lets work our way through them:

Mark 10:13–16 (ESV)
Let the Children Come to Me
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

On this section R. Kent Hughes said:

“Children occupied a precarious position in the Hellenistic society of the first century. Sometimes children were loved and sometimes exploited, depending upon how they were perceived as benefiting the family.
For example, a papyrus letter written by a man named Hilarion (which ironically means “cheerful”) to his expectant wife, Alis, dated June 17, 1 b.c., instructs her: “if it was a male child let it [live]; if it was female, cast it out.”

This practice of infanticide was severely attacked by the Christian Church, which rightly boasted, for example in The Epistle of Diognetus, that it did not expose its children. The practice was not outlawed in Roman law until a.d. 375. Even then the law was not very effective. Roman law gave the father absolute power (patria potestas) over his family—which extended to life and death. As late as a.d. 60 a son was put to death by the simple order of his father.

Futher evidence of the nature of the world to which the gospel came is seen in the family abuses of the house of Herod and his public slaughter of babies at the Advent (Matthew 2:16–20). Children clearly were not presumed to be blessings in the non-Christian culture of Christ’s day.”

We’ll see here that Jesus stands counter to the culture.

We’re more advanced than the Romans however, we know kids are great. And so we don’t kill them.

  • Based on available state-level data, approximately 890,000 abortions took place in the United States in 2016—down from approximately 913,000 abortions in 2015.
  • In 2017, approximately 18% of U.S. pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion.1
  • According to the United Nations’ 2013 report, only nine countries in the world have a higher reported abortion rate than the United States. They are: Bulgaria, Cuba, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine.*

This is a plan b vending machine – the article says:

According to Shanta Katipamula, the president of the Associated Students of Stanford University, the machines have been extremely well-received and heavily utilized by students. In 2018, the machines sold 329 units of emergency contraception; due to student demand, plans are in place to install a second machine at the Li Ka Shing Center.

Yet we allow the culture that needs a second murder machine, and kills 18% of all babies it generates to set our priorities for us. We pander to it, meet it’s “felt needs” talk about it’s movies to make it friends with us and say oh the Bible is like Star Wars or the Peanuts Gang –

What about 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)

5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

What about we have our minds transformed:

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let the Children Come to Me
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.

This wording, “they were bringing” in greek uses something called the “imperfect” tense around the word “prosphero”, translated into “they were bringing” – picture this scene, Jesus is in town – he’s been going now with His ministry for quite some time, now as they’re in a urban area, people are continually bringing a stream of children.

The disciples tried to stop this flow this distraction from the teaching. Remember, they’re in the house learning about marriage, catching the clarity on Jesus teaching on divorce, and these kids are killing it. The word that’s used here is only used 7 times in the NT – always in the gospels. It’s unique and it’s a combination of two words that gives the sense of sacrifice and dedication. So they children were being brought to Jesus for dedication recognition blessing, perhaps similar to the Genesis account in Genesis 48 where Ephraim and Manasseh are brought to Israel for a blessing.

The disciples try to stop this through “rebuke”.

Jesus reacts here – and we should dwell a bit on his reaction.

Indignation…. Paul lists it as a way for Christians to react in line faithful christian character in

2 Corinthians 7:10–11 (ESV)
10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.

When the sinless Lord of salvation reacts to something in, indignation, we should perk up. A significant negative reaction in sinless character is exposing something. What is it?

Also, if Jesus had NOT reacted with “indignation”, Kenneth Wuest says “would show a deficit in Christian character”.

14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Jesus indignation was aimed where?

What caused in him this reaction. The word indignation is aimed at the acts of the disciples because they’d been rebuking the parents and people bringing these infants to Jesus. Jesus was indignant and didn’t want them hindered – why? Glad you asked, because in the next breath Jesus answers:

To such (children) belongs the kingdom of God. Why? This is a counter cultural view – and the culture can start to leak in among the believing.

Perhaps their receptivity, their lack of hardness to the message and their looking to Jesus for the answers, not in a challenging and obtusely questioning way tainted with worldview they don’t even sometimes recognize they have not shaped by experiences and hurts, but in was that are all accepting and take on shape.

15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

This is the prophesied Lord of:

Isaiah 40:11 (ESV)
11  He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Jesus brings clarity that the example of the children and sharpening “for to such belongs the kingdom of God” is around how they receive the kingdom of God. Rawlinson puts it like this:

“the point of comparison is not so much the innocence and humility of children (for children are not invariably either innocent or humble): it is rather the fact that children are unselfconscious, receptive, and content to be dependent on others care and bounty; it in in such as spirit that the kingdom must be received — it is a fit of God, and not an achievement on the part of man; it must be simply accepted, inasmuch as it can never be deserved”

Very well said!

Jesus uses this example time and time again, maybe we should listen:

Matthew 18:3 (ESV)
3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Unselfconscious, receptive, and content to be dependent on others care and bounty.

16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

This scene went from the disciples actively rebuking families for bring babies and very small children to Jesus – to Him, not only placing his hand on them in blessing – but cradling them as he teaches about their accepting spirit marking an entrant to the kingdom of God.

Jesus was counter to the culture of the day. Not to be counter cultural, but because the Kingdom of God doesn’t follow after worldly trends, the scriptures aren’t interpreted through the sense of a cultural hobby horse, but rather Jesus is the answer the question, “what is truth”.

Jesus is the truth – Jesus is the way, Jesus is life.

Ephesians 2:9 says:

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The longer telling of this story, which is on the heels of Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce in the Book of Mark is the inclusion of Jesus’ picking up of the children in His arms.

Mark’s Gospel is fast and gets to the point, it’s key phrase is “immediately” and when the disciples act perhaps in accordance with the immediacy of what they think is Jesus work – moving on without the kiddos Jesus becomes not just corrective but in accordance with His character indignant.

Jesus is exemplifying the faith of Children as the marker of His kingdom people, is that in us – do we rely on Christ as our righteousness. We’re in Adam naturally through our birth, but through our faith in God’s gospel, and Christ’s work, not though works but fully wrought trust in Jesus’ finished work by faith – we become members of Jesus’ kingdom.

Jesus’ thoughts aren’t shaped by circumstances nor culture – rather the Kingdom of God occupies His mind, what occupies, shapes, and directs ours? Jesus suggests we be like children knowing truth.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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