Pentecost 20 – Proper 22
October 7, 2018
The Savior’s perspective on children
Over a million children are victimized by parents; broken bones, missing teeth, burns, bruises, etc. In contrast, Jesus urges parents to bring children to Him that He might bless and love them. He calls parents to provide, protect, and love His children. Though parents may not physically abuse their children, they may be cruel to them by neglecting them. Good parents want only the best for their children. This morning Jesus asks parents to permit their children to come to Him. By doing this we are doing a very good thing.
Bring your children to Jesus and permit them –
1. To be blessed by Jesus – V.16
2. To know Jesus by your instruction
3. To come to Jesus by Baptism – V. 14
O Spirit of the Father, breathe on them from above. So searching in Your pureness, So tender in Your love, that guarded by Your presence and kept from strife and sin, their hearts may heed Your guidance and know You dwell within. (LSB 858; 3)
I. Bring your children to Jesus and permit them to be blessed by Jesus. (v. 16) “And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.” Jesus took the small children in His arms and blessed them (cf. 9:36-37) - “He took a little child and had Him stand among them. Taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.”
This is a striking act taken by the Savior. He is showing His love for them. Apparently these were fairly small children. This was the overflowing of Jesus' divine love for children. It was this experience - that the disciples in their insensitivity - were preventing the children from having and Jesus from giving. No wonder Jesus was indignant!
A. One of the greatest gifts we can give is an investment to our children. What wouldn’t we do for our children? Time and circumstances may change from one generation to the other - yet one truth remains central – we want to do right by our children. But far and above and temporal gift we can bestow on our children are the spiritual blessings we offer them. These parents begged Jesus that He would touch them, but He did more. This says something about the Savior – He gives far and above what we could ever ask or think.
1. He took them in His arms. Now the Scripture was fulfilled. Isaiah 40:11 reminds us, He shall gather the lambs in His arms, and carry them in His bosom. There was a time, when Christ Himself was taken up in the old man Simeon’s arms, (Luke 2:28). Now He took up these children, not complaining of the burden – Not as Moses did, when he was told to carry Israel, that peevish child, in his bosom, as a nursing father bears the sucking child, (Numbers 11:12). Jesus was pleased with it. If we in a right manner bring our children to Christ, He will take them up, not only in the arms of His power and providence, but in the arms of His pity and grace, (see Ezekiel 16:8); for under them are His everlasting arms.
2. He put His hands upon them, indicating the bestowing of His Spirit upon them (for that is the hand of the Lord), and His sets them apart for Himself. Children are an inheritance from the Lord. They are set apart to be a blessing.
3. He blessed them - with the spiritual blessings which only He can give. Our children are happy, if they have but the Savior’s blessing. This is what we attempt to do when our babes-in-arms are brought to the communion rail.
What is the reason for bringing them? What is the reason for blessing them? Is it to make them better? Will Billy or Mary be better behaved children if we bring them up front? Is it magic, something akin to a “good luck charm”?
No, we bring them to remind them of the blessings which are theirs in and through their baptism. If, our children are to be blessed, I think it is wise to remind our children (and also ourselves) of the blessing which is theirs in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.
This is what you do every time you make the sign of the cross. Whenever we have a baptism the candidate receives the sign of a cross on the forehead and the heart as a sign that they have been redeemed by Christ the crucified. When you make the sign of the cross you are reminded that you have been redeem by Christ the crucified. You are reminding yourself of the blessing which are yours in and through your baptism.
What are these blessings? In baptism the Christian receives the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. That is why we use the benediction spoken over these babies at their baptism, “May the God and Father of your Lord Jesus Christ who has begotten you of the water and the Word keep you in His grace both now and forever more, peace be with you. Amen”
B. Jesus asserted that children are to be welcomed. He bestows His blessings upon them, which are now appointed to be conveyed and conferred in holy Baptism. For the seal of the promise, is to you and to your children. (see Acts 2)
II. Bring your children to Jesus and permit them to know Jesus by our instruction.
A. This is why we have a Sunday school and a parochial day school at Wyneken Lutheran School. This is why we support a youth group and encourage family devotions with the children.
B. If the church is to continue it will be through these little ones. They are the future. Because they are present already. Each generation enters this world apostate. It is our duty to connect them to the Savior. We do this by following the words of the Savior’s Great Commission; we make disciples - by baptizing and by teaching.
III. Bring your children to Jesus and permit them to come to Jesus by Baptism. (v.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.”
A. Baptism is the means of bringing children into the kingdom. You can almost hear the Savior. “What do you mean? Will you hinder Me from doing good; from doing good to this rising generation, to the lambs of the flock?”
1. Christ is very angry with His own disciples, if they discourage any in coming to Him themselves, or in bringing their children to Him.
2. He ordered that they should be brought to Him, and nothing should be said or done to hinder them. Jesus says, “Suffer these little children…” as soon as they are able, to come to Me, to offer up their supplications to Me, and to receive instructions from Me. Little children are always welcomed to the throne of grace with their Hosannas.
B. Baptism is the means of keeping all in the kingdom. Jesus was "indignant" when He realized that the disciples thought children were unimportant and bothersome.
1. Mark not as softness these human emotions of Jesus. Mark tells us He was indigent with His disciples. He is quite candid about the failings of these disciples.
2. Jesus wanted children to come to Him. They should not be hindered in their coming. After all, children in their receptivity and dependency exemplify for us the characteristics of those who possess God's kingdom.
Bring your children to Jesus and permit them –
1. To be blessed by Jesus –
2. To know Jesus by instruction –
3. To come to Jesus by and through their Baptism –
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