Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pentecost 18 - Proper 22

O God, Your Almighty power is made known chiefly in showing mercy and pity, grant us the fullness of Your grace that we may be partakers of Your heavenly treasures; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Notice what Jesus is asking in our text for this morning – Jesus asks parents to permit their children to come to Him. Though parents may not physically abuse their children, they may be cruel to them by neglecting them by failing to bring to the Savior. This morning the Savior invites you to bring your children and permit them –

I. To be blessed by Jesus – Vs. 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

A. He embraced them – He took them up into His arms putting His hands on them. While the disciples refused them – Jesus accepted and welcomed them.

B. He blessed them. What is the biggest blessing we can receive from the Lord? Is it not the gift of faith? Notice that the faith is something that is given to us. It’s not earned. We certainly don’t deserve it. It is received freely by God’s free gift and favor.

Transition: We bring our children to Jesus to be blessed by Him. But how will they know Him?

II. To know Jesus by our instruction – Vs. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

A. To enter the kingdom of God is not to be as a child nor to be childish. A person enters the kingdom, “like a child.” There is an innocence, openness, and receptivity on the part of a child that a person wanting to enter the kingdom of God must have. Only by receiving the Kingdom as would a child can our relationship with God be changed. This happens through the gift of faith in Christ as our Savior.

B. A child is ready to believe and trust what an adult says. They take things literally. They have a literal mind. They readily obey without questioning. This is why we give our youth the truths that transform – the clear teachings of Christ and His Word. A grandmother comments on teaching her five year old grandson the truths of our faith, “I loved the way his very literal mind tried to make sense of something so...other than us. I know God is working in that little guy's life!”[1]

Transition: To know the Savior is to have a relationship with Him. That relationship was all initiated by the Savior in the waters of Holy Baptism.

III. To come to Jesus by baptism – Vs. 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. Mark tells us, “He was indignant”. Indignation does not mean “flying off the handle,” displaying publicly a fit of temper, or expressing an irrational displeasure. It means a “holy” displeasure, a kind of a disposition which will act with displeasure every time it is affected by the same stimulus. Jesus certainly was no “pushover,” and indignation is absolutely not a vice. JESUS WAS INDIGNANT TOWARD THE SCRIBES, PHARISEES, AND HYPOCRITES. (Matthew 23) JESUS WAS INDIGNANT TO THE MONEY CHANGERS. (Mathew 21:12) JESUS WAS INDIGNANT TOWARD THOSE WHO REFUSED LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME TO HIM. When the disciples kept the little children from being brought to Jesus because they thought He was too busy, He was indignant. Jesus always took time for little children and was indignant with those who would not. He rebuked the disciples sternly in one breath; and in the next, He spoke kindly to these little ones. Here are the two sides of the Christian personality. We are told to love the good and hate the evil. We are taught to love the sinner and hate the sin. The Christian personality is no watered-down, namby-pamby, wishy-washy existence. Rather, it is stern and indignant toward wrong, but loving and compassionate toward the wrongdoer. Jesus showed both sides.

B. We must not hinder them. Rather they are to come – for the kingdom belongs to such as these.

The Savior invites children to come to Him. This is our marching orders - to connect others with the Savior. In your visits, in you conversations in all that you do – connect people with the Savior.

[1] Michelle Van Loon commenting on her blog May 25, 2009 -

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