January 28, 2021
The Gospel of Mark tells of a time in Jesus’ life when parents sought Him and wanted Him to bless their children, “…And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them…” (Mark 10:13) What happens next is a little surprising. Jesus’ disciples tried to stop them! I’m sure the parents weren’t expecting opposition to come from fellow believers—especially those closest to Jesus—but opposition to the faith sometimes comes from unexpected sources.
Perceptibly, Jesus interceded and put the disciples in their place when He said, “…suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not…” (Mark 10:14) If I were a parent in this story, I would naturally fight the tendency to look down at the disciples and think, Jerks! We’re just trying to get our kids to Jesus. You guys should be FOR this! And I would probably be rooting on Jesus as He reproved His disciples. In all fairness, however, we should look through the eyes of the disciples. They were the closest observers to Jesus’ schedule, His lack of rest, His constant traveling, and His many followers. In their best judgment, they probably thought his body needed a pause. In Mark 10:1-12, you’ll see why—Jesus was busy teaching and engaging with the Pharisees.
In ministry I have found myself on both sides of this story. I have been faced with opposition from the most unexpected sources, but I have also been buried by important responsibilities and ministry opportunities and failed to see the priority right in front of me. Can you relate?
Jesus completely understood the complexity of the situation. So, how did He respond? He focused on what both the parents and the disciples had in common—faith! He focused on the children and rebuked the disciples by using the children as an example and pattern for adults to follow. These lessons on faith work and need to be resonated in our culture.
A CHILDLIKE FAITH IS CHARACTERIZED BY OUR DEPENDENCE ON GOD
Children have no problem living dependent on their parents. It is natural. In fact, if you have a two-year old, you can testify that they are often so needy that it requires much patience and gentleness. The Lord expects us to look to Him with a “needy” craving for Him—a humble desire for His guidance.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in
me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for
without me ye can do nothing.—John 15:5.
A CHILDLIKE FAITH IS CHARACTERIZED BY OUR DESIRE TOWARD GOD
Children desire to be around parents who love them! Small children crave time with loving and attentive adults. Our Heavenly Father is both loving and attentive, and He longs for fellowship with us. Jesus reminded Christians that He wants us to come to Him, and He wants us to delight in time with Him, just as children openly enjoy connection with those they admire.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.—John 3:16.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth
my soul after thee, O God.—Psalm 42:1.
A CHILDLIKE FAITH IS CHARACTERIZED BY OUR DISPLAY OF A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Children are refreshingly open about their thoughts, feelings, and needs. When they are around an individual they adore, everyone can see the evidence of their admiration. These evidences outwardly point to a relationship. What outward evidences point to our relationship with God?
I am convinced that most of the complicated situations we face can be resolved if we would learn to respond as these children behaved—run to Jesus with complete faith and dependence on Him and openly express our love and devotion to Him.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.—Proverbs 3:5–6.
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