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Jesus Loves the Little Children

Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection

Mark 9:30–37 ESV
30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. 33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Mark 9:30–32 ESV
30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Mark 9:30-
The first time Jesus foretells his death and resurrection the story was followed by Christ showing his glory and his greatness to Peter, James, and John, on mount of transfiguration.
This time Jesus foretells his death and resurrection it is followed by disciples arguing over who will be the greatest.
You see, even though Jesus has now told them twice that he was going to die and after three days come back to life, the disciples still didn’t understand. And, they were afraid to ask him to explain it to them.
You see, the death and resurrection of Jesus is so important that he tells his disciples three times that its coming. and all three time the disciples just don’t understand.
The fact that Jesus who is the great king of the world would die didn’t make sense to them
They thought Jesus would conquer everything. They thought Jesus would get rid of all the bad guys and that he would be the hero who sits on the throne forever.
And they were partially right, Jesus is the great hero, and he does conquer everything, and he is sitting on his throne and will be there forever! However, Jesus does it in a very different way than the disciples thought he would.
And thats why Jesus is trying to explain it to them, so they know whats coming. That he is going to rule and conquer by dying and being raised again.
Why is the death and resurrection of Jesus so important? Why did he want to make sure his disciples understood what he was talking about?
Well, the death and resurrection of Jesus is important for many different reasons.
1. On the cross Jesus took the penalty of our sins upon himself so we don’t have to pay that penalty ourselves.
2. Jesus rescued us from slavery. Sin is like chains that keep us from living in freedom. Jesus came to free us from the chains of sin and give us his own freedom.
3. When Jesus rose from the dead he also guaranteed that his people would also rise from the dead. Because Jesus defeated even death itself he has given us victory over death as well. So our eternal destiny is not one of death, but one of perfect life.
4. There is another thing Jesus did in his death and resurrection, and this is the one I’m going to focus on this morning. Jesus also created an everlasting bond between himself and his people. This bond is also called a covenant.
You see, all throughout the bible there is only one way for a perfect holy God to be in relationship with his people. And that is through covenant. The covenant is like the friendship God has with his own people.
And this covenant relationship is based on the promise that Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. Because he has done everything for you to be in the covenant relationship with himself. And, this promise is not only for you parents, but for your children as well
Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:39 ESV
39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
This is powerful truth for both children and parents, that the promises of Christ are for children as well as for adults.
And our passages this morning we will see Jesus, the author of the covenant promises, make sure that kids are not passed over. We see here Jesus doing something that is completely countercultural, completely revolutionary, and yet, completely in line with who God is.
Lets look at and Mark 10:13-16
Mark 9:33–37 ESV
33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Mark 9.33
You see the disciples were arguing with each other about who would be the greatest when Jesus becomes king. And Jesus addresses this issue by telling them that, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all”
He then brings a child into their midst and talks to his disciples about how receiving a child in his name is the same as receiving Christ himself. In other words, we pursue greatness by becoming a servant to all, even to little kids.
Because, to receive a child is to receive Christ.
another way to understand the word “receive” is by translating it “accept”
so, “whoever accepts one such child in my name accepts me...”
And lets remember, we only accept Christ through covenant, and he only accepts us through covenant, therefore, we are to likewise accept children into the covenant.
And lets see how Jesus responds when his disciples don’t accept children...
Mark 10:13–16 ESV
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.
Here we have people bringing children to Jesus so that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them - trying to keep the children away from Jesus.
But, when Jesus saw it, he was indignant
Indignant means to be angry, to shutter with rage.
So Jesus saw the disciples keeping the children away and he became really upset with his disciples. Why do you think Jesus was so upset with the disciples for not letting the children near him?
Was it because Jesus likes kids and wants to play with them? Though thats true, thats not why he was so angry.
was it because kids are really good at making people feel happy, and Jesus wanted everyone to be happy? Again, that might be true, but not the reason why Jesus was upset.
Maybe its because kids have really good snacks and Jesus was hungry… No thats not it either.
Mark tells us why Jesus was so upset with the disciples for not letting the kids come near in verse 14
Mark 10:14 ESV
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.
for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
You see, the kingdom of God is made up of all God’s people who are in covenant with him. All of God’s people who have that special bond with Jesus. And Jesus says that the kingdom of God not only belongs to adults, but to children as well!
And how old do you think these children were? Well, the word for children actually refers to infants - So these kids are even younger than you, these children are like the ones who are still in kids church.
Jesus then takes these little babies in his arms and lays his hands on them and blesses them.
Do you know what one of the best parts of being in a covenant relationship with God is? its the blessings!
All throughout the bible when God’s people would obey God, obey his covenant they would be blessed. And now here Jesus is giving a covenantal blessing to these little kids.
So lets look back at these two passages and unpack Jesus’ relationship with little children.

Jesus Put Him in the Midst of Them

Mark 9:35–36 ESV
35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,

First of all we need to notice the posture Jesus takes.
He sat down
He called his disciples to himself
And took a child and put him in the midsts of them
This reminds me of
is where we see God’s covenant with Israel confirmed
There is a sacrifice (Which Jesus just got done talking about his sacrifice)
Moses teaches the people all that God had told him (which is what Jesus is doing now)
It says that God sat down on the mountain
T
He then calls Moses into his midst and continues to teach him
What did God teach moses? He told moses how to build his house - which is called the tabernacle
And when the tabernacle is finished God sits down in the holy place in the midst of his people
In fact we see the tabernacle always being in the midsts of the people, the covenant people of God would set up their tents around the tabernacle so that they were always in the midst of God.
This is part of what it means to be in covenant relationship with God, to be in his midst - to be near him.
Like God who sits with his people in the tabernacle and the Temple, So Jesus sits down and calls people into his midst
And after taking his seat among his people what does he do? He brings a child into their midst.
And after taking his seat among his people what does he do? He brings a child into their midst.
Jesus brings a child, a little baby into his covenant community
Moses and the elders went into the cloud, into the presence of God and was taught by God
This child, like you kids, and the kids in the back, are in the midst of God.
You are part of his people, you are part of his covenant.
Then what does Jesus do?

Jesus Takes Him in His Harms

Mark 9:36 ESV
36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,
OT reference about God mighty arms
God’s arm represents his power in creation
God’s protecting his people
God’s power to redeem his people
God’s authority over all things
And now this same God, picks up a child in his arms.
The same arms that would soon be stretched east and west to save his people are now embracing this little child with the same power to save.
So having lifted up this child into his arms Jesus says,

When We Receive Children We Receive Christ

Mark 9:37 ESV
37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Mark 9.37
Remember what a covenant is...
Now we have to remember that this covenant we have with God is the only way we receive God, and its the only way he receives us.
Apart from covenant there is not accepting Christ and Christ will not accept us outside of the covenant.
Not only that, but we are to receive each other as covenant members.
And this covenantal bond is so strong with God and his people, that to reject his people is to reject God himself. And to receive God’s people is to receive God himself.
Its like my wife and I, you cannot accept my wife without accepting me. And you cannot receive me while rejecting my wife. It doesn’t work that way.
Jesus has brought this child into midst of the covenant community.
And to receive even a child of the covenant is to receive Christ.
If you reject a child, you reject Jesus.
And how do you think Jesus would respond if you rejected a little child? Do you think he would be happy about that? NO!
Well in chapter 10 we see what happens when his disciples reject the little children and won’t let them come to Christ.
Mark
Mark 10:13–14 ESV
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.

“Let the children come to me”

Jesus cares deeply for his children. He wants adults to let the little children come to him. - again, these little children are very young, 0-3 years old.
Often times we parent more like the disciples instead of like Jesus
We treat our kids as little outsiders not letting them come to Jesus until they are old enough. Not treating them like covenant members until they are old enough to rationalize the propositions of the gospel
Yet, We see Jesus rebukes such a posture and tells his disciples to let the children come to him.
And why is this?

Children Belong in the Kingdom of God

Because kids belong in the kingdom.
The kingdom of God, the advancement of his kingdom that we often talk about includes children.
Children are just as much part of the kingdom of God as are adults.
And Jesus is not ashamed to say so.
In fact, Jesus uses children as the model for a kingdom citizen
Mark 10:15 ESV
15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Mark 10:
The simple faith of a child what is required to receive the kingdom of God - and to receive the kingdom of God is to receive the king.
The disciples were just arguing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom, and Jesus told them that to be great, you must become the least of all. Much like a child.
We often think that for our kids to be in covenant with Jesus, to have faith in Jesus, to be part of his kingdom they have to become like adults - being able to reason, and use logic, and to have accurate theology etc.
But Jesus says the opposite, that to come to Christ we must become like a child, not the other way around.
And the final thing I want to point out is how Kids receive blessings from Jesus.

Mark 10:16 ESV
16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Again, Jesus takes children in his arms
To be int he arms of Jesus is to be in the arms of God
And to be in the arms of God is to be in covenant with God.
And again, one of the best parts of being in covenant with God are the blessings!
These children have received a blessing from Christ.
The blessings of being in covenant with Christ are both present and eternal
Christ himself is the ultimate blessing - That we are united to Christ and he blesses us with every spiritual blessing.
And Christ is still blessing children.
And the call to all those in covenant with Christ, both children and adults, is to continue in covenant with him.
We are called to run the race, not give up on the prize, but to run with endurance.
We are called to keep our eyes on the prize, and not fall away.
We are called to be faithful covenant members, not unfaithful covenant breakers.
We all must, both child and adult, cling to Jesus.
May we raise our children in the knowledge of God, not to the knowledge of God
Kids, may you experience all the blessings of being a part of God’s people. May you grow and be discipled into mature faithful boys and girls who love Jesus.
Lets pray.
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