Of Such is the Kingdom of God
The Bible says a man is blessed if his “quiver is full” of children.
The psalmist said a man would be blessed if he “lived to see his children’s children.”
Let me add another beatitude: Blessed is the church that brings children to Jesus Christ for they are focused on building the kingdom of God.
1. The ministry that was desired (13a)
KJV = brought…NASB = were bringing, or kept bringing
The imperfect verb tense indicates a constant action.
Why were they bringing their children to Jesus for His blessing upon them?
A. Perhaps they had heard of his messages.
If we just limit our consideration to Mark’s gospel up to this point, we can hear Jesus’ preaching ministry back in chapter 1.
Mark 1:21-22 – Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
B. Perhaps they had heard of his mercy.
Back in chapter 2 He was known to eat and drink with sinners. When confronted, He responded that healthy people do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Maybe they’d heard about the merciful touch the Lord gave the leper in chapter 1. The leper came and said, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” And the text says Jesus was “moved with compassion.”
C. Perhaps they had heard of his miracles.
Maybe they’d heard of the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law.
Mark 1:31 – “And He came to her and raised her up, touching her hand, and the fever left her…”
Maybe they’d heard about the healing of the multitudes.
Mark 3:10 – “For He healed many with the result that those who had afflictions pressed around Him in order to touch Him.”
Maybe they’d heard about the woman with the issue…
Mark 5:27-28 – “After hearing about Jesus she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak for she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I will get well.’”
Maybe they’d heard about Jairus’ daughter.
Mark 5:41 – “Taking the girl by the hand He said to her, “Talitha kum!” which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, ‘Get up!’”
Maybe they’d heard about the miracles at Lake Gennesaret.
Mark 6:55-56 – “(They) ran about the whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick to the place they heard He was. Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak. And as many as touched it were being cured.”
Maybe they’d heard about the deaf-mute man of Mark 7.
Mark 7:32-35 – “They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty and they implored Him to lay his hands on him. Then Jesus took Him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” And his ears were opened and the impediment of his tongue was removed and he began speaking plainly.”
Maybe they’d heard about the blind man of Bethsaida.
Mark 8:22 – “And they came to Bethsaida and they brought a blind man to Jesus imploring Him to touch him. (25) Then again Jesus laid His hands on his eyes and he looked intently and was restored and began to see everything clearly.”
Despite the stern and systematic rebuke of the disciples, these mothers were still bringing their children because they’d heard of the life-change brought about by a touch from Jesus!
2. The misdeed that was done (13b)
Unfortunately, the disciples were good at rebuking people. Don’t these guys need to serve as greeters?
John Phillips – “The disciples figured that the Lord was too busy to be bothered by mere babes. What a bossy band of bunglers these disciples seemed to be. What a wrong impression they gave of Jesus.”
Jesus rebuked fever, disease, wind, waves, and demons. Now He rebukes His own disciples.
Many of God’s disciples today hinder children from coming to Christ. If not by what we do, by what we fail to do.
3. The mercy that was demonstrated (16)
Jesus sets the record straight!
A. The anger (14a)
KJV = much displeased
Literally – to be greatly afflicted with pain or grief
Jesus is indignant when we do anything that keeps people, especially children, from coming to know Him.
B. The acceptance (14b)
These are members of the kingdom of God.
They are not the church of tomorrow, but of today! Tomorrow’s leadership, maybe, but today’s church!
C. The affirmation (14c)
4. The message that was declared (15-16)
You will never be more like Jesus than when you are loving a child into the kingdom of God.
A. A parental responsibility
B. A propositional reality
Children are full of faith. They simply believe.
Hebrews 11:6 – Without faith it is impossible…
Children have simple faith in God.
Tell them God is in heaven and they will look up!
C. A practical response
It is much more likely for people to come to Christ at an early age. (KJV = as a little child)
In a recent year in our state convention, the number of baptisms for ages 6-17 (grade school) outnumbered baptisms by those 60+ by more than 14 to 1.
When we say that, it is not only because children are so receptive but because adults are so unreceptive.