As I was preparing the sermon on Children’s Day, June 10, I thought about the present condition of the children in Myanmar who constitute approximately 40 percent of the whole population. I feel deep compassion when I see many children in remote parts of the country who do not have enough food to eat or the opportunity to attend school simply because of the circumstances of their birth. Due to the poverty and the economic crisis, many children are forced into hard labor. Many children are suffering because of the unrest of our civil war.
At the same time, I thank God for the Mingalar Children’s Home that has become one of God’s instruments for helping the suffering and needy children. Even though we cannot save all, we can help some children! Thank you, all of you, for your prayers and financial contributions to sustain this compassion ministry.
In this article, may I share with you the three facts that tell us Jesus’ attitude towards children based on Mark 10:13-16.
- Jesus Cares For Children (vv. 13-14, 16)
The setting for the text is the latter part of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration where he was to be arrested and crucified. Even with the cross weighing on his heart, Jesus loves the fact that parents are bringing little children to him. And Jesus publicly rebuked the disciples for their attitude and actions, so that the people standing around them could clearly understand his concern and care for children. After rebuking his disciples, he did much more than the parents expected (v.13). He took the children in his arms and laid his hands on them in blessing them (v.16). Jesus indeed cares for children.
It is worthy to remember that Jesus had no children of his own. But he cared deeply for other people’s children. From that model comes the challenge to us as a church to care for children as well. Quite naturally, as parents we care for our own children, but Jesus challenges us to care for children beyond our own.
(2) Jesus Wants Us To Help Children To Come To Him (v. 14).
Verse 14 tells us that Jesus was “indignant.” There are only a few recorded times when Jesus became angry in his ministry, but this is the only time that he became angry with his disciples. The disciples did many things wrong, but nothing else they did ever angered Jesus. Why? Because they were blocking children from coming to him and blocking children from coming to Jesus is serious business. Instead of hindering, we the Church must make every effort to help children to come to Christ. And we should be very careful not to hurt or cause a little child to stumble, hindering them from coming to Christ. Jesus’ warning is a very serious one: to lead a child into sin, to cause them to stumble, to abuse them, will not be forgotten by God and it would be better for such a person to be drowned in the depth of the sea than to face God’s judgment for what they’ve done (Matt 18:5-6).
(3) Jesus Tells Us To Learn From Children (v. 15).
Whereas the disciples viewed children as interrupters, Jesus was telling them that children were their instructors – “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it”. What childlike quality is Jesus talking about? It isn’t childishness. It is dependence. Just as a child looks to his parents in total dependence on them, so must we come to the Heavenly Father. We turn to God in absolute trust and reliance on Him for everything. We don’t earn the kingdom of God, we receive it. We depend on God entirely to give it, or we don’t enter it at all. Salvation isn’t a cooperative work – it’s all God and none of us. Jesus did the work on Calvary to qualify us for receiving eternal life as a gift simply by believing in him.
As children grow and mature they become more and more independent from their parents. But in the kingdom of God, we do not become more independent of God. Rather we become more and more dependent on God. We pray more. We trust more. We recognize our need for God more. That’s how the kingdom of God works.
Rev. Khawl Ro Kima