devotion 8-19-14

Good Morning!As people settle into the new school year, I am noticing more traffic in the mornings out here on Key Deer Boulevard – so be careful everyone. Today’s passage seems fitting, on this second day of school.

Mark 10:13 – 16

13People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Mark really paints an unflattering picture of the disciples! They continue to argue about being greater than another; they sulk and control and scold. They are ordinary people, like the rest of us! Jesus had already told them that they must be like a little child in order to be a part of his kingdom, that welcoming a little child is to welcome him – now they are sending the children away? They are saying children are not important?

But Jesus was perfectly willing to bless the little children! His “touch” in this case was to bless (rather than healing). He was “indignant” with the disciples for sending them away. (Jesus is often annoyed with the disciples throughout Mark’s gospel; here he is more than annoyed, he is angry!) He scolds them, telling them to let the children come to him – do not stop them! “For it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” and, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

How does a child receive something? Think of Christmas morning – of bright eyes and great excitement! But think also of a child’s dependence; the child knows he/she needs , and is dependent on, his or her parents for everything. Oh, they rebel sometimes – the 2-year-old says “NO!” the 3-year-old says, “My do it myself!” But they need their parents, and they especially need their love; they come with arms open to give, and receive, a hug. One of the best times in a parents’ or grandparents’ or aunt’s or uncle’s life is when the little one says, “I wuv you!”

You and I, we need to come to God with bright eyes and great excitement, for the gift he gives us is better than anything we will ever have! We need to come to God with love – returning the great love he gives us, aware of that love! We need to come to God for a big hug! We need to come to God in complete dependence, knowing how much we need him, every day!

And Jesus took the little children up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. That must be what heaven is – to be gathered into Jesus’ arms like the little children!

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