06 Jesus Style: As a Child/as the Younger

As a Child

Scripture 1 - People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them but the disciples were trying to stop them and shoo them away.

Mark 10:13 - When Jesus Saw this he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

 

Observe/Interpret

1.     Jesus was indignant? The NKJV says "much displeased". Synonyms include outraged and angry.  Another instance where Christ was honest about his feelings.

2.     Jesus is talking to the adults in the room. From an adult perspective Christ tells us not to get in the way of any child who wants to go to Jesus. I see this as telling me to be a good example so as not to stumble you or give you reason to turn from Christ.

3.     From a child's perspective nothing should stop you from seeking out the Lord because the kingdom of God is yours. You may see adults sinning and messing up but that shouldn't keep you from Jesus because you can make your own decisions. What in your life could hinder you from seeking out Christ? Friends, habits, peer pressure, bad experiences?

4.     Like a child? How do children receive things?

a.      When you tell them something as the truth they accept it.

b.     When you give them a gift they get super excited.

5.     This is precisely the way Jesus requires s to accept the kingdom of God, with faith, believing and honest joy. When we do he will open his arms to us and bless us.

 

Scripture 2 - Again the disciples ask Jesus who is the greatest in heaven based on theological debates between Jewish teachers.

Matthew 18:2-4 - Therefore whoever takes a humble place, becoming like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

1.     Humble? What did we just learn about humility? Humility is being honest about yourself, about what you feel and about your sins.

2.     Jesus instructs us to humble ourselves like children. So what are children like?

a.      Children are not threatening. If we are to represent Jesus correctly, we must be no more threatening to the world as a child would be. Jesus was approached freely by everyone because he was not intimidating.

b.     Children are not good at deceiving. Being humble is being real and honest about how you feel. Children cannot hide how they feel. They are terrible liars. It isn't until we start becoming adults that we perfect the art of lying and deceiving.

c.      Children are innocent. Humility is honesty about our sins so God can forgive us. Once he forgives us we are in a state of innocence.

3.     It is these traits that Jesus sees as being worthy of his pride.

 

Taking As the Child a step further…As the Younger

Scripture 3 -  Luke recounts the another dispute amongst the disciples during the last supper about who would be the greatest in Heaven.

Luke 22:25-26 Jesus said to them "The Kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those who exercise authority over them call themselves benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves."

 

Observe/Interpret

1.     Historically speaking being the younger son meant that you:

a.      received a smaller inheritance or no inheritance at all.

b.     The younger son had no authority amongst his family, socially or politically.

c.      Seats of importance were even passed down to the first born and a lot more was expected of them.

2.     What does it mean today to being the younger sibling?

a.      Hand me down cloths and toys

b.     Maybe has less stuff than the older sibling

c.      Always being shunned by your older sibling

d.     Being held to your older siblings standards

e.     Being known as so-and-so's younger brother or sister. Finding it difficult to have an identity of your own.

3.     But being the older sibling isn't easy. With all of the attention, inheritance and power it meant

a.      More responsibility

b.     Higher expectations

c.      More pressure

d.     Expected to grow up faster

4.     Benefits of being the younger sibling

a.      Living with less but has the freedom to be what and who they want

b.     Somebody to learn from

c.      Allowed to be a kid longer

5.     As we have learned Jesus owned only the cloths on his back. Why would Jesus want us to travel light and have so little? So we wouldn’t be greedy and we could have the flexibility and freedom to go wherever he wants to use us.

6.     So, being as the younger has its own joys. Though we are the disadvantaged ones, and perhaps the poorer ones, we are the free ones, and He who has "overcome the world" is on our team.

 

APPLY

1.     What do you consider to be positive and negative traits of a child?

2.     In what ways do see the positives traits we have learned about affect your life now and into adulthood?

3.     What is your birth position in your family and how do you think it has affected you?

4.     What privileges or things do you have that you would hate to give up?

5.     Have you ever packed too much for a journey and wished, as you carried your bag around, that you had packed less? What things in your life do you feel you could get rid of to "lighten" your burden and be more like Jesus?

 

Christin Cordova-Burkhart