Sermon Summary. In this gospel narrative, we learn a lot. We learn of Christ’s compassion for children and our need for a childlike heart in how we approach God. We see, in the disciples, how even a well-intended church can treat people the wrong way when they reject children and their parents. And we see how Jesus holds the disciples/the church accountable to treat others with love and to correct wrong understandings. Finally, we see Christ do what he came for – he loves and blesses. Where are the lessons for us?
Bring the Babies/Lost Sheep to Christ/the Church. This a moment of great excitement. The word and work of Christ has spread. So much so that people are bringing their little ones just to get a touch from Jesus’ hand. It appears that wonderful ministry is going forth in the text.
- It is significant that people were bringing their children and babies to Christ. Why is it significant?
- What does it say about their faith in Christ?
- How did they know to bring the children? How is this significant for the church today?
Response of the Disciples/Church. We would expect excitement. People are coming to church . . . to Christ. But the response of the disciples/church is shocking. They “go all in.” They don’t just hesitate but they actually rebuke the parents, adults and these children who are trying to get to the Lord. What’s going on?
- Why do we think the disciples rebuked these parents and children? Did they think they were doing the right thing?
- What does this look like (rebuking those seeking Christ) in our churches today? What can we do about it?
- What are the dangers? Consider Matthew 13:24-30.
Jesus is Indignant. It is particularly powerful to see Christ’s emotion as a result of the disciples/the church treatment of that which he loves. Jesus loves his children. Whenever we find ourselves acting like these disciples and getting in the way . . . we should be very careful.
- What is Jesus saying about blocking people’s way to him?
- Should we confront or hold our brother and sisters accountable when the appear to hinder others?
- Have you ever been a hindrance?
- Jesus talks of how we are to enter into the kingdom of God. What does it mean to enter as a little child? What can we do engage God with the faith and wonder that children do?
Jesus Blesses the Least of These. Jesus is always a man of action. He preaches, he rebukes, he corrects. But, he is also a man of love. He does not lose focus on those who have come to be with him. He addresses the disciples, corrects them and educates them. And, then he gets to those who have come with a need.
- Jesus did not just talk the talk. What actions do we see Christ take that reflect his love for the children?
- Can we sometimes get focused on talking or addressing the problems and miss the opportunity to minister to someone?
- What actions can we take to show others the welcoming love of God? Inside the church? Outside the church??