Study 8 THE MOTHERS, WHEN THEY BROUGHT THEIR CHILDREN TO JESUS
OUR LORD’S COMMENDATIONS
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Mark 10:13-16; Commendation: Verse 14)
Of all the word-pictures presented to us in the four Gospels this is one of the most beautiful. With very little effort of imagination we can picture the scene. It is possible, of course, that others beside the mothers brought these children to the Lord, but whoever brought them saw the Saviour gladly receive them, take them into His arms and bless them. The fact that three of the Gospels – Matthew (19:13-15); Mark (10:13-16) and Luke (18:15-17) – record this incident shows us that the Holy Spirit wants us to notice that in the days of His flesh the Lord Jesus welcomed and blessed the little ones who were brought to Him. Are there any lessons we can learn today from this incident? Surely it teaches us the privilege and responsibility of bringing children to Christ, and the serious danger of hindering them from coming to Him. What a privilege to bring a little child to the Lord Jesus! What then about the responsibility? – for every child needs to be brought to the One who died for them and waits to save them. Think of the danger of hindering children from coming to Him; how solemn to realise that it was the disciples who were trying to do this – look at Mark 10:13. No wonder our Lord was displeased, or (as the Greek words really indicate), “He was moved with indignation”. Now compare Matthew 18:6.
1. WHO ARE TO BRING THE LITTLE ONES TO JESUS?
Whose responsibility is this? Mark 10:13 says, “People were bringing little children to Jesus…” Besides the mothers, this could have included grandmothers, sisters, brothers, friends. This word “people” refers to all who cared for the children. It includes fathers as well; how blessed is that child whose father and mother have an active concern for his or her eternal salvation! The word “people” could also include those who teach children (including Sunday School teachers), for they have a unique opportunity for bringing their children to Him. Again, those who nurse children have a great opportunity, and who can tell the influence of a good Christian child-minder? Who are to bring the little ones to Jesus? All of us, surely, for we are all in touch with some children whom we can bring to Him.
2. HOW ARE WE TO BRING THE LITTLE ONES TO JESUS?
It was easy when Christ was here on earth, for He could be seen. He cannot be seen today, so how can we bring the children to Him? First of all, we must bring them in faith. Although we cannot see the Lord He is with us, and is so in a very special way whenever we gather together in His Name – look up Matthew 18:20. We can bring the children to the Lord in our prayers – and no prayer is more powerful than that of a parent. Are you praying for the children in your care? We can bring them to the Lord in our family devotions. Do you have family devotions? We can bring them by giving them Christian teaching, both by sharing with them from the Word of God and by putting the right books and literature into their hands so that they will be brought up “in the training and instruction of the Lord” – look up Ephesians 6:4, and compare Deuteronomy 6:6-7. We can now bring our children to Jesus by special acts of dedication; we have a lovely illustration of this in the case of Hannah, who brought Samuel into the temple and dedicated him to the Lord for His service – look up 1 Samuel 1:24; and of Mary, who brought the Lord Jesus into the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord – look up Luke 2:22. These are some ways in which we can bring children to Jesus. But the most important of all is the Christian testimony that we bear in our lives in front of them. Children can tell immediately what is real and precious to us, and what is unreal or hypocritical about our words and our attitudes! May our lives and words serve to bring them to the Lord Jesus!
3. WHEN ARE WE TO BRING THE LITTLE ONES TO JESUS?
In Mark 10:13 the words “little children” are used. In his account Luke tells us they brought “babies” (Luke 18:15); and we are told that Jesus took them “into His arms” (verse 16), which suggests they were very small. It is never too early to bring our little ones to Jesus. The Jewish rite of circumcision (which for the Jew was a way of bringing the child to the Lord in faith and obedience) was performed when the child was only eight days old. We do not know how early in life a little child can understand the significance of the Saviour’s love and care, which surely is why Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). The majority of Christians testify today that they came to the Lord when they were children – often quite young! So, the answer to the question: When are we to bring the little ones to Jesus? is – as early as possible! We can never be too early.
4. WHY ARE WE TO BRING THE LITTLE ONES TO JESUS?
First, because He loves them. Second, because He wants to welcome them – as Mark 10:14 makes so abundantly clear. Third, because He died for them – look up Acts 2:39. Fourth, because there is a place in the kingdom of Heaven for them – as Mark 10:14 shows us. Fifth, because they need Him so much. Why? – look up and compare Psalm 51:5 with Matthew 18:14. The little ones are in danger; they need the Saviour – look up Proverbs 22:6. For all these reasons let us do our utmost to bring children to Him. When we do so it will be just as it was all those years ago when “He took them up in his arms, put His hands upon them and blessed them.”