Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mark 10:13–16

Mark 10:13–16 (ESV): Let the Children Come to Me

Passage

In this passage some people are bringing children to Jesus but the disciples rebuke them. But Jesus will have none of this:

But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (verses 14–15 (ESV))
He then goes back to blessing the children that are being brought to him.

Thoughts

We shouldn’t take this passage too far, to think that somehow children can be saved and adults cannot. However, it is an important point that when we come to God we must come to Him “like a child.” What does this mean? I’d say it’s a general attitude of trust coupled with obedience. When a parent tells a child to do something it’s understood by both the parent and the child that the child is supposed to do it. The child might ask the parent questions about it, why are you asking for this or why do you want it done this way or whatever, and the parent may or may not explain, but regardless of whether the parent does or does not give an explanation, regardless of whether the child understands it all, the fact that the child is expected to obey the parent never changes.

This same attitude is expected of us as Christians. When God tells us to do something—when we read our Bibles, in other words—we should go in with the basic, underlying assumption that He knows what is best, and that we are to obey Him. It is not wrong at all to ask Him questions about it, it it not wrong at all for us to strive to understand better—in fact I’d say it’s very good for us to strive to understand Him better—but regardless of how far our understanding does or does not progress it should never change the fact that He is God, and we are His creations. He knows best, He knows what He is talking about, we can see only dimly, and only what He chooses for us to see.

We see examples all through the Bible of people asking questions of God. Some do it with the proper attitude (“I know that you’re God, and I’m just a man, but I want to understand You better. Please help me to understand.”), some do not (“You can’t possibly have meant that! You must have made a mistake.”), and it’s not usually hard to tell the difference. We can trace this back to the very first moment when a person becomes a Christian: They will not fully understand what Grace is, or how salvation works, they might not even properly understand their own sinfulness (though they have an idea), but they trust God when He says that they need Him. As time goes on He’ll help them to understand, but in the meantime, He’s God.

Even mature Christians should—must!—have this attitude when reading their Bibles. We must go to the Word with the understanding that God has written this document and that He has something to say to us. If we don’t understand what we’re reading, it doesn’t change the truth of the matter. We can ask Him to show us more clearly what we don’t understand, and in the meantime we should take it as a given that what’s written there is true, whether we understand it (or like it) or not.
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