Friday, August 12, 2016

Just Like a Child

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15 NKJ)

Just Like a Child
Ever reminisce on your childhood days and wonder how life was easier and much simple back then? Happens to everyone. A songwriter expressed these words in his lyrics, “we sat down for a minute and grew up into men”. Adulthood may be an inevitable necessity that comes with responsibilities and adventures, but the heart of a child holds significant place in God’s kingdom, just as the scripture above reveals.

Mark 10:1-31 reveals a quest by four characters to inherit eternal life and enter God’s kingdom. They were the Pharisees, a rich young ruler, little children and even Jesus’ disciples — all of whom may have had different ideas on the approach to eternal life. We’ll look at each of them in that order.

The Pharisees were regarded as highly knowledgeable "keepers" of God’s law. They generally believed in a vast knowledge and ability to keep every detail of the Mosaic laws given in the old testament. While they may have regarded Jesus Christ as God-sent, they never really believed Him to be the messiah. Their questions were ultimately meant to test his knowledge of the law. The question bordered on the instant where divorce becomes lawful or unacceptable by God. But Jesus replied in verses 5-9 that divorce was not God’s will. It was a modification of the law by Moses because of the hardness of man’s heart. Obviously, little kids are not bothered about marriage, much more divorce! They have no in-depth knowledge of the law like the Pharisees, yet God sets them as a standard for His kingdom. All of our knowledge and ability to keep God’s laws does not guarantee us eternal life. No one can perfectly keep God’s laws on his own.

The rich young ruler approached Jesus humbly, in his quest for eternal life. Jesus sought his opinion on this subject by referring him to the commandments. Indeed, the young ruler could boast of keeping the commandments from his youth! The question is this; if he diligently kept all of the commandments as he indicated, why would he be uncertain of eternal life? And then Jesus gave him an answer that would see him walk away in sorrow. '21 Then Jesus looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “…sell whatever you have and give to the poor; and come, take up THE cross and follow me”. This was not a strict answer; the message was pretty much simple. Eternal life cannot be acquired by self-effort, or self-righteousness, or possessions, but can only be found in Jesus. Absolute faith in Jesus. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25.

It would be expected of the disciples (having spent more time with Jesus than any of the others) to have a better revelation of this reality, but it seemed contrary. Thank God that He meets us at the level of our faith. The disciples loved to have a part in God’s kingdom too (like everyone else), but perhaps, like the rich ruler, they must have presumed that you have eternal life by keeping the commandments. This is evident in their response to Jesus’ comment (v23/24) on how hard it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom. Apparently, Jesus had disqualified every means they thought was a guarantee of eternal life, so they were astonished and then murmured among themselves, “who then can be saved?” Jesus gave the ultimate answer to this mind-troubling question, “27 With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible”. He himself was God.

The little children were the favorites in this passage. The disciples must have had the impression that the front row in God’s kingdom was not meant for kids, hence they rebuked those who brought them to be touched by Jesus. On the contrary, Jesus pointed out that only those who are willing to receive the kingdom of God as a little child will enter it. How do little children receive? Remember again how things were less complicated as a child? That’s the heart of a kid receiving. They are entirely trusting and not bothered about their effort or performance. A young boy would trust Jesus with his entire lunch. A little servant girl would believe that the sick commander of a vast Syrian army would be healed in Israel without a price.

God wants us to trust and believe in Him with all of our hearts (not some part). He invites us into his kingdom and leads us all the way. We do not earn this invitation. We are granted this privilege only as a result of God's goodness. All we need do is believe and receive. Precieux Orhue

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