3/31/2017 10:18:07 AM
Let the little children come to me.
I pray you never have to experience this, but what would you say in this scenario: A friend or family member’s child dies. What do you say to them? And before you answer, the child has not been baptized. The child did not know or believe that Jesus is Savior. What do you say to them? You cannot lie to them and give them a false hope. You cannot say more or less than what the Word of God says. What can be said? The death of the child is the worst experience of life. To know and sit with a parent that has no hope of
The Resurrection and Life is almost as painful as losing your own child. There is a reason Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me”.
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 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. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16
Why was Jesus so insistent on allowing the children to come to him? They needed him. Just like everyone else, babies and little children are included in original sin. When Jesus says they were sinful from the time they were conceived (Psalm 51:5), that means they are sinners at birth. When Jesus says all have fallen short (Romans 3:23) and no one is righteous (Romans 3:10), “all” and “no one” include children. When Jesus says whoever believes in him shall have eternal life (John 3:16) and whoever does not believe in God’s one and only Son stands condemned already (John 3:18) includes babies and little children. When Jesus says whoever believes and is baptized will be saved and whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16) includes babies and little children. They need Jesus just like every age group, every generation. Without faith in Jesus all are lost.
That is why Jesus is indignant with his disciples who hinder the little children. He even reprimands their sinful thought that children were less important than adults. He even gives them the sternest of warning that only the faith of a small child, that is, a faith that hears and believes, a faith that does not need to see to believe, a faith that simply trusts “Jesus loves me this I know and this is all I need to know” will go to heaven. He warns that without that faith, the gate to heaven is closed.
The members of First Lutheran, with united voice, have taken on the mission to the “little ones” and their families through a preschool and childcare as a major part of their ministry. The members of First Lutheran, with united voice, have taken on the mission to build an addition for this ministry. Let us not hinder this mission and ministry to the souls of the lost. But with hearts, voices and resources united, let us come together to share the Gospel with these children and their families.
But let us also remember that a preschool and childcare center does not replace our own personal mission and ministries. For years our preschool and child care has asked for volunteers to help in numerous ways. Yet all too often it falls on deaf ears. Everyone has so much packed in their lives but what about the little children of your ministry that already exists? What about our personal mission and ministry to our children? Why are Sunday School class and Confirmation class not full with our own members? Why is it that there is always a school event or sport practice or game that always comes before Jesus? Are we not hindering the children? Why is it that adult parents can’t tell their adult children to make Jesus a priority in their grandchildren’s life? Are we not hindering the children? Why is it that parents would rather be friends with their adult children and allow them to live apart from Jesus instead of speaking the truth to them even if it means they won’t like what they hear? Are we not hindering them? Why is it that we, as Christian adults, are sometimes the worst at modeling Jesus in our lives? We have hindered them and Jesus should be indignant with us. We need Jesus. It’s not just about the little children but also about us.
In fact, your Heavenly Father was indignant over your sins. But instead of punishing you he punished his Son, Jesus. Jesus was shared with us, many as “little children”. We have Jesus who has given us faith through Water and the Word. And even though in weakness of sin, we have hindered ourselves and others, we have forgiveness in Jesus. In that forgiveness, we have joy to share Jesus with others so that no one is hindered from God’s grace. This is the mission and ministry before us.
This is the impetus to build and the reason for our fund appeal. This is the opportunity to come together, God willing, and build upon the ministry that the Lord is already blessing. Look over the fund appeal materials. Pray that the Lord would move you to see the importance in this goal. Gather with your brothers and sisters with palm branches in hand as we welcome our Lord at the beginning of Holy Week and make our pledges to this goal.
I can personally say that the pain of sitting with a family that experiences the earthly death of a child is almost insurmountable. But when we know that child is a child of God, something is missing, the eternal sting and victory of death. No matter how hard it is to endure that death and even when the words are shared with tears, what a comfort and hopeful joy we have when we can share with that family the facts of God. All who believe and are baptized will be saved. Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life. Jesus is the Resurrection and Life and whoever lives and believes in him will never die. This is what God does for little children in our preschool and childcare center, through the Gospel proclamation of this congregation, through you.
Jesus said and we believe, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Keep Christ First!
Pastor Chris Christenson