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Today as one of our readings, we look at Mark 10:13-16:
13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Today we hear a story that feels a little familiar. In the previous chapter, Jesus talks about welcoming children, Mark 9: 36-37 – 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
So, He tells them, if you welcome a child, you are welcoming Him. What happens, just a day later? They get the chance to welcome such a child! A chance to literally live out what Jesus had just taught them! And what happens?
They blow it. Today we read they talked sternly to these children. Basically, y’all get out of here. The passage tells us that Jesus was indignant with them. You have to imagine He’s thinking, come on y’all (yes, I’m making Jesus a southerner lol), I just told y’all what to do, and look at what you are doing? Welcome the children. And now y’all are running them off? Seriously?!?
So, notice two things. First what Jesus did, and second what He didn’t do.
First, He welcomed the child. In a culture that did not value or see worth in children, Jesus once again demonstrates the value of children. They have as much worth as any adult. I know that just seems like an odd thing to have to say, but in Jesus’ culture, that was a bold stance.
Second, He doesn’t give up on the Disciples. I know I’d have been tempted, come on y’all, get with the program. I’d have been tempted to start over, they will never get it. But Jesus didn’t give up on them. He knew what they could be and what they could become. He believed in them, even when they got it wrong.
Jesus didn’t give up on them. He doesn’t’ give up on us. So, you don’t give up on yourself either. Jesus believes in you, in spite of every time you’ve got it wrong. He believes in who you can be, through His Spirit and through His grace. He takes us where we are and gets us where we need to be.
Keep walking. Keep being faithful. Jesus hasn’t given up on you. You don’t give up on you either.
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