As I said a few posts before, I’m going to share the notes I took from the Sunday sermons. Did you take any notes this Sunday? I’d like to hear from you! Doesn’t matter how short or long- share them with everyone.
Jesus Blesses Children
Pastor John MacArthur Nov. 28, 2010
Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “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.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Jesus never pronounced a blessing on those who would not be part of His Kingdom. Jews in Jesus’ time believed you won your way to heaven (or God’s Kingdom) by doing good works. Little children are to small to do good works, so the disciples were quick to send them away. But Jesus shocked the Jews by blessing children and said Assuredly I say to you whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.
This emphasizes that Salvation is by Grace alone, not good works.
Children have a special place in God’s Kingdom. All three Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke follow up the story of the children with that of the rich young ruler who kept the law but had no place in God’s Kingdom.
The contrast is big: children/babies who could not keep the Law had a place in God’s Kingdom.
And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
In the Old Testament, fathers bless their children. Abraham, Issac and Jacob all did. It was a desire/prayer for spiritual blessing. A typical prayer would have these desires for the child:
To become famous in the Law (today it equals) = Know the Bible really well
Be faithful in marriage
Be abundant in good works
Jesus touched the little children, and prayed for their Salvation.
The disciples rebuked the parents. The verb is epitemao which means to censure severely, chide, or admonish. They believed children didn’t fit in the Kingdom plan. It was a very intense reprimand. They were absolutely wrong.
Christ was indignant with them- very angry. Jesus did not pass over this lightly. He said: “the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these, meaning the whole category of babies. There was no mention of any requirements or conditions like “keeping the law”. Nothing was said about a covenant, their parent’s righteousness, circumcision, baptism, or the children’s/babie’s personal faith.
Before babies reach the age of responsibility, they are under special Divine care. This does not mean they are sinless. It just takes awhile until they are old enough to express their sinful nature.
Sinfulness is a condition children are born into that leads them to sinful choices. Babies are not responsible for their spiritual life but they have a place in heaven because of God’s grace.
Does that mean they have Salvation and lose it when they grow up? No, babies are in a state of conditional grace. They have no knowledge of good vs. evil, so if they die, they are the special category that goes to heaven.