Scripture: Mark 10:2-16
Jesus was teaching His disciples, but continued to be surrounded by crowds and tested by His enemies. In this account He was tested by the Pharisees in regard to marriage and divorce. Additionally, He corrected the attitude of His disciples who were keeping children from coming to Jesus, and He took time to bless the little ones. This text affirms Jesus’ joy in marriage and its natural result – children.
Jesus’ teaching in this section drives us to enter the kingdom of God by faith … and by faith alone. Having disallowed the excuses that the people held to justify divorce, He then rebuked the disciples for turning little children away saying that if one does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child that person will never enter it. This begs the question, “How does a child receive the kingdom of God?” They do not seek to earn admittance, they simply trust the one who brings them to get them in. That is the kind of faith Jesus calls us to; a faith that does not self-justify our actions, but trusts Him to save us.
Have you ever noticed that when people apologize they often qualify their apologies with excuses and explanations for their actions? There is a tendency in each of us to want to be right in some way. It would be better for us by far if we simply hung our heads in shame like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar and rely on Jesus to give us His forgiveness, with no addition from us.
Lord Jesus, it is only because of Your death and resurrection that we can come into the kingdom of God. The truth of the matter is that we contribute nothing to our salvation and there is no merit or worthiness in us. While these are unhappy lessons, we also take heart remembering that You took the children in Your arms and blessed them, and You welcome us in the same way because of Your love.
O Holy Spirit, we thank You for convicting us of our sin through the power of the Law. We thank You for making known to us just how incapable we are of saving ourselves. We thank You for such knowledge because it makes all the more important the message that You reveal in the Gospel of the forgiveness Jesus won through dying and rising for us, by which He takes us in His arms and blesses us with forgiveness, eternal life, love, and salvation.
Father, we confess that we have not honored marriage or cherished children as You do. We also admit that we often try to justify our sins with excuses, looking for something, anything, that allows us to deserve to be forgiven instead of trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice alone. Yet for the sake of that sacrifice we pray that You would forgive us for all our sins and grant us entry into Your kingdom.
O God, we pray for marriage, children, and families to be blessed. Help Your people to give a holy testimony and example to the world of Your will and design for these blessed gifts. Grant that while we live on earth we would see how often we fall short of Your will so that we would flee to You for Your grace. Keep us steadfast in faith so that we may dwell in Your kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. Amen.