10th May 2023
Read - Mark 10:13-16 (v14 focus)
Message Alan Burke
People were bringing little children to Jesus, these were babies and toddlers being brought likely by their parents to Jesus for him to bless them. It wasn’t uncommon at the time for parents to bring their children to great men to have them blessed so there is nothing out of the ordinary about what was going on, nothing at all. Yet to this scene that greets us we are told of how the disciples rebuked them. This sticks out like a sore thumb especially after what Jesus had taught them in chapter 9 after they had been arguing on the road about who is the greatest (9:33-37). Now we are told that Jesus in response to the actions of the disciples was indignant.
We don’t have time today to go to each instance this word is used in the new testament in the gospels it is used a grand total of five times (you can see how it is used for yourself Mk 14:4, Lk 13:14, Mt 20:24 & Mt 21:14) but trust me on this that this word is used means indignant. It isn’t a mistranslation, there isn’t ambiguity in the greek work, no it’s clear, Jesus was raging with his disciples, the red mist had descended. Jesus was indignant, he was angry.
Often we have this picture of Jesus that isn’t based on the scriptures, gentle Jesus, meek and mild. But here Jesus was angry. The greek word means a state of anger aroused by injustice, it is more that displeased, Jesus was indignant at what he saw his disciples do. Jesus, true God and true man was angry, indignant at his disciples for what they had done. Jesus was without sin, his anger was a righteous anger, scripture speaks of God being slow to anger, it does not say that he doesn’t get angry, but he can only do that which is holy, just and right. It means he doesn’t get angry like how we get angry, that often manifests itself without a moments notice over things that are just a nonsense, whereas God’s anger is a righteous anger, it is morally right, his anger comes because of injustice and sin. Jesus here was filled with a righteous indignation, his anger, his indignation is because of what he has seen that is not right, what is wrong, the actions of the disciples that are disregarding these children, that lead them to rebuke those who brought them. Anger at times as long as it has the correct motivation, when it is a righteous anger then that anger is permissible.
We will get into the rest of the verse in more detail on Friday but for now I want you to think of what Jesus said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. That story I began with on Sunday, that my mum recalls how some years ago the minister of the church that she was a member of at the time, stoping during the sermon to instruct a parent to take their child out somewhere more appropriate for them because they were a distraction and that this wasn’t for them. Well throughout the scriptures children are always included in the visible people of God, the people of God are instructed to gather the children in and not to start a creche (see Joel 2:16, 2 Chron 20:13), and the scripture teaches that the Spirit makes the preaching of the word effectual for salvation even if they are in our mind too young to understand or old and doating. We believe also that our children are part of the covenant and that initially their inclusion comes form the faith of their parents as they receive the sign of the covenant promises but I wonder do we need rebuked just like the disciples for our actions or our attitudes?
Q42 What is the sum of the ten commandments?
The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbour as ourselves. (Matt. 22:37–40)