Friday, December 13, 2013

His Children

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Seema Krishnakumar: http://flickr.com/photos/kkseema/2042946052/
Mark 10:13-16 (KJV)  And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.  And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.  

That's the passage we spoke about on Monday.  We were pretty thorough.  But there's more to consider.


Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?   Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

That passage is farther along in the Sermon on the Mount.  Earlier, in Mt 5:9, Jesus says the peacemakers will be children of God.  Think about His summary of the Ten Commandments (Lk 10:27) as being that we should love God first, our fellow man next.  And remember John 17:20-23, where Jesus prays for unity as a sign of our spiritual parentage.  The picture we think we're given is one of love and peace, nothing but gentleness.  Those certainly are a large piece of the picture, but are they all of it?

In John 8:44, we see Jesus responding to questioning by the Pharisees by referring to them as being of their "father the devil".  And we see this:

Matthew 21:12 (KJV)  And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 

That may not sound like all sweetness and light.  But it is in its own way.  In each case, we see people who made a choice to ally themselves with something other than God.  And, in the process they chose to misrepresent God.  Think about those times when a third party has to send in a peacekeeping force to quiet a dispute that's hurting others.  They send trained soldier with real weapons.  Negotiations and good wishes don't always work in dealing with armed combatants who refuse to stop battling.  What we see in the Pharisees and the moneychangers are combatants against the reputation of God.  Spiritual children of another kingdom.

There's a contrast.  Take a look at the disciples in the Gospel of John.

John 13:33-35 (KJV)  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Once again, we see peace and love.  Toward those close to God.  A more personal example of the second part of the Great Commandment.  And note Jesus' terminology toward His disciples.  He calls them "little children", partly because they still needed to mature and learn, but also because of their relationship.  Now, take a look at them, several chapters later.

John 21:4-7 (KJV)  But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.  Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.   And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

And we see something interesting.  The disciples have abandoned their faith, Peter has already done the three time denial of Christ, they've gone back to commercial fishing instead of preaching.  From Jesus' responses to the Pharisees and moneychangers, we might expect Jesus to be angry with them and to let the disciples know it.  But that's not what we see, is it?  Instead Jesus helps them with their work.  It's to such a degree that they realize it's Him.  And Peter gets so excited that he runs through the water to get to Jesus.  But there's more!

The first word in Jesus' conversation is "children".  The disciples were spiritually attacked, confused, unsure of what was spiritually real.  And, yes, that also meant they sinned.  But they were still God's children.  Their relationship didn't disappear with their sin.  It needed to be fixed, they still need to learn and grow.  But they never lost that connection.  The Greek paidion speaks of the need to be fed and to learn.  Both functions that come from the adults in the relationship.  Let's look at one more passage.

John 12:35-36 (KJV)  Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

Jesus/God and learning are often referred to as light.  And Jesus is also called the Living Word. Here's where it gets interesting.  Peripateo is the Greek word for walk, which also refers to "being occupied with".   We need to travel and be occupied with the light, rather than allying with darkness. That's because we are children of God and as "children of light", we are huios, not just children, but sons, having a close personal relationship and heirship.  In modern times, we have the Word available in the form of the Bible.  So, all of that does apply to us, as well.

How does it feel to be a child of God, having a direct relationship?  And, even better, we are heirs in direct sonship!  What does that do for your day, today?

6 comments:

  1. Great Post! I agree! Which gives me food for thought on a blog of my own... maybe!

    I'm hid with Christ!
    Shawn

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    1. None of this maybe stuff, Shawn. I miss being edified by what God shares with you, personally.

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    2. Well then maybe you should pray that my brain will think up more words than just titles. I have some great ones but when I go to write I draw blank after frustrating blank... just saying.... Thank you for the encouragement! :)

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    3. Let God write it for you. That's what I do.

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    4. Harumph He would have to speak then and right now He's being rather quite! loll!

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  2. Maybe try writing something totally unrelated. I hit a VERY long dry period because I thought I had to ignore my other interests to "write for God". That wasn't His plan.

    When I started sensing the same thing potentially happening, I started my second blog to talk about everything else. Since then, I may have had times when a particular post wasn't going anywhere. I then just shelve it for a future revisit and either start working on another post or work on an Other Stuff post. Either way, eventually something does get written for this blog.

    Sometime this month, I have a guest post on the community blog about getting and keeping ideas at the ready. I just sent it to Chris, yesterday. The two things to keep in mind are:

    1) Gather a collection of ideas. They don't have to all be used the moment you see them. And

    2) Get or keep writing. It's the old overcoming inertia issue. If you stop and stay stopped, the mind and writing attitude tend to hibernate if we stop too long. It becomes harder to get restarted than it is if you even just write junk that you never publish, to keep active.

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