October 31st, 2020

Loved by the Father


By Submitted Article on September 12, 2020.

Children

and teenagers

in the Bible

Last of three parts

Jacob M. Van Zyl

The inspiring good news of the New Testament – Baby Jesus in a manger, Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, and wise men – was soon followed by the bad news of King Herod’s massacre of the babies in Bethlehem, and the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt.

Those innocent children, murdered for their association with the Christ-Child, will certainly have a place of honour near Jesus for ever.

Near the end of Christ’s public ministry, he called a child into the midst of the disciples to convey several vital messages concerning children (Matt. 18).

First, believers must be childlike in their faith, trusting whole-heartedly. Second, believers must be humble like children, knowing their place. Third, whoever receives a child in Jesus’ name, receives him. Fourth, those who lead children astray, will be harshly punished. Fifth, people must not despise children, for their angels always see the face of the Father in heaven. Sixth, it is not the will of the Father that any child should perish.

Therefore, it is not surprising that Jesus rebuked the disciples when they tried to hinder little children from coming to him. To them belongs the kingdom of heaven.

Jairus, a leader in the synagogue of Capernaum, begged Jesus to come quickly to his home to heal his dying 12-year-old daughter (Mark 5).

On their way, they were delayed by another person with an urgent need: a woman who had suffered for 12 years from a bleeding problem. She touched Jesus secretly, hoping to be healed. Jesus knew what happened, and allowed her to testify openly about her faith and healing.

At that point, messengers from Jairus’ house arrived with the news that his daughter had died. Jesus allowed this to happen, because it gave him opportunity to do an even greater miracle than healing.

Jesus brought hope in hopeless situations. The demonic Legio, the bleeding woman, and Jairus’ daughter were all hopeless cases.

When Jesus gave the living daughter back to her parents, their cup overflowed.

On Palm-Sunday, the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. When he entered the temple, children gathered around him, chanting, “Hosanna to the son of David!” (Matt. 21). When the priests and scribes complained, Jesus quoted David in Psalm 8: “Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise.”

After the Holy Spirit came into the hearts of believers, Peter addressed the crowd, quoting from the prophet Joel that in the last days God will pour out his Spirit on all people, so that their sons and daughters will prophesy. He assured the crowd that the promise is for them and their children (Acts 2:17, 39).

“As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.

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