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15. JESUS AND THE CHILDREN (Mark.10:13-16)

BACKGROUND: At the time of Jesus, boys were made members of God's nation when just eight days old. Yet children's general position in society was rather low. The Greek word pais that is used for "child" in this passage can mean a child of any age, including babies.
  1. When you look at your children or other children you know, is it easy or difficult to you to believe that the kingdom of God belongs to their like? Why or why not? Give your reasons.
  2. Think of various reasons why these mothers wanted to bring their children to Jesus even small babies who were not able to understand what Jesus said.
    • If you yourself were to bring your child to Jesus, why would that be?
    • Why didn't most of the mothers at that time, even as today, bring their children to Jesus?
  3. Why didn't the disciples rejoice when children were brought to Jesus?
    • This is the only time when the gospels speak of Jesus as being "indignant". What in this situation made him feel like that?
  4. In our day, bringing our children to Jesus means bringing them into contact with the Bible. Why is it that even Christian parents often do not ensure that their children hear the Bible at home and in Sunday school, church camps, etc?
    • Think of concrete ways that you could take your child, grandchild, or other children around you to hear the words of Jesus?
  5. Why does a child enter into the kingdom of God more easily than an adult does?
  6. How does a child receive a present differently than an adult does?
    • How does a child accept the greatest present: the friendship of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins? What about an adult person?
  7. Imagine a kingdom that belongs to children only. How does it differ from the kingdoms of this world? (The care received, the duties to be done, etc.)
    • What does our text teach us about the kingdom of God?
  8. Jesus said in another occasion: "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt.5:20). Here he promises that even the children can enter there. How can you explain this contradiction?
  9. The children that Jesus blessed that morning became adults in a couple of decades. Probably some of them became good, some of them not-so-good people. Some became happy, some others not so happy. Do you think the blessing they had received from Jesus had any lasting meaning for them? If so, what did it consist of?
    • What did the blessing of Jesus mean to these mothers later in life, when their children had to confront life's many difficulties?

GLAD TIDINGS: Perhaps the mothers of these children thought, "Jesus will never forget my child whom he once blessed." You can trust him in the same way when it comes to your own children.

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