Encountering the Real Jesus: Toward Childhood

Keith Chandler, Journey Christian Church

Jesus is ultimately heading to Jerusalem where he knows that he will lose his life. He’s trying to tell his disciples what will happen, BUT THEY DON’T GET IT and they are in the back and they are arguing with each other.

“They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.’ But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.” —Mark 9:30-32

He’s telling them what’s about to happen to him when they go to Jerusalem. He’s going to be betrayed and killed and rise three days later, but they don’t get it and they are afraid to ask. We’ve been there before, right?

“They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.” —Mark 9:33-34

Jesus had just told them he’s going to be handed over, tried, and killed. And they’re arguing over who is the greatest! I’m trying to imagine what this might have been like.

This would be like you finding out you had a month to live and your kids are arguing over who gets the car.

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’”

Jesus introduces a new theology that he will reiterate again and again. It’s called the Theology of Humility. We want to push against that because it goes against our nature. But if we’re going to be followers of Jesus, we have to live and lead like Jesus did. Jesus is going to give us a picture of how to lead.

“Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’” —Mark 9:36-37

Really, Jesus, THAT’S what you have for us?

I think they’re leaning in, waiting for their promotion. They are waiting for him to announce the example of greatness (Peter, come on down!). We want to show everyone what greatness looks like. But Jesus is redefining greatness. He’s telling us what greatness really looks like.

Matthew 18 says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 18:3-4

There’s something about the dependency of a child. A child is completely dependent on others. I never wanted the kids to come in and say, “Dad I’m really worried if we’re gonna be able to pay the mortgage this month.” I don’t want that to even cross their mind. I just want them to be children.

Jesus is talking about this child-like trust and dependency on God that only comes through humility. I love the way Tim Keller puts it. He says, “The only person who dares to wake a king at 3am for a glass of water is a child.”

With God, we have that kind of access. That’s the picture of what the kingdom is like.

You come to your heavenly father that way.

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” —Mark 10:15

I was thinking about how a little child approaches life.

They have a sense of wonder.

You take your children to Disney. The lines are long, but a child has this sense of wonder. Children are blind to color and social class. Children are dependent on their parents. They are expressive with their emotions. They get excited about Christmas. They have all the time in the world to play.

They don’t get stressed out. They live in the moment. They aren’t afraid to make new friends. They hate to sleep, but they have no trouble sleeping. They seek to imitate their parents. They are not afraid to recognize and to admit their own weaknesses. They never get tired of asking questions. (We get tired of that). They are not afraid to dance. They may tattle, but they don’t gossip. They tell you honestly what they like and dislike and why. They live for hugs and kisses and candy. The simplest thing can become a treasure in the hands of a child.

What if that described our faith again?

What if we approached God like that? Not a childish faith, but a childlike faith.

When was the last time you approached God with awe and wonder?

Until next month,
7708 Van Dyke Rd, Odessa
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