Jesus Smiled … A LOT

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:1-6

And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Mark 9:33-37

Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

Luke 9:46-48

Before I begin a closer look at our text, I want to make a simple observation about this scene and others like it when Jesus and children are together. Children loved to be close to Jesus. That means Jesus was a happy man! I do not know many children that want to be around someone who is not smiling or never expresses happiness.

I make this point simply because many think in order to be religious you must also be serious. Yes, there is a certain amount of gravity that should be involved when we consider God. But I do not think that should make us unhappy. In fact, the more we consider how great God is and how merciful He is to us, it should make us all the more joyful!

Those who believe in salvation by grace plus nothing should be the happiest folks on earth!

When I was a boy, and even still today, I see preachers, deacons, brothers, and sisters who feel that they must be rigid and stoic. Again, there are times for serious behavior but is that all the time? I remember there were certain folks in the church that, as children, we were afraid to be around. I still know some today that feel children should be seen and not heard, or that they should act just like grown-ups around them. Did Jesus treat children this way? I think not. In fact, Jesus rebuked the disciples for this kind of behavior.

Children in the church are a wonderful blessing. Family-integrated worship should be exactly that. It should not be that children feel forced to be there and kept in absolute silence. Sermons should be where even children can understand a good portion of what is being said. If children have questions, the preacher should be willing to answer those questions on the child’s level. After all, isn’t grace that simple?

I hope that, as I grow older, children will still want to be around me. I hope that they will ask me questions about the Bible and about life. I hope they still want to play while they are around me.

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.

Mark 10:13-16

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