The month of March was all about godly families at Big City Clubhouse. We learned a lot about why God created the family. Here is a recap of what we covered.
- Moses’ Family
- Moses teaching parents to teach their own children
- Naomi and Ruth’s relationship
- God cares for widows and orphans (single parent families)
- Jesus’ Family
For the month of April, we are going to focus on Jesus, since we will celebrate His life, death, burial, and resurrection this month when we celebrate Easter. The first thing that we want to learn about Jesus is that He loves little children, He wants us to come to Him, and He wants us to believe in Him with childlike faith. Mark 10 is the passage for this lesson. Now that you have had a moment to read it, I want to set up the passage with the context. There are two kinds of people mentioned in this passage. One kind has childlike faith in Jesus Christ while the others do not. They stumble over themselves when it comes to walking with God.
I. The Pharisees are hindered because of idolatry
They came to Jesus with a question but their motives were not pure. They did not come to Him to learn from Him. They did not come to Him in a humble manner, begging to receive what He had to offer. They were not poor in spirit. Their idol was their knowledge of the Law. The worshiped their knowledge. Their knowledge gave them prestige and power within society. Their knowledge kept them from coming humbly to Christ and learning from Him. They just wanted to test and trap Him. They used a hot topic button of their day, divorce. They were taught a great lesson but they did not let it sink in. Jesus uses the next few verses to show the Pharisees what they were missing, childlike faith to come to Christ with pure motives and receive from Him. In the context of children, idolatry, and divorce, I believe that we can draw some points for our modern society. We live in an age of idolatry. We are taught that the ultimate goal of life is for you to be happy. If something does not make you happy, get rid of it. If you need something to make you happy, do whatever it takes to get it. In the context of marriage, when two selfish people who each seek their own happiness try to live together, disastrous results usually happen. Divorce seems like a natural way out of an unhappy marriage, because, you need to be happy, right? What about the children? Why do we not think of them and what will happen to them as a result of divorce? Do we even care that they are innocent victims? Do you know that this is one of the reasons why God hates divorce? When your world falls apart because of divorce, there is One who will welcome you with open arms, Jesus Christ. Children need to be taught to run to Him. We need to lead the little children to Him.
II. The rich young ruler is hindered because of idolatry
After using the children as an example of the type of faith it takes to enter the kingdom of heaven, Jesus then moves on to the rich young ruler, a man who thought he had good faith, yet he knew that something was missing. He really did want to learn from Jesus. He came with a sincere question and was seeking an answer from Christ. There were no hidden motives in him like with the Pharisees. Jesus told him to keep the commands and he would have eternal life. The rich young ruler claims to have kept them from his youth. Jesus begins to name them. Interestingly, Jesus lists the 6 commands that deal with man’s relationship to others. The first 4 deal with man’s relationship with God. The man lived a good life yet his problem was that he was not right with God. The reason that he could not get right with God was because of his idol, his wealth. Jesus told him to sell it all and give the money away and he could inherit eternal life because the idol would be removed and the barrier between him and God would be broken down. The young man walked away from eternal life. He could not give up his idol. He could not have the childlike faith required to enter the kingdom of heaven.
III. The disciples are hindered because of idolatry
You would think that the disciples were the ones who had it all figured out, because, unlike everyone else around them, they had left it all to follow Jesus Christ. They were fallen people, sinners, just like all of us are. They were not special because of who they were, they were special because of the Lord whom they followed. They did not learn the lesson that Jesus had taught to the Pharisees. They still needed to learn. They are actually used as a negative example in this passage. Their idol was their position. They had missed the point. As followers of Christ, they were not to seek positions so that they could be served by others. They were to seek to serve others. They were to become a servant of all. Positions are not bad because they are given to us by God. Like money, they serve a purpose. Money is not the root of all evil but, the love of money is the root of all evil. Positions are not negative. Seeking to attain positions by putting others down as you climb the ladder of success is evil. Christ does not call us to do that. He calls us to serve as He served us. The disciples missed the point because they were worried about who among them would have the higher position. It is like when Jesus washed their feet at the Last Supper. None of them thought they should have to wash the feet of the others. That was something for someone else of a lower rank to perform. When Jesus took the towel and tub, they immediately realized their mistake.
IV. Bartimaeus came to Christ as a person poor in spirit
The hero of the story is not the sophisticated, well educated upstanding people in the community. They were hindered from coming to Christ because of their pride and position. The hero of the story is a blind beggar who has nothing to offer. The only thing that he can do is come to Jesus and beg for mercy. He has nothing to offer and the only thing that he can do is receive. His motives are pure. He is willing to listen to Christ and do what He says. He believed that Jesus had the power to do what He said He could do. He believed that Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Messiah. He had childlike faith in Christ because he had nothing else. This is what Jesus taught as the first state of being that opens the door to the kingdom of heaven, being poor in spirit. None of us really have anything to offer God. We are all spiritually poor but not all realize it. Some are like the Pharisees and trust in their position in society. Others trust in their wealth. Still others claim to follow Christ and be poor in spirit yet they have their eyes on the position that they can gain because of following Christ. Only the lowly beggar realizes his state and comes to the Lord with childlike faith.
Which category are you in, my friend? Are you like the Pharisees, like the disciples, or like Bartimaeus? Do you run to the Lord and trust in Him with childlike faith? What keeps you from being like Bartimaeus, like the children? Is it your career, your possessions etc.? Do you have idols in your life? Are you ready to admit your spiritual poverty and come to Christ as a person who is poor in spirit, ready to receive what He has to offer? May the Lord help us learn from this great example.