International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday May 22, 2016
Purpose: To appreciate and practice child-like faith and belief
Bible Lesson: Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:16
Background Scripture: Mark 10:13-16
Key Verse: “I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17)
Luke 18:15-17 (CEB)
(15) People were bringing babies to Jesus so that he would bless them. When the disciples saw this, they scolded them. (16) Then Jesus called them to him and said, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. (17) I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.”
(16) Then he hugged the children and blessed them.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Let me begin with a quote from Milton, “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” Starving children while seated at the Father's table is no small scandal. Our churches have become purveyors of opinions, and not offering food for the hungry sheep.
In our scripture text, Jesus is continuing in His teaching, that position in society does not matter to God. Tax collectors and children are what Jesus is looking for. That is, we have nothing to offer God, but our faith and acceptance that Jesus is God’s gift to all of us.
Today we have at our fingertips greater resources for biblical learning, but few churches actually offer a way where worship actually takes place, instead we are offered programs. Unfortunately, it is not words that nourish our soul, but God himself, when we learn that, we will understand that knowing about God is not the same as knowing God.
The little children in our lesson were touched and blessed by Jesus, unless we come to Jesus willing to be touched by Him we become like the disciples and think this is a waste of Jesus time and effort. Too many of our churches act as the gatekeepers for access to Jesus, just like the disciples did.
God has made himself available to all, and by prevenient grace, we are called directly by Him. The hearts called by God long for an intimate relationship with Him. Maybe in the same way a child longs for an intimate relationship with their parents.
Psychology and history teach us that most of our problems in life come from an unsatisfactory child parent relationship. Our spiritual life is no different. An unsatisfactory relationship with our heavenly Father, leads us into a false sense of security, just like the Pharisee’s prayers.
God’s initial call to us is through, what we describe as “Prevenient Grace,” but our eternal future is dependent on how we respond. Accepting takes childlike faith, but our intellectual mind wants to justify God’s grace with some act that we can do. That is the just of today’s lesson. Everything has been done, by not accepting we remain condemned as Jesus told us in John 3:18 Whoever believes in him isn’t judged; whoever doesn’t believe in him is already judged, because they don’t believe in the name of God’s only Son. We enter condemned, but we have a choice to respond.
My hymn for today is an old one we seldom sing anymore, “This is my Father’s World.”