Monday after Sexagesima
Scripture: St. Mark 10:1-31 (NKJV)
1 Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again. 2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him. 3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” 5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 ‘and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. 11 So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.
17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.'” 20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” 27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
28 Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” 29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
“Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Children are capable of a trust and humility that is much harder for adults. Children are generally teachable, whereas adults often think they are already wise and try to explain away things that do not fit with their established notions or habits.
Likewise, the “old Adam,” our sinful mind, thinks it is already wise and has no use for God’s wisdom. It turns His laws into tools for self-righteousness, and it ignores His Gospel as foolishness. It rejects the kingdom of God because it thinks it already has things figured out according to its own wicked, narcissistic kingdom. But by contrast, the man that is born again according to the Holy Spirit is able to receive God’s kingdom like a little child because his mind is made humble and teachable. The faithful child of God is empowered to be a disciple, a student, of all that Christ commands. Therefore, that person is made wise unto repentance and able to see and hear the truth of the Gospel!
Christ draws us near as little children; we do not approach Him because we manage to figure it out on our own. And according to the merciful love of the Father, Jesus touches us and blesses us like parents care for their children. He washes us and makes us clean in the water of Baptism. He feeds us and strengthens us in the Supper. And, He teaches us, making us wise unto our salvation in Him, by His Word.
We pray: Heavenly Father, keep us steadfast in Your Spirit so that we may always be Your faithful children as Christ Jesus gathers us, touches our lives, and blesses us according to the grace of Your kingdom. In His Name. Amen.