Today is “Family” Sunday at Church On The Rock and we are taking this opportunity to enjoy worship and the Word with the whole family. Expecting our children to be in the service with us today and knowing the great teaching they are used to in our Nursery, Children’s and Pre-Teen church services each week, I thought it best to prepare my message with them in mind. I hope that all of you adults will stretch a bit higher today and get what you need from the sermon as well.
This morning’s message will have something in it for everyone so listen close and find the one thing God is speaking to you from His Word today. Are you ready? Let’s go …
Most likely every school child in the United States looks forward to March or April each year because that’s the time of the year for “Spring Break” and maybe even a short family vacation.
Well, did you know that Spring Break is not just an American phenomenon? Do you know that Spring Break is also a part of the Jewish culture and has been for thousands of years? That’s right, each spring schools let out and families take vacations together and many travel to the capital city of Jerusalem for a special celebration of a national holiday called Pessach. Pessach is the Hebrew word for Passover which is connected to the same holiday we celebrate each year at Easter.
This has been going on for a long time. In fact, 2000 years ago, when Jesus was a little boy in school, just like many of you boys and girls today, He would go on a Spring Break vacation with His family each year. Only His spring break vacation lasted a little longer than the one week that you get. His spring break lasted 3 or 4 weeks. Why so long? One reason is because in those days He and His family had to walk everywhere they went and camp out along the way … and then … when the vacation was over, they had to walk all the way back home again.
Do you know how far they had to walk for Spring Break vacation each year? From the city of Nazareth, where Jesus lived as a boy, to the capital city of Jerusalem. It was like walking from here all the way to the other side of Houston. Now, that’s a long walk on a dirt trail with no McDonald’s or Buckee’s along the way and, it’s a long walk back too.
Not only did Jesus make this journey with His parents when he was a little boy but He continued to take this spring break trip each and every year His whole life. The last time He took this vacation trip He was 33 years old and He went with 12 of His best friends whom He called His disciples.
By this time in Jesus’ life He was very famous. Everyone had heard how that He could turn water into wine, walk on water, heal the sick, raise the dead and make the wind obey His commands. Jesus was the most famous person in the entire nation and everyone wanted to see Him, talk to Him or just touch Him.
That year while Jesus and His friends were on their way to the celebration of the spring feast of Passover – Jesus was very busy talking to everybody He met, passed and traveled along with for that whole week. They all walked together from the Galilee through Jericho and on up to Jerusalem. The trip took almost a week and each night they camped along the trail.
One evening the disciples noticed several people bringing little children to Jesus hoping that Jesus would touch them and bless them. It appeared to the disciples that the children were a bother to Jesus. The disciples imagined that Jesus was tired from the long walk and the many conversations that day and so they began to scold those who brought the children and told them to leave Jesus alone so He could get some rest.
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.
This was not the first time that Jesus reached out to children. Two years earlier more than 5,000 people gathered on a hillside on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee to hear Jesus teach and to be healed by His touch. The day grew late and the people were hungry. Jesus desired to feed them all before sending them away. However, neither Jesus nor His disciples had any food to give the people.
When others did not know what to do a little boy came forward and offered the two small fish and five small pieces of bread he had to Jesus. Many adults could not imagine how this little bit would help. But, little is much in the hand of the Lord and the young lad saved the day by giving what he had to Jesus. This little boy was important to God’s plan.
9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"
10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
Not only did Jesus like children and include them in His plan, but we need to remember that Jesus was Himself once a child. Most of the New Testament tells about Jesus as either a little baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, or as the teaching prophet Who healed the sick and walked on water as the grownup Son of God. However, in one passage of scripture God gives us a glimpse of Jesus and how He thought and how He acted when He was a young boy.
The story takes place on one of those “Spring Break” when Jesus was 12 years old. That year the family and friends all walked together from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover one again. Afterwards, when it was time for everyone to go back home and get back to work and school, Mary and Joseph left Jerusalem with their family and friends expecting Jesus to be tagging along with the group as always. When they had gone a day’s journey and began to make camp for the evening they started looking for Jesus and could not find Him … back to the city they went. After 3 days of searching they found Jesus in the Temple. Jesus told His mother that Church should have been the first place they looked for Him. Perhaps Church is still a good place to find Jesus! Let’s read the story in:
43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;
44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."
49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?"
50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
What do we learn from these stories about Jesus and the children in His life?
1. Jesus loved to go to Church
2. Children are important to Jesus
3. Jesus obeyed His parents
4. Jesus wants all of us to be more like children when it comes to faith