Sabbath, May 25, 2013
“The Saviour regards with infinite tenderness the souls whom He has purchased with His blood. They are the claim of His love. He looks upon them with unutterable longing. His heart is drawn out, not only to the best-trained and most attractive children, but to those who by inheritance and through neglect have objectionable traits of character.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 44.
1. What is known about Jesus’ childhood and youth? Why can He be the Friend of children and youth?
Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
“There were some who sought His society, feeling at peace in His presence; but many avoided Him, because they were rebuked by His stainless life. Young companions urged Him to do as they did. He was bright and cheerful; they enjoyed His presence, and welcomed His ready suggestions; but they were impatient at His scruples, and pronounced Him narrow and strait-laced. Jesus answered, It is written, ‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.’ ‘Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.’ Psalm 119:9, 11.
“… When questioned why He did not join in the frolics of the youth of Nazareth, He said, It is written, ‘I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will delight myself in Thy statutes; I will not forget Thy word.’ Psalm 119:14-16.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 89.
2. What reveals His close contact with nature? Having been a child Himself, how did Jesus rejoice with little children?
Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
“As the children gathered the wildflowers growing so abundantly around them, and crowded up to present to Him their little offerings, He received them gladly, smiled upon them, and expressed His joy at seeing so many varieties of flowers.
“These children were His heritage. He knew that He had come to ransom them from the enemy by dying on the cross of Calvary. He spoke words to them that ever after they carried in their hearts. They were delighted to think that He appreciated their gifts and spoke so lovingly to them.
“Christ watched children at their play, and often expressed His approval when they gained an innocent victory over something they were determined to do. He sang to children in sweet and blessed words. They knew that He loved them. He never frowned on them. He shared their childish joys and sorrows. Often He would gather flowers, and after pointing out their beauties to the children, would leave them with them as a gift. He had made the flowers and He delighted to point out their beauties.
“It has been said that Jesus never smiled. This is not correct. A child in its innocence and purity called forth from His lips joyous song.” –The Upward Look, p. 57.
Jesus healed and blessed the little children
3. What episode is described for us, as little children were brought to Him to be blessed?
Matthew 19:13-15 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
“When the mothers came to Him with their little ones, the disciples looked on them with disfavor. They thought these children too young to be benefited by a visit to Jesus, and concluded that He would be displeased at their presence. But it was the disciples with whom He was displeased. The Saviour understood the care and burden of the mothers who were seeking to train their children according to the word of God. He had heard their prayers. He Himself had drawn them into His presence….
“Thus several mothers came together, with their little ones. Some of the children had passed beyond the years of infancy to childhood and youth. When the mothers made known their desire, Jesus heard with sympathy the timid, tearful request….
“He took the children in His arms, He laid His hands upon them, and gave them the blessing for which they came.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 511, 512.
4. In what other ways did Jesus demonstrate special care for children?
Matthew 17:18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
John 4:51, 52 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
“Let the eye of faith take in the scene. Watch these mothers pressing their way to Him, pale, weary, almost despairing, yet determined and persevering, bearing their burden of suffering in their arms.
“As these anxious ones are being crowded back, Christ makes His way to them step by step, until He is close by their side. Tears of gladness and hope fall freely as they catch His attention and look into the eyes expressing such tender pity and love for the weary mother as well as for her suffering child. He invites her confidence, saying, ‘What shall I do for you?’ She sobs out her great want–‘Master, that Thou shouldest heal my child.’ She has shown her faith in urging her way to Him, though she did not know that He was making His way to her, and Christ takes the child from her arms. He speaks the word, and disease flees at His touch. The pallor of death is gone. The life-giving current flows through the veins. The muscles receive strength.” –The Upward Look, p. 26.
5. When and in what special way did these cured children later praise Jesus? Matthew 21:9, 15, 16.
Matthew 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Matthew 21:15, 16 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
“The children were foremost in the rejoicing. Jesus had healed their maladies; He had clasped them in His arms, received their kisses of grateful affection, and some of them had fallen asleep upon His breast as He was teaching the people. Now with glad voices the children sounded His praise. They repeated the hosannas of the day before, and waved palm branches triumphantly before the Saviour. The temple echoed and re-echoed with their acclamations.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 592.
6. Can mothers still bring their children to Jesus in the same way today? Tell your personal experience.
Psalm 115:13, 14 He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great. The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
“The mothers of today are to receive His words with the same faith. Christ is as verily a personal Saviour today as when He lived a man among men. He is as verily the helper of mothers today as when He gathered the little ones to His arms in Judea. The children of our hearths are as much the purchase of His blood as were the children of long ago.
“Jesus knows the burden of every mother’s heart. He who had a mother that struggled with poverty and privation sympathizes with every mother in her labors…. He is touched today by the mother’s sorrow. In every grief and every need He will give comfort and help.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 512.
7. What can children and youth do today, knowing that their best Friend is ready to listen to them and answer their prayers?
1 John 5:14, 15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
“Children and youth may come to Jesus with their burdens and perplexities, and know that He will respect their appeals to Him, and give them the very things they need. Be earnest; be resolute. Present the promise of God, and then believe without a doubt. Do not wait to feel special emotions before you think the Lord answers. Do not mark out some particular way that the Lord must work for you before you believe you receive the things you ask of Him; but trust His word, and leave the whole matter in the hands of the Lord, with full faith that your prayer will be honored, and the answer will come at the very time and in the very way your heavenly Father sees is for your good; and then live out your prayers. Walk humbly and keep moving forward.” –Messages to Young People, p. 123.
“In the children, who were brought in contact with Him, Jesus saw the men and women who should be heirs of His grace and subjects of His kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for His sake. He knew that these children would listen to Him and accept Him as their Redeemer far more readily than would grownup people, many of whom were the worldly-wise and hardhearted. In teaching, He came down to their level. He, the majesty of heaven, answered their questions and simplified His important lessons to meet their childish understanding. He planted in their minds the seeds of truth, which in afteryears would spring up and bear fruit unto eternal life.” –Evangelism, pp. 579, 580.
For personal study
- Matthew 9:24, 25
“Words of comfort and peace are spoken to the mother, and then another case just as urgent is presented. The mother asks help for herself and her children, for they are all sufferers. With willingness and joy Christ exercises His life-giving power, and they give praise and honor and glory to His name who doeth wonderful things.” –The Upward Look, p. 26.
“Let mothers come to Jesus with their perplexities. They will find grace sufficient to aid them in the management of their children. The gates are open for every mother who would lay her burdens at the Saviour’s feet. He who said, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not,’ still invites the mothers to lead up their little ones to be blessed by Him. Even the babe in its mother’s arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 512.
- Matthew 7:7, 8