Every now and again I get a chance to speak to a group of AWANA children or at a local Christian school. It’s such a blessing to be able to talk to them about Jesus. What I often do is take a sermon I’ve written for adults, rewrite it and add some more fun and interesting graphics so it will make more sense to children. This is one of those. The original is here.
Jesus Loves Kids!
I want to play a game today. I call it “Favourites”. I’ll give you some choices and you tell me which one is your favourite. (CandyLand/BattleShip, AngryBirds/Cut-The-Rope, Chocolate/Vanilla Ice Cream, Sprinkles or No Sprinkes, Dora or Diego, Minions or Elsa). Now, let’s talk a little bit about favourites.
Here’s something you’ve heard many, many, many times: “Jesus Loves You!” Have you been told that before? Probably lots of times, right? Well, let me tell you something else you may not have heard too many times: “Jesus Loves Kids!” Have you heard that before? It’s true! Jesus has a special place in his heart for children just like you. In fact, did you know there is a story in scripture where it shows that Jesus’ favourite people are kids like you?
It’s true! Let me read it to you from Mark 10:13-16:
“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.”
Only Important People
So, I want you to get the picture here in your mind of what’s happening. A bunch of parents are bringing their children to Jesus so He could bless them, talk to them. This has probably happened to you, right? Have you ever been brought somewhere special to meet someone? Maybe you dress up to visit a relative far away, or go to the rink and see a famous hockey player, or have a missionary over to your house. Well, that’s what it was like for these kids. They were being brought by their dads and moms to see Jesus.
Except, what happened when they got there? The disciples looked at their parents and said, “Go away! You’re bothering Jesus with all these children! He has more important things to do than talk to a bunch of kids!”
I’m sure that’s happened to you, right? Have you ever been told to be quiet because the adults were talking? Have you ever been told to go sit at the kid’s table? Have you ever been given a baby sitter so that the parents could go and do something special? Have you ever been stuck in the Sunday school room so the adults could have a big meeting?
Let me tell you a secret: Most of the time, sitting at the kid’s table is BETTER, because the adults are talking about boring things like the news, the weather, the government, their money, and other booooring things. (Actually, there are times that I’d much rather be sitting at the kid’s table with you guys talking about toys and cartoons than with the adults.)
And the disciples were doing exactly the same thing. They thought were helping Jesus by only letting the important people come through. Only the people who were really sick, or town leaders, or other adults who wanted to talk to Jesus. In fact, the Bible says that the disciples were “scolding” the parents! That’s a pretty intense word!
Have you ever been “Scolded”? It means to get in trouble and be yelled at! Think of the last time your mom or dad raised their voice because you got in trouble – that’s what the disciples were doing to the parents who were bringing the kids! “Go away! Get these kids out of here! Adults only!”
But look at what Jesus does! What does it say, “When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples.” Now look who’s yelling! It’s Jesus! The disciples are in trouble! Jesus looks at Peter and James and John and the rest of the disciples and says, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them!” “Get out of their way! Get these adults out of here, I want to talk to the kids!”
You see! Jesus doesn’t see you guys as less important than adults. In fact, Jesus says here that He wants to be around the kids more than He wants to be around the adults! How does that make you feel? Pretty special, right?
I can just imagine the look on some of the children’s faces when Jesus looks at the adults and tells them to get out of the kid’s way! Can you imagine what that would be like? Having Jesus move everyone else aside – the prime minister, the mayor, the famous people, the teachers, the police men, the really important adults – push them all aside, and bring you and the rest of your friends up to Him. “Get out of the way adults! I want to see the kids!”
And what does Jesus do with them? It says Jesus “took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.”
Every one of these kids got to talk to Jesus, got a hug from Jesus, and He prayed for them. Each one, in turn. All the adults having to wait quietly while Jesus takes the littlest ones on his knee, talks to them, gives them a big hug, and then prays for them. This is the only place in the whole Bible that I read about Jesus giving someone a hug! And it’s given to children – just like you!
Who do you hug? Do you hug strangers? No! Do you hug people you don’t like? No! You hug people you love, right? You hug friends and family members. I don’t hug very many people, but I love hugging my kids and my wife because I love them in a special way! Hugging is a way we show a special kind of love – it’s only for certain people. And here we see Jesus hugging all of these kids. He didn’t hug the adults! He didn’t hug the disciples! The only people we ever read about Jesus hugging – is when He hugs kids just like you.
Let me show you one more other place in the Bible that talks about how Jesus feels about kids like you. It’s from Matthew 18 and it says that as Jesus was teaching a group of adults one day, He brought a little child over to Himself and said:
“…anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me…. Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 18:2-10)
So Jesus looks at these adults and says, “Kids are very, very important to me. Welcome them like you would welcome me! Treat them with respect and love. Treat them like you would treat me! And be careful how you treat kids – I love them and I have given a special task to the angels to tell God exactly how people are treating the children in this world!”
That’s a big deal, isn’t it! Jesus love you kids so much that He has warned the adults to make sure they love you, respect you, and take care of you. And He’s made sure that all your prayers will be heard, and that anyone who messes with you won’t get away with it.
He loves you, protects you, and has told all of us adults to do the same.
For the Troubled Kids
Now, maybe some of you don’t feel this way today. Maybe you don’t feel like Jesus loves you. Maybe you don’t feel very protected. Maybe you’re going through a hard time, and there have been some adults that have let you down. Maybe you’ve even been hurt or lied to by some adults. Let me tell you that I’m very sorry – that makes me sad.
But let me also tell you that Jesus is there and He loves you. Jesus will never lie to you. He’ll never let you down. I don’t know how it’s all going to end up, but Jesus says He hears all of your prayers and no one will get away with hurting you. In fact, God knows exactly what’s going on and will deal with it. And He’s surrounding you with adults right here who love Jesus, love you, and want the best for you. This place is safe and you can tell your leaders about what’s going on in your life. They will pray for you and try to help. They know that you are Jesus’ favourite people – because you are their favourite people too!
So let me remind you what I’ve said today, ok?
First, Jesus loves kids and you are one of His favourite people! You may not feel His hug right now, but He is always with you, and if you believe in Him, He will greet you with a big hug someday.
Second, even though some adults will let you down, there are others who have listened to Jesus and believe you are special and worth loving and protecting. These loving adults are a gift from God, and there are many in this room today.
Third, even when you go through tough times, Jesus will always be there to take care of you. He doesn’t think you’re unimportant just because you’re small and young. In fact, He thinks your extra important because you’re small and young! He died on the cross for your sins too – because He loves you. He has special angels looking out for you, and will never forget about you.