I want to show you what my devotion this morning was like. I’ll let you know my thoughts as I connect the scripture dots so we can see the big picture. I get excited when I think the evidence is convincing enough to be life changing.
My scripture reading was from Mark 10. It’s starts out solidifying the fact that sin is sin. It’s talking about adultery and there is no question about guilt.
Jesus was being badgered by the religious law experts because they wanted to prove that He had no respect for Gods law so they could arrest Him. They questioned Him about His respect for God’s law concerning sin. Apparently, something about His message made them think He was a danger to tradition.
So, they’re trying to trip Him up and He confirms that wrong is wrong. Then something happened right after that and it made me curious.
They were bringing children to Jesus, the disciples were turning them away, and Jesus got upset.
“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” -Jesus, Mark 10:14
The Bible is one book with a series of stories to tell one story. I was curious because of the story placement. There is significance to be found and connecting the cross-reference scriptures reveals the significance.
“Do not hinder them…” What is ‘hinder’ and who are ‘them’? Is it literally children?
The cross reference scripture to “…do not hinder them…” is from Mark 9. I read that chapter and it’s (38-43) talking about people whom the disciples did not think were followers of Jesus, doing things in His name. They wanted to know if they should stop them. Then it says this:
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” -Mark 9:42
Again, is it talking about literal children? And how can you cause someone to sin?
God calls us children, even though we’re adults. Scripture refers to those whom belong to Christ as ‘children’.
- I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. -1 Corinthians 4:14
- My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, -Galatians 4:19
- My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. -1 John 2:1
- I remind you, my dear children: Your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name.-1 John 2:12
- So, my dear children, don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. -1 John 3:7
- My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. -1 John 3:18
- My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. -1 John 4:4
Do you see a trend in the scriptures? God loves us, Jesus died for us, and we belong to Him. I believe that the way to ’cause someone to sin’ is to keep them from knowing this, from trusting this, and effectively keeping the ‘children’ from coming to Him.
People do this when they ignore the finished work of Jesus to effectively keep someone who sins from coming back. We have a lot of ‘religious law experts’ who are attacking the only thing that can save someone from their sin. Jesus said that it would be better for those who block the way to forgiveness to have a concrete block tied to their neck and drowned.
The next cross-reference scripture (to Mark 9:42) confirms what what happens when you diminish the finished work of Jesus (grace, forgiveness, redemption):
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” -Zechariah 13:7
When you attack the message of grace, you scatter the sheep. When you share the message of grace, they come running.
The cross reference to Zechariah 13:7:
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom…” – Isaiah 40:11
People will turn you away, hold you under water, and try to drown you because of your sin. Get away from them. Drowning people drown people. Every life guard knows that. You can’t let drowning people grab on to you, they’ll pull you under with the millstone tied to their neck. The only thing that can save us all is Jesus. Show them how to grab on to Jesus. If they listen, they’ll be saved, but don’t let them make you let go of Him. He’s your only hope.
Another cross reference scripture:
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'” -Zechariah 13:7-9
“How do you know when it’s refined?” the interviewer asks.
“When I can see my reflection in it.” answers the blacksmith.