Week 5: The New Testament and Children
Day 1: God Cares for His Children – John 11:49-52; 13;33-35; 21:5,6
How precious, not just to be called the children of God, but to know that we are His children. In addition to the passages we looked at last week, three more passages in the Gospels compare us to children in our relationship with God. We won’t spend a great deal of time on any of them, but I don’t feel we should simply skip over them.
The first passage is found in John 11 and has enormous significance for us as Gentiles. “And one of them, name Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Jesus died to give us the opportunity to enter into this relationship. What amazing love! “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” 1 John 3:1
The second of the three passages appears in John’s account of the last supper. It comes as Jesus is foretelling his betrayal and links back very closely with some of the verses and ideas that we covered in the last blog. “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Jesus’ concern for the disciples, His children, is very evident in this statement. He wants them to know the truth. He does not hide from them that He is going away and that they cannot follow Him. But He is also very careful to give them instruction. “Love one another.” Just as we saw in the last blog, one of the defining characteristics of God’s children is the way they treat others. Do they seek peace? Do they love their enemies? Do they love one another. Questions that should all be answered “yes” for the child of God.
The Apostle John was very careful to emphasize the importance of obedience. In both his gospel and his epistles he made it very clear that this is what marks us as those who love God. According to 1 John 5:1-3, obedience is also what helps us to know whether we love one another, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” This, in light of our study, raises the question, Are we obeying God in the area of ministering to the fatherless, and to what extent does our obedience show God’s love?
Lastly, we have John 21:5. Jesus calls to His disciples as they are fishing, “…Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” Jesus cared for the smallest needs of His disciples. This was His way of revealing Himself to them that morning. Very often, He does the same with us. When we are most in need of a simple reminder of God’s love for us, of His provision and care, He in someway or another comes along and blesses us beyond our wildest imagination. Sometimes, the blessing is small, but so profound that we will cherish the memory forever. Other times, it is so large that we have the joy of many others rejoicing with us because they too can see it. Either way, it is a precious reminder that we are His – He has made us His children.
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