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Jesus’ Expectation of Leaders

Jesus wants us to relate to children like he did. We are leaders, so we should learn our leadership style from Jesus. Mark 10:13-16 shows clearly that Jesus wants us to love children. Jesus loves children – he likes their company!

1 Jesus wants us to Be Approachable

  • Jesus wants us to be the sort of person people will feel happy bringing children to. This means:-
  • having a clean spirit
  • being at peace with yourself
  • feeling secure in Father’s love.
  • Children were brought to Jesus for him to touch. In the Bible, the word translated as ‘touch’ is the same word used for the lighting of a candle or lamp. Jesus’ touch releases power (Luke 6:19) and our close relationship with children is meant to release Holy Spirit power to them.

2 Jesus wants us to Honour Children

  • Jesus wants us to react to any dishonouring of children. It says in Mark 10:13 that the disciples rebuked those who brought children. This strong word is also used to describe Jesus dealing with an evil spirit, in Mark 9:25. The word used to describe Jesus’ strong reaction to the disciples’ actions originally indicated feeling physical pain. To get an idea of what this feeling involved, we can compare the times it was used of others:-
  • The disciples felt this way about James and John wanting to be top. (Matthew 20:24)
  • The disciples felt this way about what they considered was a waste of perfume. (Matthew 26:8)
  • The ruler of the synagogue felt this way about Jesus healing on the Sabbath. (Luke 13:14)
  • The chief priests felt this way about Jesus’ acts and children praising God. (Matthew 21:15)
  • Jesus honoured children – he showed them that he wanted them. Luke 18:16 says that he called them to himself. It is right to want children. In the Kingdom of Jesus there is no such thing as an unwanted child. Dishonouring children is demonic in origin. Avoidance of children is a spiritual weakness, and it is important to correct this, particularly in leaders.
  • In Mark 10:13 the Greek word used for children coming to Jesus is “paidion” which means a small child. In Luke’s account of the same event the word used is “brephos” which can mean a child, a baby, a newborn child or an unborn child. The same honour is to be given to all.

3 Jesus wants us to Hug Children

  • Jesus wants us to relate in friendship directly to children – not just through their parents.
  • Jesus received the children – he took them up in his arms. When we follow this example we are treating children as if they were our own. This is not to be possessive of them, but to express “I am here for you.” A hug means:- I love you, you can trust me, I want you with me, I accept you, I want you to be happy.
  • Jesus anointed the children – he placed his hands on each of them. Such a touch can release Holy Spirit power in healing, strengthening or gifting.
  • Jesus blessed the children – he spoke to them using positive words. We are to give encouragement to children in personal conversation with them.

4 Jesus wants us to Bring Healing to Children

  • The raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22-23 & 5:35-43) and the healing of the government official’s son (John 4:46-53) illustrate this.
  • Jesus wants us to be available to bring healing to children.
  • Jairus, the congregation leader at Capernaum, asked Jesus to heal a child in the church family. If God has put you in leadership, he has given you healing as part of your ministry (James 5:14).
  • The government official asked Jesus to heal a child in the community. If God has made you a leader in the church, he has made you a minister for the community.
  • Jesus wants us to be in touch for healing children.
  • Jesus took Jairus’ daughter by the hand and spoke to her.
  • In dealing with the official, Jesus was in touch with the parent on the behalf of the child.
  • Jesus wants us to be sensitive in the healing of children.
  • Jesus gave strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened to the little girl. We are to guard children from undue attention. Jesus told the girl’s parents to give her something to eat. We are to help parents with practical advice.
  • Jesus told the official to go home and his son would live. He did not go and lay hands on him. We are to be sensitive to heaven in our ministry, not following a set pattern.

5 Jesus wants us to Free Children from Demonic Pressure

  • The releasing from demonic pressure of the boy in Mark 9:14-29 (see also Matthew 17:14-21 & Luke 9:37-43) and the girl in Mark 7:24-30 (see also Matthew 15:21-28) illustrate this.
  • Jesus wants us to be leading in releasing children from demonic pressure.
  • In dealing with the boy, Jesus recognised the spiritual root of the situation. We should recognise that unholy behaviour comes from unholy spirits. Like Jesus, we should be seeking to go further than others have gone. Jesus went further than the cynics: rebuking unbelief. Jesus went further than the disciples: teaching them how to move on in this type of ministry. Jesus went further than the parents: adding his faith to theirs.
  • In dealing with the girl’s mother, Jesus was faced with a questionable person at an inconvenient time, but he had enough compassion for the child and the parent.
  • Jesus wants us to be prepared for releasing children from demonic pressure.
  • In dealing with the boy, Jesus highlighted three areas of preparation. We are prepared by faith and should give attention to things like team togetherness, which build faith. We are prepared by prayer, being in touch with heaven, hearing and receiving Holy Spirit gifts. We are prepared by fasting, not just being empty of food but being filled with and focussed on heaven. This is a means of releasing ourselves from demonic pressure and cutting off impure streams into our lives.
  • In Jesus dealing with the girl, we can learn to understand demonic pressure on children in relation to their parents, and the need to address parents if children are affected. When the parent came into the right relationship with Jesus, the child was released.
  • Jesus wants us to be confident in releasing children from demonic pressure.
  • In dealing with the boy, Jesus said, “Bring him to me” and explained that only mustard seed faith was necessary. The boy represents an extreme case, which is described as causing him to:- suffer miserably, have fits, often fall into fire and water, foam at the mouth, gnash his teeth, be deaf and dumb and suddenly cry out. Having affected him all of his childhood, it was bruising him, making a wreck of him and it hardly ever departed from him. Jesus released him, so let’s not give up on anyone.
  • In dealing with the girl’s mother, Jesus said, “Because of that answer, go back home where you will find that the demon has gone out of your daughter.” He was confident of God’s response to the woman’s faith and of demonic response to faith.

6 Jesus wants us to See Children as our Partners

  • The way that Jesus relates to children in Mark 10:13-16 & 9:33-37 teaches us about our partnership with children.
  • Jesus wants children to be his partners. Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children, so they have a full partnership with him in it.
  • Jesus wants us to be his childlike partners. Jesus wants us to be like the child in Mark 9:33-37: to come when he calls, to be alongside him, to be hugged by him, and to be an example to others.
  • Jesus wants us to partner children. We should relate like Jesus did, so that:- children are happy to respond when we call, we have children alongside us rather than behind us, they have fun and enjoyment as well as working with us, and we put them in the centre to learn from them.

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