The heart of Jesus Ministry
45. The Children
45. THE CHILDREN
One day they brought several small children to the Master, so that He could lay his hands on them and pray. But His disciples thought their Master was tired and tried to lead them away. This made Jesus indignant, and he interjected:
Matthew 19.V.13. "Allow the little children to come to see me, for the Kingdom of Heaven is for those who are like children".
Matthew 18 V.3. "In truth, I tell you that if you don't become like these little children, you will not reach the Kingdom".
Luke 9V.48 "Whoever becomes as humble as this child will be the most exalted in the Kingdom".
Matthew 18.V.10. "Never scorn any of these children, for the angels in heaven watch over them and the Father in Heaven knows."
Mark 10 V.16. Adds:- He took them in his arms, blessed them, touching the crown of their heads.
Jesus : (with his arms full of children) ...
What a Beautiful scene this must have been!! It has inspired painters and sculpters all over the world to show the goodness of the Master with the youngest of his flock.
What can we learn from this? A new- born baby is like a blank page, on a computer awaiting instructions which will help create its own memory from each sensation whether it be joy or sorrow, love or rejection, success or failure.
Slowly the child must learn to live in the social and spiritual milieu, where they have been placed by God:
- Will the child have a comfortable, privileged life, food, elegant clothes many opportunities?
- Or will he or she suffer abuse, or perhaps have to work all day for a meager wage, never seeing day light?
He is a ray from the sun This is the fruit of love,
A true gift from the sky The memory of one day
He looks like an angel, When one gave everything
Full of pure simplicity. To make life anew.
He likes to be rocked As the bird in its nest,
In gentle loving arms, He discovers life,
There, beside your heart He watches and laughs,
He believes in happiness. One sees he understands.
The inventor of the site, a while ago
A C H I L D A small person As big as three apples, Overflows with life To prove he exists. He has a pure heart Where there are no walls, In his big open eyes Shines the whole universe... He likes castles of sand, The green soft grass. Throws stones in the water, Running after birds. Sleeping against a tree, A bear in his arms, He dreams fairy tales, Of kingdoms of joy. He makes a lot of worrys But one forgets them, When he comes to say: 'I love you', One thinks no more of the cares. A small child Is made for mothers, Such a love as this Can live eternally.
Matthew 18 v 6 Trouble must come in this world, but WOE to the man who causes it. If someone hurts any of the children who believe in me, if would be better if he had never been born
1) Children martyred
Each day in France 2 children die, victims of abuse inflicted by their own parents. In Brazil 400,000 children have no home and live on the street and at least four of them are brutally murdered every day. Three million children die every year throughout the world because of starvation or abuse.
(Sources: "Derniere Nouvelles d'Alsace" and the French press) . No, there is no excuse (poverty, unhappy childhood, violent memories lingering in the mind.) There is no excuse for those terrible parents guilty of the worst crimes: those of slowly killing with indifference, or prostituting their own children.
2. Paedophilic crimes:
In Brazil, Yugoslavia, the East and in Africa, Many tiny victims are abandoned, tortured, exploited or forced to work or prostitute themselves for perverted people. When one hears of small children made to work 14 hours a day to produce hand made carpets, or having to harvest an entire field of sugar cane with a crude scythe to earn a few coins, all under the threat of being beaten, tortured or mutilated, one cannot help feeling disgust and shame for those who exploit them in this way.
Young innocent victims, who know nothing of evil, are savagely attacked or raped near their homes by monsters who are ill in their minds. These small children are easy prey and defenceless against these violations and will always carry within them the brutal memories.
How many little angels (boys and girls) have disappeared without trace? The cherubs will have their place beside the external Father, but the perpetrators will find the hell they deserve.
47. THE DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci -Louvre.
Matthew recounted the circumstances of John the Baptist's violent death (Ch.14) and Mark also in (Ch 6 V. 14 to 31).
In Mark, John said to Herod Antipas:
- "Not only have you disowned your first wife, but you are living in sin with Herodiade", (the wife of his half brother Herod-Philip.)
Herodiade was very angry and made Herod arrest John and put him in prison.
She wanted him dead, but Mark claims that Herod feared John and felt him to be a good man: a prophet send by God. He protected him and often listened to his wise sayings. However, on Herods' birthday, there was a great feast for all the notable people in the kingdom: including Jews and Romans, (except Pilate who only came to know Herod during Jesus' trial).
At the end of the meal, Salome (Herodiades' daughter) entered the hall to dance. One can imagine the scene.
"Herod Antipas in his ceremonial robes was entertaining all the grand dignitaries of the realm; even the Roman officials and mercenaries who had already hanged, crucified and assassinated so many people. They were all there . They ate the veal and lamb which Herod provided, and drank his strong heavy wine.
Suddenly Herodiade had an idea.
This beautiful young girl, was dancing almost naked to the music of the orchestra: the only sound to be heard, as even the servers had stopped to watch. Herod, like the other men, had his eyes fixed on this beautiful woman; he was hypnotised and lost in a dream.
Lying on his cushions, rather drunk, Herod devoured the young Salome with his eyes. He had desired her for a very long time: she lived in the same palace and He saw her often. However Herodiade her mother, watched over her closely and no one could approach Salome without her consent.
After the entertainment, Salome went to kiss Herold and wish him a happy birthday.
Herod, completely overwhelmed by her charms said solemnly:
- "Ask me for anything you wish. And I will give it to you. Even if you ask me for one half of my kingdom, it will be yours."
Everyone cheered and waited to hear the young girls' demand. She went straight to her mother for advice. Then, with a look full of hate, Heriodade told her:
- " You must ask for the head of John the Baptist."
Many of the guests were surprised by the girls' choice. She could have demanded the title of wife of the Tetrarch , which would have allowed Herod to reject her mother in a public declaration.
Mark says that Herod was disappointed, but because of his promise and out of respect for his guests, he felt he had to give in to Salome's request.
His lieutenants went down to the cell where John had been held for many months. John was praying when they arrived, and it was easy for the guards to sever his head from his body. For maximum effect, the guard did not clean the face of blood, but placing it immediately on to a silver plate he marched triumphantly into the great hall.
Salome went to look at the strange gift her mother wanted so much, but she recoiled in disgust and asked the quard to show the trophy to her mother so that she could have her revenge.
Everyone had started to drink again and that night Herod had terrible nightmares. His conscience told him he had killed a prophet, a man sent by God to the land of Israel.
Mark 6 V. 29. The disciples of John came to collect his body and placed it is a sepulchre. They report all that had happened to Jesus.
Matthew 14 V. 13 At this news, Jesus journeyed by boat to a desert area. However, a huge crowd followed him. One day Herod having heard people talking of Jesus said,
- "He is John the Baptist risen from the dead and thus he can do miracles."
Luke 13 V.31. Another day, the Pharisees told Jesus:
- "Herold will try to kill you."
- "Tell that sly old fox that today I am chasing away demons and healing people, but on the third day, I shall have finished. It is not a good idea to kill a prophet from Jerusalem."
48. MULTIPLYING OF THE BREAD (ON 2 OCCASIONS)
The first occasion :
The Disciples of John the Baptist recovered the mutilated body of their master and buried him. Visibly the disciples were under the shock of this terrible drama. Very touched, Jesus took them into the mountains to give them a chance to regain their peace of mind in solitude.
But the news of the death of the Baptist had also shocked the people, and they came in crowds to Jesus to ask him him to give them comfort. They sat as one man to listen to words of the Master. They sang some Hebrew hymns and by the evening no one wanted to go home.
The sun began to disappear on the horizon when the worried disciples approached the Master. and said him:
- this place is desolate and the hour is already advanced, send back the crowd so that it can go into the surrounding villages to buy supplies.
- They don't need to go: give them to eat!
The apostles' puzzlement was expressed by Philip (cited by John), who said:
- two hundred deniers would not be sufficient for each to receive a piece of bread...
- Let them sit down, ordered Jesus.
As this place was very grassy, the disciples told the crowd sit down in rows of a hundred and fifty men; (at that time one didn't count women and children; they had no legal importance.)
Then Andrew - brother of Simon Peter said:
- There is here a young boy that has five loaves of barley and two fishes, but is that enough for so many?
Jesus pretended not to hear and asked that the food be brought to Him. He took the bread and gave thanks to the Father. Then the twelve disciples distributed the food, but the basket where the five loaves and the two fishes had been was bottomoless .....
Texts in the Gospels
The 4 evangelical testimonies
When everybody had
12 basket of remaining food...
There were 5.000 men
These are 4 reliable testimonies, considering these factors:
- These facts were written separately and many years after the death and resurrection of the Master, amid the terrifying conditions of persecution that dispersed the disciples to different countries.
- These events were remembered similarly, but in a different chronology.
It is therefore amazing to compare the facts and numbers in the writings by the four evangelists exiled each to a different region... This likeness confirms the two multiplications of the bread.
In spite of his griefover John, Jesus was moved with compassion towards this crowd. Having they had been fed, they respected his desire for solitude and returned home.
Testimonies to the second multiplication :
The texts: Matthew ch 15 and Mark ch 8. On a mountain close to the Sea of Galilee, Jesus called his disciples and showed them the crowd:
- They have been close to me for THREE DAYS and they have nothing to eat. If I send back now they will not have the strength to return home.
However there were this time 4.000 men (without counting women and children), for whom Jesus multiplied seven loaves and some fishes. However, after everybody had eaten, the disciples collected seven full baskets of food still remaining!
Can one imagine a crowd of 4000 men (or about TEN THOUSAND people if one counts the women and children), who followed Jesus patiently during three days and three nights because he lifted their spirits, healed the sick and spoke to them of a happier world to which they all would go?
The crowd accepted everything: sleeping under the beautiful stars, wandering far from civilisation, to sit and listen in silence to a man who comforted them and gave hope to each one, in their lives of servitude and uncertainty!
But the Master gave them his love, showing that he was capable of feeding them ALL with almost nothing: 5000 men and 4000 men with their families received manna and fishes as had their forebears during the crossing of the desert under Moses' flight from Egypt!
After seeing these miracles the crowd was amazed and wanted to make him THEIR KING; already they saw him as the Messiah of the Scriptures.
And no, Jesus had fed the people out of compassion for all the women and children who had followed him. Now, he was going to slip away from the crowd and find solitude.
And today ?
Nearly 2000 years after these miracles in Galilee the problem of the right to food for everyone is still an issue of immense importance. Certainly, we have developed our technology considerably, but too often, resources and profits are distributed badly. .. .
However it is precisely in the poorest countries that the population increases the most rapidly, and people die there more easily of illness, malnutrition and poverty...
Let's follow the statistics of the world population that has grown considerably during the last two centuries. The number of human beings on earth increased in the last 150 years from 800 million inhabitants to close to six billion!
For example in the years
Population of the Earth
Where will we find food for so many mouths?
Yet, as the need for food increases, we squander the natural resources of the Earth and in the seas; and we also pollute or destroy them.
It is an terrible problem: the growth of the population creates an enormous demand for factories and energy, which produce high quantities of carbon dioxides and radioactive waste harmful for the environment. This breaks the chain of nature's balance and destroys the atmospheric layers that protect us!
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