There are two images of Jesus that people many times have a hard time reconciling. What does Jesus lovingly sitting with the children (Mark 10:16) have in common with the Jesus that we find wielding a whip to drive out people and animals from the Temple? Those two images might seem contradictory, but really they are about the same thing: access to God. Before Jesus lovingly held the children, He angrily rebuked His disciples for standing in their way. And the system that was allowed to grow up in the Temple courts was standing in the way of God’s people being able to pray and worship Him. After Jesus drove out those who were abusing their position, the outcasts, the blind, and the lame were able to come in and worship.
Jesus cleared the room of bullies and made room for the outcasts. Jesus cared for the outcasts. He loved them. Love doesn’t just mean hugs and snuggles. It means protection. We can’t show love to others and not be willing to stand up and protect them in unfair situations. The actions we take might be less dramatic than making a whip and chasing people with it, but they can definitely make a difference. A kind word to someone who has been hurt, a firm rebuke to someone using cruel language, a vote cast to protect the innocent, or a hug around someone who has been excluded are all actions that show others God’s love. As followers of Christ, we have to show God’s love to victims of injustice and teach our children to do the same.
“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)
“You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth.” Psalm 76:9 (NLT)
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)
“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 (NLT)
READ: Jesus Cleanses the Temple – Matthew 21:12-17 and Mark 11:15-19.
This is the teacher devotional from the Elevate series Altitude Kids. To learn how you can teach these beatitudes lessons to the kids in your ministry, check out ElevateKidsNow.com.