Bible Lessons for the Little Ones

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
(Read John 3:1313And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (John 3:13); Matt. 5:1-13; 11:28-301And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:1‑13)
28Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28‑30)
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PERHAPS some of you, dear children, may wonder why we have read the first of our verses, as it is not in the place where we are reading just now. The reason is, that we may remember who He is who spoke those beautiful words about the people who are "blessed" which you read afterward from our own gospel. You know that the Lord Jesus spoke those words to His disciples, as He sat on a hill, and taught them. He spoke to them about heaven. Have you ever thought how it was that the Lord Jesus could speak about that place? It was because He had been there. You could tell me all about your own home, because you know no other place so well. As the verse you read from the Gospel of John tells us, the Lord Jesus "came down from heaven.”
You know why the blessed Son of God came all that long journey from. His bright borne on high down to this world, so dark and so spoiled by sin. It was because
“He had a secret, dear to Him,
Which no one else could tell—
The secret of His Father's love,
Which He knew, oh, so well!”
In order that He might, in His life and by His death, tell that wonderful secret in this sad world, He was quite willing to come and live and die here. It is wonderful to think that there should ever have been in this world where we live every day some one who did not belong to it as we do, though He was born here, and grew up in a poor home with other children. The Lord Jesus was always a Stranger here, for He had come from heaven, and so when He spoke of heaven He spoke of the place He knew best. While He was here, in a place where the men and women, and even the little children as soon as they were old enough to choose their own way, had gone quite away from God, the Lord Jesus learned how sorrowful a place the world is—how unlike heaven it is. It often makes you sad just for a moment, when you run along the road with your hoop, and pass close by a poor, pale child, whose limbs are so bent that he cannot walk. Just for a moment, when you notice that blind man at the crossing, with his good dog, who holds out a brass cup for a penny, you think how sad it must be never to see the beautiful light, and the trees, and the people; but those sad thoughts do not stay long.
It grieved the Lord Jesus in a way we cannot understand to see all the sadness which He saw day by day, for He knew that sin had done it all. In heaven there is no sadness, nor sighing, nor any pain or sickness; but here the Lord Jesus met sorrow at every turn, and He was called the Man of Sorrows; He was "acquainted with grief," for He knew it well.
But while He was teaching His disciples on the mountain, He spoke not so much of sorrow as of happiness. Nine times He said "blessed," and that word means happy. He told His disciples what it is to be really happy, and while He told them that the "meek" people, and the "merciful" people, and those who are "pure in heart" are "blessed," He spoke of a blessedness which He knew ' for the Lord Jesus was Himself just what He spoke of in those nine verses beginning with "blessed," which many of you know by heart.
Suppose you were to pick up a stick of hawthorn, and cut off all the prickles, and smooth away the knotty places—you might say, "Look, I have made this crooked old stick almost straight; what a nice stick it is!" But if anyone put a perfectly straight stick down beside yours, you would see at once that it was crooked after all. What would make your stick, with which you had taken such pains, so crooked? The straight stick which was put beside it? No, you must think again, and you will see that the straight stick did not make yours crooked, but only showed, by being so straight, how crooked your stick was.
So when we read these words of the Lord Jesus, when we hear that He calls those who are meek "blessed," we know at once that those words cannot mean us, for we are not meek. Only He could say, as He did say in those verses which we read last, "I am meek and lowly in heart.”
You may try to be meek and gentle, because you know it is right, but it is just because you are not meek that you try to be so. The Lord Jesus always was meek; He never did anything just to please Himself, or because He had a right to do it. He who made everything and had a right to everything, was content with the very poorest things, if it was the will of God His Father. It is true of all the "blessed" things of which the Lord spoke—He was all of them; we are none of them.
Now let me hear you each repeat that beautiful verse which so many of you know so well; that verse in which the One who had not where to lay His head in this world yet calls to all who are weary, and bids them, "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest." We read these words of our Lord only in this gospel.
You all know what it is to be tired—even play tires one at last; but there is a worse way of being tired, which you know a little about even now; a sort of tiredness which comes much oftener, and lasts a much longer time as people grow older. There are few children who have not known what it is to be restless and unhappy, tired of themselves and of their own way, even when they had thought no way could be half so pleasant. This way of being tired needs the rest which only the Lord Jesus can give. He saw a great many people restless and miserable without knowing why; but He knew that it is sin that makes all the sorrow, and there were none of all the tired, sorrowful people around Him that day, to whom He would not have given rest, if only they would have come to Him.
Next time we shall read of one who had a very great trouble—a sore sickness which no doctor could cure, but who was cured at once when he came to the Lord. Remember, dear children, Jesus still says, to every one of you, "Come unto Me.”
"COME unto Me, and rest,"
Jesus the Saviour cried;
Come, children, to His loving breast,
For none were there denied.