God’s Word is filled with stories of Christ’s transforming love for the “least of these.” Especially in Mark’s gospel, where children are placed on center stage.
In one story, a man named Jarius comes to Jesus (Mark 5:21-23; 35-42). His daughter is dying. Jarius is both respected and influential, but he is helpless to resolve this family crisis. Distraught, this father pushes his way through a large crowd until he finds Jesus — and wastes no time asking for help.
“Jesus, my little daughter is dying … please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” While he is talking, a messenger arrives with some very bad news. The daughter is dead!
Nonetheless, Jesus instructs the father to take him to the girl. When Jesus enters the room, he takes her lifeless body by the hand, and says, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” Immediately, she gets up and walks. Everyone is completely astounded.
Another story of a man with a demon-possessed son, in Mark 9:17-27, should touch the heart of every person. A father, beside himself and desperate for help, brings his son to Jesus. He tells Jesus that when the demon possesses the child, it won’t let him talk, throws him into a convulsion, and slams him to the ground. The boy foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and sometimes the evil spirit will even throw him into a fire.
As soon as Jesus turns his attention to the boy, the evil spirit immediately acts out, throwing the boy to the ground in convulsions. Jesus rebukes the demon saying, “You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” The evil spirit, shrieks for the last time, convulses the body of its victim, and leaves the boy. There is no doubt, that because of Jesus, both the child and the father were completely transformed!
The children’s stories in Mark are surprisingly contemporary and filled with hope! Even as our news swirls with tragedy in the lives of innocent children, God’s Word brings powerful testimonies that children are never just sobering statistics.
Children are real people who matter to Jesus … and they can have their lives transformed in life-altering ways. This is why we do what we do at ChildHope! Following the example of Jesus, we want to be part of the glorious, life-saving solution in the lives of hurting children. Thank you for standing with us.
By Doug Peterson
Dr. Doug Petersen was president of ChildHope from 1978 to 2000. He and his wife, Myrna, served as missionaries in Belize and Costa Rica. Today he serves as the Smith Distinguished Professor of World Mission and Intercultural Studies at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California.
[From the September 2018 issue of ChildHope’s Compañeros publication.]