|Posted on January 16, 2019 at 11:20 AM|
Children have always had a special place in my heart. Whether it is the weekly blessings on the kids at the Church in the Woods, a baby dedication, or just watching them develop in their own natural settings I sense a deep compassion for all kids. As the song declares, “red and yellow black and white they are precious in his sight” I love kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors with what I think is the same kind of love Jesus must have had for them.
The gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke all give an account of Jesus interacting with the children of his day. Although brief, each account emphasizes the attitude of Jesus toward the children in contrast to that of his disciples. Matthew and Mark tell us the incident happened while Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem out of Galilee just as he was entering Judea. They all three record a rapid succession of opposition from the religious leaders and questions from his disciples. The context of these accounts suggests Jesus was ministering the truth intensely to both friends and foes and seems to indicate that he was so busy with adult issues that the needs of the children were of little importance.
All three writers tell us that infants and little children were brought to Jesus in the middle of his teaching and answering questions from the religious leaders of the day. His disciples naturally thought of this as being disruptive in the least and, perhaps, even somewhat rude to their master. Accordingly, they rebuked the parents or relatives of those children who were wanting a blessing from Jesus. But what naturally seemed important and needed to protect Jesus from the distraction of children actually displeased Jesus greatly according to Mark’s account. In other words, it was not the request from the parents to bless the kids that Jesus saw as the disruption, but rather his disciples rebuking them for asking. What Jesus saw as important and what his disciples viewed as important were again two different things.
So, Jesus took the babies up in his arms and blessed them. Then he told his disciples to allow the kids to come unto him and stated, “for of such is the kingdom of God”. By this he meant to use these children coming to him for a blessing as an object lesson concerning the kingdom of God. He explained that only those who adopted a childlike attitude of faith in Jesus doing for them what they could not do for themselves will enter the kingdom of God. Those who are too self-absorbed or self-sufficient to recognize their need for him and his blessing cannot enter the kingdom.
The fact that all three gospel writers (Matthew 19: 13-15; Mark 10: 13-16; and Luke 18: 15-17) record this event is proof that it was not some incidental occurrence, but an important event that conveyed a message that was equally as important. Beyond showing his love and compassion for the innocent kids and their families, this event tells us of the kind of faith God requires from each of his children. The kind of trust a child has sitting in the lap of Jesus surrounded by his loving arms is the kind of faith we are to have. We don’t have to try to earn his love and blessings by our childish performance and puny efforts, but simply receive his love and blessings with our own child-like faith. Let’s climb into the lap of Jesus and receive all his love and blessings!