“Look deep into my heart, God, …. lead me in the way that time has proven true” (Psa. 139:23,24 CEV).
Read MATTHEW 19:13–15
The Little Children and Jesus
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRecall your first conscious encounter with Christ; give thanks for those who introduced him to you.
Matthew’s narrative moves quite naturally from a discussion about marriage to the matter of children. It was not uncommon in Jesus’ day for people to bring their children to a recognized holy man to receive his blessing. Why, then, were Jesus’ disciples so reluctant to let the little children come to him (v 13)? We can only speculate, but the fact that beforehand they made no attempt to prevent the Pharisees coming to Jesus (v 3), and later on will do nothing to deter the approach of a rich man (v 16), suggests that they judged the children as unworthy of Christ’s attention because they were powerless and insignificant. How might we effectively ‘close off’ Christ to people as a result of blind adherence to the prevailing values and attitudes of our own societies?
Jesus’ welcoming of the children is a wake-up call to his disciples. The kingdom of heaven operates according to a completely different value system from that which has governed their lives thus far; and they now need to live out kingdom principles. To this end, they need look no further than the children before them. Jesus not only has time for them, but also holds them up as a model of the attitude required to receive his rule and so enter into true discipleship (v 14).
What is it about children that makes them a model of those to whom God’s kingdom belongs? Is there any area of life in which you need to become more childlike?
Generous, merciful God, you have shown mercy toward me and call me to be merciful toward others. Help me do it.
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