“Let the children come … for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
This has become one of my favorite illustrations of this statement by Jesus. In Jesus’ day, children were essentially unimportant in society’s hierarchy of value. Although parents may love them deeply, children were given little attention. A child might even assume some of the family’s lowest tasks if there were no slave in the household to perform them. The gospels record that Jesus’ disciples felt that their Master was too important or too busy with the matters of the Kingdom of Heaven to be bothered with the simple needs of a child. When some mothers arrived to have Jesus bless their children, the disciples tried to send them away.
That is–until Jesus entered the discussion.
The Gospels make it clear that Jesus loved children. He elevated them in the religious discussion to make them a prime example of the Kingdom of God he was proclaiming. He told Nicodemus that he needed to become like them in order to gain access to the kingdom. He admonished everyone to put no barrier in the way of their finding faith. And he warned them severely that rather than be the reason for a child’s sin, we would all be better off dead.
Do you children? Do you value them and respect them? Do you learn from the simple faith they exhibit?