What Does Jesus Think About Little Children?
The Little Children
by Pastor Mick Weltin
It is a blessing to have the IELC children, staff and families worshipping together this morning. Jesus loves the little children and it is a blessing to partner together with you in teaching your children. It is our mission at Inverness Presbyterian Church to “glorify God by making faithful and fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ.” It is our aim to equip you to love God, love one another, love our community and love the nations through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are here to serve you and your family and equip you to use your gifts to make a difference. Below is an exert from an article by R. Kent Hughes on What Jesus Thinks About Children to bless you today.
There are some important lessons from Jesus’ encounter with little children found in Matthew 19:13-15:
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Jesus’ Elevation of Children
First, Jesus loves children. Jesus, after all, had been a child himself. He was a real baby, child, teenager, and man. We see Christ's love for children as he celebrates the delight of a mother on giving birth (John 16:21), the gentle love of a father who cuddles his children (Luke 11:7), and parental love that listens to a child's every request (Matthew 7:9; Luke 11:11).
Many of his miracles involved children: the nobleman's little son (John 4:46-54), the demonized son of the man at the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:14-29), Jairus' daughter to whom Christ tenderly said, "Talitha cumi," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, rise" (Mark 5:41). Jesus truly, as man and God, love children!
So we learn from Jesus' indignation, first, that Jesus loves children, and, secondly, that Jesus affirms and respects the personhood and spirituality of children. In saying, "for to such belongs the kingdom of God," he affirms their full spirituality. They are the hearts he takes to himself! Christ affirms and proclaims the spiritual capacity of children.
How sobering, then, are Jesus' words, "do not hinder them." The Talmud says, "A child tells in the street what its father and mother say at home." What are children learning in our homes and in our churches?
Jesus’ Elevation of Children's Faith
Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (Mark 10:15). The word translated "not" is very strong. New Testament scholar William Lane comments: "The solemn pronouncement is directed at the disciples, but has pertinence for all men confronted by the gospel because it speaks of the condition for entrance into the Kingdom of God." No one will get into the Kingdom of God unless he or she receives God's salvation like a child—no one! How are we to understand and apply this?
For starters, coming as a "child" does not infer innocence. Any two-year-old dispels such a notion! Neither does "like a child" suggest the wondrous subjective states we often find in children such as trustfulness, receptivity, simplicity, or wonder, beautiful as these are.
What Jesus has in mind here is an objective state that every child who has ever lived, regardless of race, culture, or background, has experienced—helpless dependence.
Every single child in the world is absolutely, completely, totally, objectively, subjectively, existentially helpless! And so it is with every child who is born into the kingdom of God. Children of the kingdom enter it helpless, ones for whom everything must be done.
The realization that one is as helpless as a child naturally fosters humility. Jesus gave reference to this connection when, in a similar but separate statement, he said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4).
Do you desire to be held in Christ's arms, to hear him pronounce blessings over you? Eternity will reveal that is all we ever wanted, and our Spirit-given response is, "Dearest Father"–"Abba! Father!" (cf. Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
A section from What Jesus Thinks About Children, R. Kent Hughes, Pastor Emeritus at College Church, Wheaton, Illinois