READ MATTHEW 18:1-6
Jesus was the oldest child in His family, so He often had to look after His younger siblings. I imagine He looked much like a little shepherd, tending His sheep. He played with them, told them stories, sang songs with them, rocked them to sleep and made sure they stayed clear of danger. Now He was leading a whole flock of troubled sheep with His words of hope.
As the crowds grew with each passing day, Jesus had to retreat to the mountainside or the middle of a lake to preach to them. His voice was powerful enough to reach every ear, but He was becoming physically weary from the days of traveling and speaking. As he sat for one quiet moment, a crowd of young children came running to Him. His disciples, being concerned for their master, tried to shoo them off, but Jesus wouldn’t have it.
He treasured each of those children and babies as if they were His own. He scolded His disciples for sending them away, saying, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, if anyone does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, he will never enter it.
It surprised them to hear these words. How could anyone go to heaven without knowledge of the scriptures? How could one of these little ones enter heaven? Don’t you need a theological degree to make it? Don’t you have to lead a perfect life? How can that happen when you’re so young?
Jesus was talking about the faith of those children. This is something we often lose as we grow older. Sometimes the more we know, the less we know. We study scripture only to interpret it to fit our needs. We are deceived and tested by the devil through the very Word which saves us. We think we know more than God – that we can outwit Him or achieve our salvation with our good deeds alone. A child has a pure, accepting faith in the things we teach them. There is no questioning whatsoever. Well, maybe when they turn two.
When you think about it, the Word of God was inspired by the Holy Spirit and is directed to the whole world – including the little ones we/re entrusted with. The Spirit will work in their little hearts and become a strong foundation for their lives.
When we begin to think we know it all, let’s look at the example Jesus shows in His love for the faith of children. Our faith should be just like that –
Trusting without question –
Believing in the One who has purchased our salvation, because God does not lie –
Not motivated by a need to feel on the same level or superior to man or God –
Having complete dependence on our Triune God who has our life already planned.
Our faith will be nurtured and will grow through His Word.
Next time you hear a child crying in church or making loud noises, remember the lesson Jesus gave us about little ones. They are precious to Him. They need Him. They love Him with complete faith. Let’s make it a goal to be more like them.