But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."Matthew 19:14(NASB)
How important it is for parents to bring their children and little ones to know the Lord in person and talk with Him in prayer. How needful to train up a child in the wonderful truth of the Word of God, and show them the path to peace and wisdom, for when they are old they will not depart from it.
How precious are the trusting hearts of little children, and how much we can learn from their innocent example, of the need to develop a total trust in God, and show pure delight in the Lord Jesus Christ, for this blesses the heart of God and honours His holy name.
It was the custom in Jewish circles, to bring infants and little children to a rabbi or elder, and have him pronounce a blessing on their offspring. In this passage, some children were brought to the Lord Jesus by their parents, so that He would put His hands on them and pray for them and bless them. But the short-sighted disciples rebuked these parents for bothering the Lord. However, this angered Jesus greatly, and we read that He said, "Leave the children alone, and don’t try to stop them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of little ones like these."
It is interesting that this lovely verse, in which Jesus blesses the little children who are brought to Him by their parents, comes immediately after an important discourse on the honourable institution of marriage, which God Himself ordained in the beginning. Jesus also spoke about the tragedy of divorce, which started among the Jews during the times of Moses, "because of the hardness of men's hearts."
The disciples understood from Christ's teaching, that marriage was a sacred act between a man and a woman, which should not be entered into hastily, heedlessly, or unadvisedly. Marriage should be undertaken reverently, seriously, and in the fear of the Lord. We should consider marriage as a binding union and unbreakable pledge before the Lord, where two lives are so knit together in love, that they become united as one, such that the fruitful fulfilment of their hallowed union is the heritage and gift of children.
"Be fruitful and multiply," was the command given to Adam, and throughout the Word of God, we find parents bringing their children to the Lord. The Bible exhorts parents to instruct their children in the things of God, to train them in the way they should go and to teach them the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give them the wisdom that leads to salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Lord Jesus never swept aside these little ones that were brought to Him for His blessing. Rather, He stretched out His hands of love and blessing to them, knowing their innocent little hearts reflected back the deep love He had for them... a godly love that the Lord Jesus has reserved for all His own. Jesus knew that while the Jews would bay for His blood, it would be the children in the temple that would cry, "Hosanna to the Son of David."
The disciples would have roughly pushed these little ones aside for more worthy personages, but Jesus welcomed them all with open arms and great rejoicing, knowing their trusting hearts were ever open towards Him. These disciples had to learn that it would be better for them to have a millstone put around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea, than to offend one of these little ones who believe in Jesus. They had to learn that whosoever will, may come. They also had to learn to honour all people, both young and old, male and female, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, those of noble birth and those who were born in humble conditions.
Today, Christ's arms of welcome are wide open to whosoever will, but all too often, adult pride and developed falsity keep us far from His tender embrace. But it is those with poverty of spirit, humility of heart, and a childlike faith in Him, that can approach His throne of grace, with a simplicity that is so precious to our Lord.
Let us in the power of His Holy Spirit, seek to develop that childlike disposition that is birthed from simple trust in His faithful Word, for both here on earth and in His eternal kingdom, the life that reflects the Lord Jesus is the child of God that gives glory to the Father.
Loving Father, how I long to be more child-like in my attitude, with the sort of faith that trusts You like a child, and whose heart is ever open towards You. Teach me, Lord, to live in purity of heart and gentleness of spirit, so that Jesus may be reflected through me, to those with whom I come in contact today. This I ask in His name and for His glory, AMEN.