“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not enter the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.”
The disciples treated children like most people did in those days. They saw children as irritating interruptions. I imagine them saying something like, “Get away from the Teacher! He has much more important things to do than deal with your pestering.” But Jesus sees these and is indignant. He instructs the disciples to let the children come to him. He takes them in his arms and blesses them, laying his hands upon them. So God the Son welcomed little children – with their sticky fingers and never-ending questions and unfiltered comments about his beard.
Yet they trusted him. Kids don’t willingly go into the arms of someone they don’t trust. Jesus must have had a welcoming presence that showed his open invitation for them to come to Him. He uses this moment to provide a great teaching.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” What does that mean? I think it refers to a child-like trust in God. I don’t think it means that we adopt the perspective of a 3 year old and pretend we don’t know about the hard realities of life. I do think it means that even with all the questions, hardships and uncertainties about life, we still fall into the arms of loving God with trust.
God is our protector. He provides great wisdom. He has power over life and death. He has the ability to accomplish the supernatural. Yet we want to strike out on our own apart from His protection. We think we know better and don’t want to follow His wisdom. We think we have ultimate power over our lives so we live however we want. We forget that He has the power to overcome the impossible in our lives. Our pride prevents us from humbling ourselves to receive the kingdom like a child.
So Jesus reminds us that it’s okay to admit we don’t have everything under control. We don’t know it all. We don’t have power over life or death. We can’t accomplish the supernatural. We need help. God awaits our coming to Him like a little child. But He doesn’t have this stern “I told you so” look on His face. He is smiling with eyes full of compassion. He delights in holding His children and gently encouraging them with what they need. So with whatever you face today, bring it to your loving Heavenly Father who cherishes You as His child. He will love, protect and guide you.
“Thank you Father God for your protective love and wise guidance. Forgive us when we think we’re too smart or too independent to need You. Thank you for waiting, with open arms, for us to return to you.”