“Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.” Matthew 19:13-15
The disciples despised the little children. Their immaturity was held against them and their lack of education and experience brought out disdain from the hearts of the disciples. These disciples regarded Jesus as much too important to waste time with children. They thought His teaching was only for sophisticated adult audiences who could appreciate what they were hearing. Praying for children was a waste of time and such a small concern to the Father in heaven, so they reasoned.
Jesus teaches them otherwise. The mothers and fathers thought otherwise too. They brought the little children to Jesus so that He would put His hands on them and bless them. What an enormous privilege. The Son of God lays His holy hands on you and prays to His Father in heaven for your blessing and salvation. Surely such a prayer is answered immediately! The disciples thought those blessings should be for other people – for them.
How wrong they were.
Jesus welcomes the children and tells all those waiting around that the kingdom of heaven is for anyone who’s mindset is like these small children. The kingdom of heaven is for those who simply believe. There is not list of doctrines you must agree to or a group of people you must bow to and elevate. To be in the kingdom is to have faith in Jesus and to be alive to Him.
We have lost sight of this today. Organisations put stumbling blocks in the way of people seeking a true relationship with God. Other people get in the way and deflect the love for Christ into something for themselves. We teach people to trust in the religious relationship and not to trust in the living God. God is not pleased and we need to see again the love of Christ for children in the kingdom. The child teaches the adults by their simplicity and willingness to be blessed by the Lord Jesus and they enjoy His presence with them.
When Jesus blessed the children He moved on. His bodily presence was no longer with the children, but His Spirit kept them and taught them how to live. Jesus left that place and went towards Jerusalem. He went to His cross to pay the penalty for these small children that He had blessed. The blessing cost Him His life, for He is their Saviour and ours. Let us never despise that blessing and may we be humble as He is, to minister and bless whoever He puts in our way.