In Jesus’ day, receiving a blessing by a rabbi was a big deal. It was customary for rabbis to impart a blessing, a barakah, on children—and that sometimes included a prophetic message about the child’s future. No wonder these parents flocked to Jesus. Receiving his blessing would be a great gift—and he might even speak of the child’s future. Would he reveal who might become a rabbi? Or a leader of the people? Or who would enjoy the blessing of long life? The disciples saw these parents crowding around Jesus, and they weren’t too happy. After all, Jesus was way too busy to take time for children! But Jesus didn’t want his kingdom fenced in like a private club. As the disciples tried to block the parents and children from him, Jesus called the children toward him with open arms. The Master wanted them near, and he gave them the greatest blessing of all, saying, “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” The disciples needed to learn that, rather than being self-imposed gatekeepers of the kingdom, they were to invite people freely, recognizing that all who come to the Lord with the trusting dependency of a child may receive God’s abundant blessings. We must come to Jesus in childlike faith and we must help our children do the same. Jesus considered children important enough to give them His time and individual blessing. He wants us to learn from children what it means to believe in Him. He wants us to lead children to faith in Him.
Questions for further thought:
1. Have you ever felt that the Lord might not welcome you? How can this passage be of help to you?
2. How can a person with intellectual questions develop childlike faith in Christ? Should he put his brain in neutral?
Challenge: I pray that if you have never done so, you will come in simple faith to Jesus as your Savior. I pray that many of you will commit yourselves to the important task of leading children to Christ. You will be doing a work that our Savior Himself counted important.
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