They brought little children to Jesus that he might touch them. But the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw that they were doing he was vexed and said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and don't try to stop them for of such is the Kingdom of God. This is the truth I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it." And he took them up in the crook of his arm and blessed them and laid his hands upon them."
I would like you to put both feet on the floor, both hands in your lap, and close your eyes. Listen to the sound of my voice and try to see a picture in your minds eye as I tell you a story. Picture yourself on a picnic…See the grass and the trees around you… Feel yourself swinging high in the sky…Smell the food cooking on the grill. Can you taste the snacks you are eating while waiting for the food to cook. Now open your eyes. Were you able imagine it…to feel it.
Now I would like you to do the same thing with a different story. Picture Jesus on a hillside with many people…See Jesus sitting on the ground talking to the people…What does his voice sound like? See the mothers coming with their children? How many children are there? How old are they? Are they quiet or noisy? Are they boys or girls or both?
Now hear the men yelling at the children to go away…How do the children look now? Are they frightened?
Now hear Jesus saying, “Let the children come to me; do not stop them; because the kingdom belongs to such as these?” Now see Jesus take all the children in his arms, hug them, and bless them. How do the children look now? How do the men, the disciples look now? Now open your eyes. Were you able to put yourself in the story?
It was natural that Jewish mothers should wish their children to be blessed by a great and distinguished Rabbi. They especially brought their children to such a person on their first birthday. It was in this way that they brought the children to Jesus on this day.
We will fully understand the beauty of this passage only if we remember when it happened. Jesus was on the way to the Cross-and he knew it. Its cruel shadow can never have been far from his mind. It was at such a time that he had time for the children. Even with such a tension in his mind as that, he had time to take them in his arms and he had the heart to smile into their faces and maybe to play with them awhile.
This tells us a great deal about Jesus. It tells us that he was the kind of person who cared for children and for whom children cared. He must have smiled easily and laughed joyously. This little, precious incident throws a flood of light on the human kind of person Jesus was.
"Of such," said Jesus "is the Kingdom of God." What is it about the child that Jesus liked and valued so much?
(i) There is the child's humility. They have not yet learned to discover the importance of themselves.
(ii) There is the child's obedience. True, a child is sometimes disobedient, but, they have yet to learn the pride and the false independence which separate a man from his fellow-men and from God.
(iii) There is the child's trust. That is seen in two things.
(a) It is seen in the child's acceptance of authority. .
(b) It is seen in the child's confidence in other people.
(iv) The child has a short memory. They have not yet learned to bear grudges and nourish bitterness. Even when they are unjustly treated.
Indeed, of such is the Kingdom of God.
Remember that you are important to Jesus, you are important to your church. Get involved. Take part in meetings and bible studies. Be a part of the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.