Jesus explained that little children have the kind of faith and trust needed to enter God’s kingdom. They came to Jesus in humility and received his blessing as a gift. They had no authority or rights, but they came to him in trust and love. Jesus spoke often of little children, let’s look at what He says in context of this story…..
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
It important to understand that in these ancient times, Jewish households were strongly patriarchal. Adult men were the key members of society, women were very secondary and children were to be seen and not heard. It was customary for people to bring their children to a rabbi for a blessing. The disciples here obviously thought that children were unworthy of Jesus’ time. When they blessed or prayed for someone, it was a common custom among the Jews to lay their hands on the heads.
I would point out that small children are too young to be conscious of sin. They are powerless both physically and socially, teachable, mild, and free from prejudice and obstinacy. I believe that Christ loves little children because of their simplicity and innocence and because their attitude is what is needed to approach God……an attitude of humility. If you remember when we studied Matthew 18:2-4, Jesus tells us what quality little children have that we should have…..humbleness. We need childlike attitudes to trust God. These children came to Jesus with humility and received His blessing as a gift. While Jewish people respected humility, I don’t believe that anyone expected the kingdom to come by becoming powerless children. The disciples, as well as others, expected a powerful political force.
Jesus explained that little children have the kind of faith and trust needed to enter God’s kingdom. Anyone of any age who exhibits such faith and trust is promised access to Jesus and to the kingdom. The kingdom of God is God’s universal, dynamic rule over his people, and children represent the essence of discipleship. They came to Jesus in humility and received his blessing as a gift. They had no authority or rights, but they came to him in trust and love.
Complete intellectual understanding is not one of their requirements. Jesus said that people should believe in him with this kind of childlike faith. We should not have to understand all the mysteries of the universe; it should be enough to know that God loves us and has provided forgiveness for our sin. This doesn’t mean that we should be childish, immature, selfish, or spoiled, but that we should receive the kingdom with a child’s simplicity and trust. Unless we can completely trust in God, we will never enter the kingdom. (1)
Today’s CLUE: Jesus explained that little children have the kind of faith and trust needed to enter God’s kingdom. They came to Jesus in humility and received his blessing as a gift. They had no authority or rights, but they came to him in trust and love.
What do you think?
RonLawHouston commented: This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Children are humble without even knowing what humility is. To me, these passages ultimately talk about letting go of all the constructs we’ve created over the years. It is about approaching God with the simplicity and wonder of a child. Do we really need to be taught if we just trust and love?
Lane0129 Commented:Exactly…I believe we are born with all the knowledge, and during the most impressionable years, we (society) teach that faith, and knowledge right out of the youth.
I have a question for you. I have a Christian friend who has admited to living a life of sin. At first, I felt I could not judge them for this and therefore just let them know that I would be there to help them through this struggle. Since then I have thought about it much and I have read as much as I can, and while reading Matthew 18, I have felt compelled, if not convicted to rebuke them (with a forgiving heart). But, if they don’t repent. Am I not, in fact, obligated to bring another brother to rebuke them again? Ultimately, shutting them out if they refuse to repent. How exactly do I do this with out judging or convicting them?
Ron, This is one of my favorite passages also
Lane0129: I would point out that we all live a life of sin, whether we admit it or not. I would also ask what it is that your friend is doing. I have always seen Matthew 18 as instruction concerning church discipline. You didn’t exactly say that this person has sinned against you (stolen something from you, etc.). If they have not sinned against me, then I would be hard pressed to expect someone to repent to me. All in all, you have not offered enough information. I would suggest maybe just talking to your friend (rebuke is rather an ancient word that is often taken wrongly).
Lane0129 Commented;That is a fair assesment of my question. My friend has not sinned against me at all, and I do understand that we all live a life of sin; in fact, that is precisely why I originally felt that I could not judge him…as my life, all though different, is equally as flawed. So that being said…The actual sin is not important to define–let’s leave it at not following thru on a covenant taking with another in front of God. My confusion comes when I try to figure out where I come in. On one hand, I feel that this is between my friend and God. Yet, on the other hand, I feel that God has been equiping me to handle such situations / conflicts, and that this is a matter of faith…
I am sure this doesn’t make much sense, and as I write this my finger is on the delete button. Any input would be appreciated. Even if it is not what I want to hear. Thanks!
lane0129: So much depends upon the nature of the sin…not to God…all sin is bad….but to man……if I knew that someone was murdering or sexually abusing someone then it would make a difference as to what I would do as opposed to say someone living together in a sexual relationship out of wedlock or making illegal copies of CD’s. In the former cases, I could not at all be a party to even the knowledge of this sin and do nothing about it. In the latter cases, I can continue in friendship and while not condoning the choices, be friends. In the latter cases, as well as the former, we all must suffer the consequences of our sin. In the latter, it may only be that eventual marriage is a struggle and living together out of wedlock is not accepted/ condoned by one’s friends. “Rebuking” or “speaking in love”, in these situations means that, especially because we are friends with someone, we are able to tell them how we feel, not necessarily “push” this on them, but when the opportunity arises, we are able to share the truth in love. This also means that if they choose to continue in what they are doing, it is their business and thet God will deal with them.
Again though, not knowing what the particular situation is and it’s implications upon the lives of others, it’s hard to give a definitive answer.
An older. woman in our Community Group swears quite often (however, she does not use the Lord’s name in vain). I consider this sinful. I have talked about it and shared Scripture on many occasions. I have had opportunities to point out lovingly (almost jokingly…read…lovingly), that her words are offensive to others. We have discussed it as a community group. Would I “throw her out” of our gathering? No. Do I condone her actions? no, and she knows it. Do I condemn her? no, and she knows it. Have I passed judgement on her? no, and she knows it. Does she suffer the consequences of her sin? yes, and sometimes she doesn’t realize it (it may be hard getting jobs, may not get invited to certain functions, and stuff like that because of the rough exterior). We are all at different palces in our walk. Will she be one day “convicted” of her sin and repent to God? I hope so. If she does not, might she answer to God? I believe so. By the way…….we all have the same problems…whether it be jealously, covetness, straying eyes (especially for us men), little “white” lies, following the laws of the road, thinking only of ourselves….and on and on…..and we will all answer to God…….and the price for our sin has been paid in full……[read….Jesus].
If this were someone who were abusing their family, or children…….a whole new story emerges…..
RonLawHouston commented: I don’t know if I’m fortunate or cursed to have known quite well some pedophiles and murderers. One of the lessons that these people taught me is that I’m really not all that different than them. Since I appreciate that I’m really no different than these people, I don’t “rebuke” them. As a matter of fact, I don’t even talk about their “sin.” I really figure that they have to work out their own salvation with “fear and tembling.”
Since you know I’m not a Biblical literalist, I don’t take the passages calling on us to rebuke others as any more or less authoritative than the passages that say “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Perhaps its the relativist bent in me. I just feel that it’s not my place to call out someones speck. I know that I often fail to see all the planks in me.
I REPLIED: Ron, we should never confuse “speaking the truth in love” with admonishment or judgementalism.
RonLawHouston commented:Hey Jan –
A very thought stimulating response. I suppose it’s different whether the person knows their “sins” or not. I think a lot of people are very aware of their sin. To me, speaking about it often just keeps the cycle of guilt going on. I think Christ is about transcending the sin. Christ allows you to let go of the guilt cycle. It is about knowing that God accepts us, sin and all.
So, I often don’t speak the truth in love. If someone wants to talk about their truth, I’m happy to listen. There is a very, very fine line between speaking the truth in love and lecturing. A lot of times I want to speak my truth, when all I’m really doing is “telling” you what I think you should hear.
I agree that Christ is, and was, all about transcending sin…..in fact, he was all about transcending sin by “turning from” it. Was that because someone “broke the rules”? In my reading of Scripture, it was because of the effect that sin has on the person and others around him/her. Christ/God doesn’t condemn others……we condemn ourselves. Christ/God only offers the wisdom and the power to turn from those shacking attitudes/actions. Jesus/God has provided the keys to the kingdom……the wisdom (as a father and mother do for their children) of what ultimately hurts us and others, and how to find fulfillment in life. It is our choice (just as it is our children’s choice) to listen or not.
I would also agree that many people are very aware of their sin. That is why, when we are close to someone, we can sometimes help by speaking the truth in love. Ultimately, if they continue to embrace the sin…they suffer the penalty or consequences of their actions. If they are able to stop the sin…they are freed from something that has been bonding them and affecting their life in a negative manner. We should always speak out of love, not condemnation.