Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Matthew 19:13-15


13 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, ``Let the children alone and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'' 15 After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.

The disciples seemed to feel that Jesus was too important to be bothered with little children. The term that Matthew uses refers to children in general of any age. Luke tells of this same incident that there were very little children among those brought to Jesus, nursing infants in fact, even babies. There was throughout the culture a low estimate of the importance of children. Jesus did not share that viewpoint. Jesus used the lowliness and unimportance of children to illustrate the humility that he requires of his followers. Everyone must be childlike in the sense that he understands himself to be needy, undeserving of the favor of God and man, and helpless apart from the grace of God.

NOTE: In my way of thinking children are possibly the most vivid and accurate illustration of what Jesus wants-they have nowhere else to turn. C.S. Lewis put it this way: "The gospel is not for the well-meaning, but for the desperate." The Lord made the same point in other ways when he accepted, to the amazement and absolute consternation of the Jewish religious authorities, the sick, the outcasts, Gentiles, and women.

When the blind men cry out for Jesus' attention near Jericho, later in 20:31, the crowd rebuked them for bothering the Master. Their attitude was the same as his disciples here. Jesus had better things to do, more important things, than attend to blind people, to outcasts. But Jesus' warm acceptance of all those who are in need, and now children, indicates this fundamental truth: that we do not qualify for Jesus' attention and help by some virtue or status that we have acquired. It is our need only that attracts Jesus to us. Jesus came as the great physician, looking for those who are sick and in need of Him. Whenever I think of this reference to Jesus my response is, "Over here, Jesus!"