Children’s Sabbath

Matthew 19:13-15

Jesus Blesses Little Children

Then little children were being brought to Jesus in order that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”  And Jesus laid his hands on them and went on His way.

Little children were brought by their parents because they could not bring themselves. Like all of our youngest saints who are brought to church here. Their parents really wanted Jesus to touch them and pray over them.

But you see what happened. The disciples, once again, were shocked by the parents’ total lack of decorum. As one of our younger saints said on Sunday when I asked about it, “they thought that Jesus was too important and had more important things to do than to be with kids.” Just so. They “spoke harshly” to the parents. They scolded them.

I wish I could say, “Tsk, tsk, isn’t that a dirty rotten shame? Bless their hearts, they don’t get it, do they?”

But do we? How often have we been the disciples in church, impatient with the little ones, glad they’re there but could they be a bit more quiet? Well. No. They’re not going to be. So the adults in the room get to be the adults, to model something good for the little ones. We have an opportunity to be Christ-like in our demeanor. I am grateful for the saints who helped Blake and me rear Wayde and Maddie in the church. I see that here, too, with other children. That witness lights my soul up.

The children are not a disturbance or an interruption for Jesus. So, he gives the disciples some of their own medicine. “What are you doing? Don’t stop them. Let them come to me so that I can pray for them. They look like My Father’s house.”

They look like My Father’s house, like heaven. What an extraordinary thing for Jesus to say because children were a commodity, an insurance policy for old age, especially if families were fortunate enough to have sons back then. He treated them for the people they were.

And so they came. Jesus laid hands on them, which means He prayed.

Then He went on His way.

What does this story say about people?

What does this story say about God?

Compare your answers to each of these two questions.

Holy God, only You are to be praised. We thank You for today, no matter what it’s brought. Whatever it’s brought, You are with us. Would You help us reflect on the times we have been impatient with children? You entrust them to our care, and so what would You have us teach them? Help us to be more like You with everyone. Because after all, that’s how we want others to be like with us. You love us unconditionally. Help us to love You more deeply. This prayer is made in the name of Jesus Christ, who was born as we were, a little baby. Amen.


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