Little Children

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Matthew 19:13-15

There are times when the disciples are quite insightful, when they really “get it”, and then there are times when they really seem to miss the point entirely, and this is one of those latter cases. I suppose that we should be hesitant to be too critical of them, since I’m sure that each of us is probably guilty of missing the point often enough.

In this brief scene, Jesus is out among the people, and they bring some little children to Him for Him to pray over, and the disciples rebuked them. Maybe they thought that Jesus was too busy at the time to deal with a bunch of little ones, Matthew doesn’t say, but whatever their reason, it would appear that they have missed what Jesus was telling them in 18:5…

And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Jesus insisted that the little ones be allowed to come to Him, and once again mentions that we must be as little children, the powerless, vulnerable and often exploited by this world, to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Yes, it would be accurate to say that little children are a metaphor for the “citizens” of His Kingdom. I have already commented on this in my post on 18:1-5, “The Greatest in the Kingdom” so I won’t repeat the whole thing again now, instead, let’s once again take a step backward to look at the whole picture.

We are still in that section of Matthew in which Jesus is educating the disciples, where they are the ones in the scene that He is primarily concerned with. Also, in this part of that section, He is teaching them the stark difference between His teaching of the Kingdom, and the traditional teachings of the Jewish leadership, so isn’t it interesting that this should happen, and isn’t it significant that Matthew has included it here?

I can’t prove this, and I can’t pass it on to you as an established fact, but I can tell you that my guess is that Matthew passed this little episode on to us because this is when they began to understand His teaching about little children; certainly, it was for the disciples’ education that these events took place when they did.

In the next scene, Jesus has a chat with a rich young man; see you then!


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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13 Responses to Little Children

  1. mldepuy says:

    God used your post this morning to confirm a direction. I had just finished meditating on this passage when I opened my email and saw your blog. Thanks for being faithful to His call to write. He is using these posts for His purposes.

  2. Tom says:

    Praise God the Gospel is so simple even a child can understand it!

  3. It is always interesting how Jesus preached through parables. Not only did it fulfill prophecy but it was so simple a child could understand and grasp it, but difficult enough that scholars could wrestle with it their entire careers. Jesus taught his disciples in a way that continually revealed their heart and motivation. Thanks for sharing Don. Great stuff. Looking forward to the Rich Young Ruler.

  4. shellysom91 says:

    As a volunteer primary school scripture teacher, I have seen the positive impact God has on children. They are so excited to hear about Him, and it saddens me when atheists and the like try to make it something horrible and prevent children from hearing the Good News. It is so wonderful, though, to know that Jesus has all the little ones under His wing, just as He has all of us. God bless.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Truly said; little children can be quite amazing, inspirational in fact, and God often does amazing things through them. Maybe that is why some want to keep the Good News away from them, but I guess that’s a subject for another day 🙂

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