Jesus really enjoyed children. In fact, He expected us to learn from children and act more like them. He also expected us to protect them.
The Most Mistreated Group of People. Children endure hardships no person should. Children are expected to know things they have no way of knowing and they are expected to learn in ways that they cannot learn.
Reality Check. We call ourselves civilized, yet horrible things continue to exist. Human trafficking, rape culture, and pornography of any kind have no place in a “civilized” society. We consider ourselves enlightened, meanwhile these horrific abuses go unhindered.
Matthew 19:13-15 (NLT) One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him.
14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And He placed His hands on their heads and blessed them before He left.
Children are Annoying, And Jesus Enjoyed Them.
Children Don’t Understand the World. The nuances of the world they live in are lost on them. They’ll run out the front door into a foot of snow with no shoes or a coat. They couldn’t care less if some famous or powerful person stands in your living room. They have to go poop, and they want pizza… for every meal.
They Start Having Fun at the Worst Times. I know girls giggle, but we only had boys. Did you know that boys also giggle? A lot! It’s hilarious when their voice starts changing. Have a few pre to early teen boys over. Then just wait. The giggling starts. The voice cracks. It sounds like some kind of Sasquatch/Pixie party in your basement.
What’s My Point? This stuff is wonderful. It’s the sign of life and growth. Sure it’s annoying, but I’m glad I didn’t miss out on it. I’m glad we had 8 children. Sure it’s hard, but it’s also wonderful. To see the world through the eyes and experiences of a child is awesome.
It is the same in the Kingdom. To see the kingdom of Christ through the eyes and experiences of a “child” in the faith is also wonderful. When we are childlike, it is beautiful. It is FUN! We have confidence in our Father to care for us. We know that He will clean up our messes. That he will clean us up. I love childlike faith.
Matthew 18:6 (NLT) But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in Me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Children are Vulnerable, And Jesus Protected Them
They are Just Trying to Survive. That means they are trying not to die. When you encounter an adult screaming at a child, that child is literally afraid for his or her life. I’m not joking. It’s real.
Back in the 70’s when children played outside, every now and then a child would burst through the screen (less) door. You knew that child had almost killed themselves or one of their siblings. “Umm, hmm, Jimmy don’t look so good. We think probably we got his arm reattached, but ah.. you might wanna come look?”
They Need Support. They need play, to be held, to belong, acceptance, and freedom from trouble. This is why being a parent requires creativity and support.
Isn’t that Just How the Father Cares for His Children? This is a tough text. The Father has no patience for those who put his children at risk. We need to learn here how dangerous sin really is. We need to learn how important it is that we teach our children to follow God, His word, and His commands. Their eternity is at stake. We aren’t teaching fairy tales or religious preference, nor are you in your homes. You are teaching the true history of the world and of God. We teach our children to know God, not just obey Him.
Matthew 18:3-5 (NLT) Then He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf is welcoming me.
Children are Quickly Fascinated, and Jesus Loved That
Capture Their Imagination. A Child can see much farther than you can. Our youngest son will come upstairs dressed as some superhero. Then the sound effects begin. This may be unique to boys. He loves sound effects. In his mind, he is destroying evil, saving the innocent, and championing right.
Give Them a Vision for a New Kingdom. One without death, pain, or abuse. I don’t know how this world is going to shake everything out in the short term. But the idea that all believers can do is endure until the great rescue mission arrives is inadequate for children of God. The Family business is bringing peace, abundance, healing, and joy. That’s the family that Jesus died to bring us into.
Isaiah 11:6 (NLT) In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.
Jesus Loves the Little Children. This message hasn’t really been about raising children. It is intended to teach us to BE children. Become like a child. Allow Heaven to capture your imagination. Reach for the dreams of God. Rest in the blessing of Jesus and remember that when we struggle, “a child shall lead them.”.