Gods heart for children
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.”
When we study the scriptures, especially the words of Jesus in the New Testament, we discover that God has a special space in his heart just for children. Though culture can sometimes devalue children, and adults may perceive children as a nuisance at times, God holds a different perspective.
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Jesus makes this bold statement to Philip in the gospel of John “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. Extraordinary, when we read about Jesus in the scriptures we see and hear what God is really like, who He truly is. Since the beginning of time mankind has sort to know and understand who God is, but we can know who He is by studying who Jesus is, wow!
Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to children! Children are welcome in God’s Kingdom. God invites ALL children into heaven via the same route, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus has strong words to say to people who mistreat and oppress children. His heart burns for the protection and safety of every child when he says:
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
When we do a careful study of what Jesus has to say about children it becomes clear that in a predominantly adult-focused, success driven society, we have missed what truly matters; the health, wellbeing, and eternal destiny of our children. In our striving for success, in striving for influence, in striving to be someone or somebody, God is asking “What about the children I have entrusted to you?”.
Is it possible that like the disciples who stopped children coming into God’s presence, that we have unwittingly done the same thing? Or even worse, that our focus on other things has become a stumbling block to our children having a relationship with God and an eternal destiny in the Kingdom of God?
Jesus even uses a child to bring a lesson of faith to adults. He addresses adult prejudice by honouring children and teaching adults about the kingdom of God. How wonderful is our Saviour! This ignites my heart with the fire of joy every time I read it:
Mathew 18: 1-5
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
In answering the disciples question of “Who is the greatest in God’s Kingdom?” Jesus replies; become like a child, humble, trusting and faith-filled. Amazing! He then encourages us to welcome, value and honour children in our interaction with them. When we do this we are welcoming Jesus!
I have laboured the point to illustrate how valuable children are in the eyes of the Father, and the great responsibility he has laid upon us to serve and honour our children. Jesus wants children to enter into God’s presence, he wants children to know the Father, he wants children to worship God, he wants children to prosper and be healthy spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and socially. For children to experience this health and wholeness first and foremost they need to have a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.
As parents our primary responsibility is our relationship with Jesus Christ. As we seek His presence through worship, prayer and reading the scriptures, our relationship with the living God will spill out and overflow into our homes. First and fore-most our kids are watching us to see what real faith looks like, and evaluating our faith to see if it is something they want for themselves.
As parents we also need to know the message of the gospel, so that when the time is right, we can lead our children in a prayer of salvation. What a privilege it is to lead our children into the loving arms of a Father who will never, ever let them down. Leading my daughter Rachelle in a prayer of salvation where her faith became real to her, remains one of the highlights of my life.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
If we preserve and protect a vibrant faith with Jesus Christ and live out the gospel in our homes with our family members, our children will come to know Christ personally and will never turn back. Let’s persevere as our children’s eternity depends on it.