"About Children"-Matthew 19:13-15
This Week’s Core Practice Biblical Community – I fellowship with other Christians to accomplish God's purposes in my life, others' lives, and in the world.
Acts 2:44-47 All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
In God’s ideal creation, we were created for biblical community. We are not a gathering of individuals. We are collectively a “body” joined together. This is an essential part of life in Christ. This is what separates Biblical community from Pseudo community. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way: “Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 21).
The challenge for us as a church is to understand the true nature of biblical community and then enter into what God has for us as we do life together. Learning to surrender our individualism to experience what God has for us is a challenge and a sacrifice worth making.
Scripture: Matthew 19:13-15 13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
The Message of this Passage: John Piper commenting on these verse’s wrote, “ ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ ” this is a popular expression that can evidence any one of several different attitudes toward youngsters. Some repeat this phrase because they believe children are too simple to offer any meaningful contribution to our society. Others because of the expectation of children to be mini-adults — to stand still and quiet under any and all circumstances. The most numbing reason---Some adults, for whatever reason, have little to no tolerance to understand or to be around children.
None of these attitudes are modeled by Jesus. His behavior of love and acceptance towards the sometimes invisible, was not always well-understood among God’s people, In today’s passage, when several people, presumably parents, brought their children to Jesus for a blessing, the disciples attempt to turn them away (Matt. 19:13). We do not know why the Twelve forbade this inclusion, we can only surmise that they may have felt that the Master had better things to do than to spend his time with these little ones. Even though most of the Jewish culture prized children, the disciples’ attitude was representative toward young people as having a fairly insignificant role in first-century society. Still, parents commonly sought out respected rabbis to bless their children, and the disciples, knowing the custom, should not have been so quick to cast them aside.
Our Savior’s response indicates that children are anything but outsiders to the kingdom. He uses them as an object lesson, telling His followers the kingdom of heaven belongs to them (v. 14) and that salvation belongs to those who become like children. Christ is not teaching anything significant about an “age of accountability”; rather, He means that only those who possess childlike qualities, like absolute dependence and simple trust, can turn from their sin and rest upon Him alone (18:1–6; John 15:5; Gal. 2:15–16).
Jesus’ words admonish, even demand, that Christians treat children well. If Christ will not turn them away, how can we? Jesus has a way of elevating those who were made in His image. If this example and way of life is not followed, alienation can result for these little ones. The result will be felt in the community and the body of Christ. As a church we can hinder, unaware, through wrong attitudes, the little children. This can be seen if we steer them away from Jesus either through programs that separate them from corporate worship and the preached Word of God, or by assuming our children are believers and forgo taking the time to disciple them.
Why did the people bring their children to Jesus? Would you have? Why?
Why did the Disciples see the children as nuisances? Why do people forget and ignore children?
What can children teach you about faith? What can you teach them?
Can you explain the ways of God versus the ways of how you or the world would like to do things?
What did you forget about your childhood that can help you in your walk with Christ now? What can you learn from a child to help you in modeling humility?
Why did Jesus command the disciples to allow the children to come to Him? (19:14)
According to Jesus, what kind of people will possess the kingdom of heaven? (19:14)
What did Jesus do for the little children? (19:15)
What did Jesus do after He spent time with the children? (19:15)
What did Jesus mean by saying that "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these"?