Finding Security and Comfort
People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:15–17)
–Bible Knowledge Commentary
I love the receptivity of Jesus–none are too young to be brought to the lap of our Savior! When I read this passage, I am reminded of the words of Moses in Deuteronomy:
Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders. (Deuteronomy 33:12)
One gracious touch from Jesus will make us joyful and whole as He graciously opens His arms and bids us to come and rest between His shoulders. I am reminded of the apostles after Jesus’ death. Filled with the Holy Spirit, people were clamoring to be even in their shadows …how much more so the lap of our Lord Jesus!
The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed. (Acts 5:12–16)
It is no strange thing to meet with discouragement and hindrance. However, when we seek the Master we find security and comfort. In our verses for today, the disciples were rebuking those who were bringing their babies to Jesus. Interestingly, many of those Jesus interacted with were shunned by the disciples. He wanted his disciples to understand that the little children were as welcome as anybody. How precious of Him to be so encouraging to those bringing these young ones. I think his behavior serves as a mandate for us as parents to disciple and bring up our children in the way of the Lord.
In Proverbs we read:
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
The word “train” used in Proverbs 22 is the Hebrew word hanak meaning “to teach, dedicate, consecrate, and inaugurate” (Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible Old Testament Lexical Aids). It is used only five times in the Old Testament. The four other times refer to dedicating something to God. The point is very clear; we are to be dedicating our children to the Lord. I do not mean just in a church dedication service, but in a day-by-day dedication to training them in the way of the Lord. We do such a great job in training them in all sorts of extracurricular activities yet often drop the ball regarding their training in way of the Lord. We are to commit the raising of our children to the Lord so that our plans will succeed.
The word “succeed” in Proverbs 16 means “to be firm, be established, be steadfast, be faithful, be sure, be reliable, be fixed, be certain; to be ready, be prepared; to be determined; signifies the deep satisfaction and sense of well-being which comes from the certainty that one’s heart steadfastly trusts in the Lord, who directs man’s paths” (Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible Old Testament Lexical Aids). I certainly want that said of my children and grandchildren! This is something that is in line with God’s will and that we should certainly put forth our efforts both in prayer and in work to attain. It will not just happen–raising children in the way of the Lord requires a disciplined process, an intentional plan of teaching God’s way through living. Our life experiences are great classrooms for passing on God’s truth through our application of it.
Jesus tells us that we must receive the kingdom of God as a little child if we desire entrance into it. What does that look like? It is faith that totally trusts in God and His love for us, even though we may see only dimly the movement of His hand. It is approaching God with humility and sincerity; with expectation and excitement.
Take It to Heart
Each one of us must come to Jesus as a child, realizing that we are not sufficient in and of ourselves, but are dependent upon the One who loves us and gave Himself up for us.