Read Matthew 18:1-5 (See also Luke 9:46-48)
Point 1 –Jesus values children.
The disciples came to Jesus with a question regarding greatness and authority in Jesus’ Kingdom. Thinking that Jesus was planning on setting up a physical kingdom on this earth, they wanted to know who would get the most important roles and the highest positions of influence. Jesus’ response was to invite a child into their midst (vs.2), challenge them to change their ways (vs.3), and take on the lowly position like a child (vs.4). In order for the disciples to be welcomed into God’s Kingdom, they needed to become more like that child.
During this time, children had no social status to boast about nor to measure themselves by. They had very little physical strength to oer and they couldn’t confound the wise with their wisdom. By nature, they were humble, needy, and totally reliant on others to live. They received from others what they could never gain by themselves.
Jesus was inviting His disciples then and invites us now to let go of ambition, striving, and the “comparison” game. When we simply receive the grace of God, becoming totally dependent like a child, we are free to experience the goodness and kindness of God.
It’s also amazing to see the ways that Jesus cared for, acknowledged, and provided for the children during His earthly ministry. He included the children when he fed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21), He took the children in his arms and blessed them (Mark 10:13-16), He healed them (John 4:46-52), and casted out demons from them (Mark 7:24-30). The more you look, the more you will notice the number of times that Jesus intentionally showed love and kindness to children.
- In what ways does a child express pure faith or dependence on others? How can we approach God with a similar heart of dependence?
- How can we love children in our lives like Jesus loved them in the New Testament?
- Was there ever a need you had as a child that you wished an adult would have noticed and cared for? How did this impact you?