What was the way of Jesus with children?
Jesus received them.
You receive what is important to you. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, we were paid a visit by then candidate for President, Newt Gingrich, during a Wednesday evening fellowship meal. I enjoyed watching his security detail. They were in ultimate control, not Mr. Gingrich. That is until Mr. Gingrich saw somewhere he really wanted to be—then they lost all control. The place? The kitchen! Upon eyeing the kitchen for the first time, he immediately left those he was greeting to find a handful of hush puppies from the kitchen. You receive what is really important. The rules go away when something is really important to you.
The disciples might have been following the rules of their day that made small children insignificant, but Jesus changed the rules because the children were important.
Jesus affirmed their faith.
The disciples tried to hold the children away as an interruption, but Jesus held up the children as an example of faith. Jesus seems to be saying, “There is much to learn from the faith of a child.” Likely a child does not have all the answers to matters about God; they don’t even have all of the questions. I remember a conversation I had with a Seminary classmate years ago. After leading his eight-year-old to Christ, Butch told me, “I know he gave as much of himself as he could understand to give to as much as he could understand about Jesus.”
That kind of testimony is exactly why Jesus held the faith of children as an example.
Jesus blessed them.
Then, Jesus blessed them. To be honest with you—this is the part of the story that challenges me the most and that I find most intriguing. What does it mean that He blessed them? Well, for one thing, in the context of this scene, the blessing means that Jesus did more than He was asked to do. The adults (parents presumably) just wanted Jesus to touch their children. Jesus did much more. He took them in His arms, He laid His hands on them, and He blessed them.
Shouldn’t we be active in bringing children to Jesus?
Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com.