Tuesday Column: Dale Mail
Those who lived on earth while Christ was here in the flesh would have described Him differently, depending on their experiences with Him.
Many of the wealthy people would have called Him a “demanding person” (Matt. 19.22).
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and most Roman officials would have labeled Him a “trouble maker.”
All of the folks who were healed by Jesus would say that He was a powerful man, but I believe that a great many would say that He truly cared for children.
He calls the peacemakers “children of God” at the beginning of His first recorded sermon (Matt. 5.9). He heals a boy with a particularly vicious demon inside him (Matt. 17). But in the next two chapters He will show this love toward innocent children in a way that can touch the heart.
In chapter eighteen, the disciples of Jesus ask an ignorant question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
It’s after this question that Jesus places a child in front of them. This must have been a little confusing for the disciples, but a powerful point is made. Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
In chapter nineteen, Jesus is teaching on the subject of divorce. It’s a lesson that didn’t sit very well with His listeners then, and it still doesn’t sit well with many people today. At some point in His lesson, women begin to bring their infants to Jesus so that He can bless them. This was a tradition done by Jewish people but the disciples started to rebuke the parents because they thought this was a job below their great leader. Again, Jesus shows us His love for children by saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” He then goes on to lay His hands on them and then leaves. Did He have more to say to the crowd that had gathered to listen to Him? Was He finished with His lesson? Apparently this visual illustration was a great way for our Lord to end.
The point is, Jesus loves children. Not just little children, but adult children, too. He compares the innocent nature of children to how we can be in the sight of God once we are added to the kingdom. It’s a beautiful picture and something we should all crave. Innocence. When Jesus lays “His hands on us” when we follow the plan of salvation, He has the power to change our sinful ways into something pure and holy. Jesus loves the little children, and the big children, of the world.