Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. – Matthew 19:13-15
When I was in junior high school I learned that I was going to have second a little brother or sister. I was excited about the prospect. I would teach him how to play football. We could have all kinds of fun. Her name was Kathy. No football, but many great memories and lots of family fun. Another sister followed two years later. I loved my three sisters.
I have always cared for children. I love children. So I cannot imagine the disciples trying to prevent the people from bringing their children to Jesus for his blessing.
But Jesus is important. The disciples recognized that. They thought that children were an interruption. Jesus had more important things to tend to. So they thought. But they were wrong. Jesus’ more important thing was to point people to the rule and reign of God.
Somehow children possess the rule and reign of God. How does one own God’s reign and rule? How do you have something that possesses you? Isn’t that the essence of God’s reign and rule? He is over all. He reigns. He rules. He is in charge. Everyone answers to him. How do you own the One who owns everything?
It’s called the presumption of faith. In faith they presume upon your attention and care. They presume they have a place. They presume upon others’ love. They have no resources of their own.
Jesus’ lesson about children’s value and and their place in the kingdom of God points us to an attitude of humble faith. Children rely on God. They are completely vulnerable to any evil. They desperately need God’s protection and care. They are not aware of all this. They are simply the object of God’s loving mercy, fatherly love, and providential protection.
We should not push this too far. Suffice it to say, however, that children are important to God. Their wellbeing and connection to him through Jesus is more important than any other business on this earth.
Whether it’s teaching Sunday school, or telling Bible stories, saying bedtime prayers, or bringing them to Jesus through the waters of baptism, bringing them to Jesus is vital kingdom business.