“But Jesus called them to Him, saying ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God’” (Luke 18:16)
There are moments that cannot be described any other way than as just precious. Once a year at Hunter Street, the first graders are presented with Bibles during the worship service. As they walk across the stage to receive their Bibles from our pastor, it’s always interesting to watch the manner in which they go to get them. Some go briskly, some very seriously while others go meekly. On this particular year, after the presentation of their Bibles, the children were led out as the congregation sang Jesus Loves Me. This song is probably familiar to most of us. It may even be the first song you ever learned in church as a child. If you’re not familiar with it, the chorus goes, “Yes Jesus love me. Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so”. What great words to teach life altering lessons, not only to children, but to each of us.
“But Jesus called them to Him, saying ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God’” Jesus’ attitude towards children was unique and quite different from many religious leaders of His day. In many ancient cultures, until children were of an age to actively contribute to the family, they were seen as somewhat of a burden. The disciples seemed to even believe this as they rebuked those who tried to bring their children to Jesus for blessing. Jesus in turn rebuked them for keeping the children away. He saw children as a model of humility and trust, taking this occasion to make a point, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17).
Though Scripture teaches that all of us are brought forth in iniquity (Psalm 51:5) there was a certain innocence to this moment of when these children received their Bibles. They may not know all the theology that will serve them as they age, but they don’t possess all the clutter either. That is not to say that theology is unimportant. Correct theology is critical. It is only to say that children’s hearts and minds are wide open to God’s shaping. Is yours? God will reveal great things to those who approach Him like a child. A humble and teachable spirit is fertile ground for the Holy Spirit’s work. Let us approach Jesus like a child. The words of the song, Jesus Loves Me may be simple, but they are also powerful and true. No one loves you more than Jesus. And just as with the children, it’s the Bible that tells you so.
Father God, thank you for your Word and its expression of love for us. Thank you for the cross that saved us from our sins. Thank you for the empty tomb by which we are justified. As children grow, let them hold fast to what the Bible teaches. It will not be easy. Help all of us to hold fast to your Word. Keep us humble before you, trusting in all that you are.