October 16, 2021
Scripture: Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. Matthew 19:13-15 ESV
Observation: In chapter 19, Matthew has arranged Jesus’ interactions and teachings around three types of people who were misguided in their faith. In verses 1-12, the Pharisees (who trusted in their knowledge and observance of the law) sought to test Jesus about whether a certificate of divorce (as instituted by Moses as a concession) is lawful. Jesus responds by emphasizing the sanctity of marriage. Instituted by God during his creation event, marriage is a consecrated, intimate union between a man and a woman. Thus, the marriage covenant is a lifetime commitment except if one partner severs the bond through sexual immorality. Then comes the above passage, where his disciples are most concerned about staying on track with the mission and, hence, are annoyed by the distraction of parents bringing their small children to Jesus for a blessing. Lastly, in verses 16-30, we read about Jesus’ interaction with a rich young man who sought to justify his faith by his pious acts. But Jesus exposes the young man’s misplaced trust in his wealth.
Takeaway: The kingdom of heaven welcomes those who have childlike faith. While the pursuit of knowledge, missions work, and a pious lifestyle can deepen our faith, they can also become a distraction. If we emphasize these disciplines above our relationship with our Lord and Savior, they will trip us up in our swelling pride. They must only be our means to grow closer to our loving Father. Indeed, a trusting child desires nothing more than to know that they are beloved by the one who brought them into the world. And a childlike faith is marked by humility. Our little ones couldn’t care less whether they are equal in talent to us. Indeed, a trusting child adores and worships their parents.
Prayer: Father God, please help us submit to your Holy Spirit when he exposes our misplaced confidence in spiritual pursuits that would cause us to drift from you. Instead, please foster in us an unadulterated love for you that is marked by trust and humility. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling