Thursday, March 23, 2023

Faith & Children


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Many young people plan careers to do with children as teachers or similar. Well, to Jesus, children were important, first in what they were and secondly in what they represented.


Talking about children, let me give you my favourite illustration of what faith is. I often stand a few steps down the stairs at home, and my youngest granddaughter stands at the top of the stairs. I open my arms, and she jumps into my arms. She knows nothing about the laws of gravity or about the dynamics of bone breakage, but she still jumps. Faith is like that; it doesn’t know everything that can be known, but, as a child, it trusts in its object of trust. In this case, that’s me! In the same way, to be a person of faith in Christ, one has to be childlike but, of course, not childish. 


The most mature people were urged by Jesus, the Son of God, to be childlike. There are two particular child-related reported incidents in His life when His disciples did not end up looking good. Each of these incidents is recorded by the gospel writers Matthew, Mark and Luke, but each from his own particular perspective. 


In the first reported incident, the disciples came to Jesus, and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said to his disciples, truly except you be converted [turn right around – do a U-turn], and become as little children, you shall not even enter into the kingdom of heaven. Then He went on to say that whoever is prepared to humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The picture presented by this necessary conversion is that of turning round in a road and facing the other way. 


In the second incident, some little children were brought to Jesus in order that he should put his hands on them, and pray, seeking a blessing for them; however, the disciples scolded the children and tried to send them away. But Jesus told them to allow the little children to come to Him, and not to stop them coming to me because He said ‘of such is the kingdom of heaven’, and as requested, He laid his hands on them. 


In the parallels given in the gospels, we have some interesting personal touches in telling us what Jesus did and how He felt:


·      ‘Jesus was much displeased’

·      ‘Jesus called the children to him' and 

·      ‘Jesus took them up in his arms’ 


The sort of people who make up God’s kingdom are childlike and trusting. Child-like faith in Christ as your Saviour gets you into the kingdom of heaven, and child-like behaviour thereafter, i.e., humility and selfless service, gives you true spiritual importance. 


Never underestimate the importance of children; Jesus didn’t.  

Written for FTMP by a Guest Blogger


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