Picture the scene…. Jesus is doing what he did best, sharing God’s love. He is surrounded by crowds of people all anxious for a word of teaching, a touch of reassurance, a moment of healing. Suddenly a group of parents pushes through the crowd. They have brought their children to Jesus for a blessing. The disciples are outraged! Can’t these parents see that Jesus is busy? Don’t they realize that there is important ministry to be done? Luke tells us that these followers of Jesus scolded the parents. I wonder what they said?
- Why are you disrupting the service?
- Take your children to the back.
- You are disrupting the Holy Spirit from moving.
- Bring the children back when they are older.
- Can’t you have your kids shut up?
The disciples saw the children as a bother. They tried their best to push them and their parents away, so that Jesus could get on with the important ministry. But Jesus saw things differently. He called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”
Jesus had a heart for children and their families and showed it by his words and his actions. Jesus saw the children as a blessing. Jesus saw them as important.
So the question I want to ask today is this: does your faith community see children as a blessing or a bother? How is this reflected by your actions and attitudes?
For you see every one of the comments I listed above are things that have been said in our churches to parents. You can find them in the comments following this post. They were all spoken by those who call themselves followers of Jesus. Now I do not believe that the individuals who made these comments are bad people. I think they are like the disciples. They feel that the church liturgy and ministry of teaching is really important and that people should not be distracted from that. But that is not what Jesus taught is it? And the truth is that we are not called to emulate the disciples. We who call ourselves Christians are called to follow Jesus’ teaching. This means that we are to welcome the children into our midst as a blessing. And if that means our worship is disrupted and we can’t always hear the sermon, so be it. Because Jesus commanded it.
One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so He could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering Him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:15-17