TEXT: Matthew 19:13-15
13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 139 messages in this series.
This is message #140 titled, Bringing Our Children to Jesus (Part 2)
We began looking at this passage on last week by focusing on the action of the parents in these verses. The parents showed their immense respect for Jesus by bringing their children to Him. They brought their young children to Him desiring that He would pray for them and bless them. Through their example, parents are encouraged to not only pray for their children, but to introduce them to the things of God at a young age.
Not only does this passage serve as an encouragement for parents, but we also see a rebuke for Christians in general and an example for the church. While the parents are bringing their children to Jesus, we are told that “the disciples rebuked them.” “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” The parallel passage in Mark tells us that Jesus “was much displeased” when he saw what was happening. And Luke adds that after the disciples sent some of the children away, Jesus “called them” back.
Why is it that the disciples thought Jesus should not be bothered with little children? Some have speculated that the disciples thought Jesus needed to rest after a long day of ministry. Others have said they simply thought Jesus did not have time to be bothered with little children. They thought they knew better what Jesus needed to spend His time doing. Whatever their intentions, their actions were wrong; Jesus was “displeased” and He rebuked them and said, “let the children come to me.”
Some in the church are guilty of preventing others from coming to Christ. Sometimes we write people off because we think that due to their lifestyle, they are too far gone to be reached by Christ’s life-transforming power. We fail to embrace and believe Jesus’ words that “with God all things are possible.” Some Christians have been guilty of placing stumbling blocks before those who would believe. We give them a list of rules that they must adhere to instead of introducing them to the power of God unleashed in their life. Instead of paving the way to salvation, we raise obstacles in the path.
Perhaps, one of the greatest obstacles raised by the modern church has been the implementation of the idea that children and young people ought to be separated from the main service on Sunday. Each week, thousands of families go to church to split up — sending the children off to Sunday School or to youth group as the parents attend the main service — as if the (hopefully) Biblical message preached during the main service is too difficult for children to understand. That shouldn’t be the case. We see in the Gospels that when Jesus taught, men, women, and children were in the audience.
Probably stemming from the tide of young people who are drifting away from the institutional church, there has been a backlash against how the modern church has done “youth ministry.” Many have been forced to ask if “youth ministry” is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Andrew Root, a professor at Luther Seminary, said that this division produces “young people [who] are no longer disciples, and full participants in the church community. Rather, they become a distinct species called ‘Christian youth.’ And when the ‘youthful’ part of the label no longer fits, then neither might the ‘Christian.'”
We have to consider today if “youth ministry”, while well-intentioned, is just getting in the way of children coming to Christ.
Jesus gladly made time to answer the questions of religious leaders — the theologians and scholars of His day. He spoke to people from all walks of life — rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. He healed the sick, fed thousands of hungry people, and taught multitudes throughout the course of His ministry. But, we see in this passage that He not only made time for children, but He desired for children to come to Him. He relished having children around Him. Children were not a burden to Him, but a blessing, and He wanted the disciples and others to know that. He talked to them, held them, prayed for them, and blessed them. To Him, they are just as important to the Kingdom of God as adults are. In fact, Jesus often told adults that they must become as children — filled with simple belief and trust — in order to be saved.
Our passage states that Jesus “laid his hands on the [children], and departed thence.” In other words, Jesus did not leave that place until He had laid hands on all the children who were brought to Him. Jesus did not regard ministering to children as a part of His outreach that was less important. To the contrary, Jesus knew that, one day, these children could very well grow up to be the ones who carried forward the work of the Kingdom of God, so He attended to the task of praying for them and laying hands on them with sincerity and gravity.
Adam Clarke notes that, among the Jews, the laying on of hands was a symbol of showing something to be consecrated to God. He said, “The person [was] considered as the sacred property of God after [having hands laid on them]. Often God added a testimony of his approbation, by communicating some extraordinary influence of the Holy Spirit. This rite has been long practised among Christians, when persons are appointed to any sacred office. But this consecration of children to God seems to have grown out of use. It is no wonder that the great mass of children are so wicked, when so few are put under the care of Christ by humble, praying, believing parents. Let every parent that fears God bring up his children in that fear. Whatever is solemnly consecrated to God abides under his protection and blessing.”
In a day and time when children are not as valued as they used to be, Christians are called to imitate Christ. The church is called to adopt the spirit of Christ. As I mentioned last week, children are indeed our future. They are the future of the church and the future of society. How they are molded and shaped today will impact how they live their lives and lead others tomorrow. Let’s not make the mistake that the disciples made by hindering children from coming to Jesus Christ. Let’s pray for and with our children and make it our business to present them to Christ.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.