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Aug 9 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Fifty-five – Matthew 19:13-15

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. After laying His hands on them, He departed from there. Matthew 19:14-15

This story perfectly fits the context of the previous chapter and could have been included in it. But what is so sad about it coming here is that the disciples did not absorb the lessons they had just heard and, instead, acted in total contradiction to them. This is the danger of merely learning information, whether Bible verses, beliefs, or doctrines. We can do a lot of thinking about principles and propositions, yet fail to see the opportunity to act on them even when it is right in front of our eyes.

Children are easy to dismiss–they are small, weak, and limited in knowledge and influence. In the first century Mediterranean world, they held the lowest rank. Only once were they brought to Jesus for his blessing–a request the disciples treated as odd and inappropriate.

Jesus turned culture upside down. The kingdom of God belonged to the smallest and most vulnerable members of society. In God’s kingdom, children are not dismissed.

The kingdom of heaven does not belong to preachers or priests–although they act like it. The kingdom does not belong to theologians or biblical scholars–although they talk as if it were exclusively theirs. The kingdom belongs to children and the childlike (Mt. 18:3). Adult¬†authorities on the kingdom cannot keep others out. Like the disciples, their actions will be overridden and the King will admit whomever he wishes.

Jesus was asked to “lay His hands” on the children and pray for them. Matthew does not say that Jesus prayed for them, but only that he laid his hands on them. Sometimes a touch is all it takes to impart a blessing. God really does not need that much from us. Perhaps that is one reason why his kingdom belongs to children.

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