Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
By the time Matthew recounts this story, Jesus was deep into His mission announcing the “kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Religious leaders, the common people, His own disciples, scribes, and lawyers probed and prodded around the edges, deep into the core of who He was and the nature of this kingdom he was proclaiming.
All the important people demanded to know, “Who are you? What is this kingdom? Who will get in? How to get in?” But for some, maybe the most important question was, “Who will be the greatest in Your kingdom?”
The brief incident recorded in the passage quoted above finds Jesus in the heavy discussion about divorce. He was surrounded by religious leaders and many of His own followers. They not only challenged His teachings against their traditions but also against ingrained cultural norms about marriage and divorce. It was a highly charged topic among a highly emotional crowd.
In the middle of this deep and tense topic and circumstance, some people brought children to see Jesus. The disciples appear indignant at the impropriety and inappropriate intrusion of children in this moment. Not so for the Master, however. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
The brilliance Jesus demonstrates in this moment of disagreement and discord with traditional thinking, is seen by its unexpectedness. Jesus breaks the cycle of the adult’s preoccupation in untangling “Gordian knots”. To Jesus, little children represent exactly that… the opportunity to start fresh and break the cycle of traditions and corruptions. To end teachings of men that weave into unimaginably tight and untangle-able knots.
Just prior to this event, Matthew recorded another encounter in the previous chapter (Matthew 18). In this instance, we read of a discussion of the kingdom and the connections to children. First, “unless you become like one of these little ones you will by no means enter the kingdom”. Second, a warning to anyone who would cause one of these little ones to stumble. Third, a “take heed” warning not to despise (count of no value) one of these little ones. Lastly, Jesus describes the value of each little child and His Fathers will, that not one of these little ones would be lost.
With all that is going on in the world today and all the things that divide us: Chaos, confusion, corruption, virtual signaling, outcries for social justice, and attempts to untangle the Gordian knots our society has tied up, there are thousands of “little children” who are not yet messed up. They represent our best opportunity to “break the cycle”.
There are so many ways, things, and people that “hinder” little children from coming to know Jesus. First, as God’s people and Jesus’ disciples, we not only need to be very careful that we are not among those “hindering”. Rather, we must be mindful and understand the value Jesus places on children (do not despise). We must understand the Father’s will, that not one should be lost. This means to not hinder, but also to find ways to help, open doors and facilitate bringing children to Jesus and to know the Father.
We live in a fatherless nation. It is a great and often the first injustice a newborn child faces when he/she is born into a fatherless home or into no home/family at all. The statistics and stories speak for themselves.
For the past sixteen years, we’ve seen thousands of people remove financial barriers (hindrances), to help over 350 families open doors and set a place at the table so that 408 children can come and see Jesus.
“Let the little children come to Me.” Adoption into a Christian home is one of best, most effective ways to help a fatherless child get there.
Remember, “It is not the will of YOUR Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish”. If God cares about it, we better care about it too. Don’t hinder. Find a way.