Mat 19:13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him. Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the children come to Me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Mat 19:15 And He placed His hands on their heads and blessed them before He left.
What does it mean to be like a child?
Considering the climate of Jesus' time, being like a child would have been a terrible burden. The infant mortality rate at that time was very high with many children dying before ever reaching the age of 12. Often, in poorer countries, Gentile children would be abandoned if their parents felt they could not care for them. While children were loved, they were also completely powerless in this society and totally at the mercy of their parents or anyone else who would care for them.Considering these basic facts it is not surprising that parents were bringing their children to Jesus in hopes of receiving a blessing from Him.
The behavior of the disciples is also not surprising at this time. (see Mark 10:13-15) They are fully involved in the idea of Jesus as their Messiah; the One that was prophesied about. The One that would "set the captives free" and destroy the Roman rule. They were not interested in wasting Jesus' time with powerless children who had no political influence. There was a mission to accomplish and no time to waste. But their mission was not Jesus' mission; at least not at first.
Jesus takes this opportunity to not only bless these little ones, I see Him hugging them and praying over them, but He uses this moment to teach His disciples.
"...For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."
Back to our original question; what does it mean to be like a child? In the historical context it meant to be powerless. It meant to be weak and sickly. In the case of the children being brought to Jesus at this time it meant to come to HIM with nothing to offer. They had nothing. They needed His loving arms wrapped around them and they needed His blessing to help them to make it in a sinful hard world. Hallelujah!! Our loving Jesus gave them His love and His blessing with open arms.
We too can come to Him for a blessing. But we need to come emptied of self. Self wishes to glorify self. Self wishes to take credit for some part it played in receiving the blessing. Let's look at some of the things that self likes to say to itself...
"Well, I had to make the choice to come to him" Self is forgetting that it came powerless. This is why self came, because self would never have come if it had power.
Self try's to force it's way in and says,
"But I had to make the choice. If I hadn't made the choice then I wouldn't have come to Him and so I had to do something! I played my part!" Self is forgetting that Jesus is the One that created the opportunity for self to make that choice in the first place. Self is not fully thankful. Self is trying to find a way to take some of the credit. Self sure is selfish.
Self likes to deceive self,
"I come to you Jesus. I humbly prostrate myself in your presence. See how far down I am prostrated. See how deep my self abasement is." Self is now deceiving self by drawing attention to how humble self is. True humbleness never demonstrates itself for all to see. It does what the Master asks because it is the Master asking for it, not to gain recognition for itself. Humbleness is capable of taking God at His Word and doing what he asks. Humbleness believes in the Master and not in self.
How do we become selfless and humble, like a child?
The answer is...we must become powerless.
How do we become powerless?
Sometimes the only way we can become powerless is to have our power taken from us. If we truly want to be usable by God than we need to be powerless; so what should our prayer be? Lord, make me powerless. Lord, take from me anything that is more important in my life than You. Lord, help me to come to you with nothing so that everything I do comes from You and You alone. (see Matthew 18:3-10)
Make me powerless Lord. Help me to come to you with nothing, so that you can give me everything. Make my life one that shows only You; not in the way that I think it should look but in the way that You think it should look. You gave me everything that I have. You gave me grace and love when I was the chief of sinners. You gave me Your righteousness so that when God looks at me He sees Jesus and His righteousness. Now, I ask that you will use me. Take "me" out of the equation.
I praise You for who You are. You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are the Creator of EVERYTHING! You alone deserve praise and glory and honor. I love You. Amen.