Children are the purest, most innocent people I know. Every day they rediscover the world with a freshness and exuberance that many adults seem to have lost. For kids, everything is exciting — from discovering a new bug on the front porch to just walking through the woods on a “discovery expedition.” Children report what they see with an honesty and candor that often makes adults laugh (and sometimes blush)! No wonder Jesus said, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it (Luke 18:17).”
I find it fascinating that the Bible says parents brought their children to Jesus. Moms and dads brought their children to Him so that He could touch and pray for them (Luke 18:15). It was a young boy who brought loaves and fishes to Jesus (John 6:9). Jairus, a man of great stature, earnestly begged the Savior to visit his little girl, who was deathly ill (Mark 5:23). And make no mistake — the ancient world had its share of evil men who could easily hurt children. Still, parents saw the value of introducing their children to Jesus.
Amazingly, children were also able to recognize Jesus. Kids are often placed in grown-up situations where they do not understand everything that is happening, but they were certainly present while He was busy teaching the adults around Him (Matthew 18:1-2). Evidently, these children understood much of what was being said! After He had cast the money changers out of the temple, children began to praise Him: “Hosanna to the Son of David (Matt. 21:15)!” The priests and scribes were angered at what the children were saying, but Jesus responded with a startling quotation of Psalm 8:2: “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise!” How ironic that these little ones could see what some of the most learned men in Israel could not!
Jesus was evidently concerned that even children understood His teaching. How simple and plain was the preaching of Jesus? Read His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) sometime and count the number of words that exceed two or three syllables. He used simple words and illustrations to communicate deep and profound spiritual truths to people. And evidently, even the youngest of His listeners got the point! Today’s young children even sing a song about the wise man who built his house upon the rock (Matt. 7:24-27).
Our society devalues kids and treats them as nuisances to be avoided instead of resources to be cherished. As Christians, let’s make sure that we are viewing children the way Jesus did.
Jesus thought children were important enough to teach. How much better would American homes and families be if parents would discuss spiritual things with their kids? Children are honest and intelligent, and they can recognize Jesus when they see Him. Let’s be sure He’s seen living in us. And may we all become as innocent as little children, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
— John Baker