Jesus and the Children
August 14, 2021
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." And He laid His hands on them and departed from there (Matthew 19:13-15).
In reading the various texts regarding Jesus and children, we find some curious omissions that cause concern among many church people today. Jesus makes no mention of personal faith in Him, salvation, or baptism. In all likelihood these children were too young to understand or experience these things. And it wasn’t the point of these encounters to begin with. Jesus simply revealed, by using children as an example, that His Kingdom can be entered by people who demonstrate the humility, dependency, and trust toward Him as Lord and Savior, just as a child demonstrates these characteristics toward his/her parents.
The question is often asked, “What about children who cannot demonstrate such characteristics toward Jesus?” The question is a very personal one with me because my brother Bill was born with Down Syndrome and never developed a mental acuity beyond that of a 5 year old. For those who have reached the ‘age of accountability’, when personal saving faith can be exercised, the Kingdom of Christ is entered by confession and repentance of sin, and personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ. For those who never come to an understanding of sin, the need for salvation, or can never exercise personal saving faith in Jesus, God grants them entrance into the Kingdom by His sovereign grace. When is the ‘age of accountability’? It cannot be stated in terms of years or months. It can only be stated in terms of one’s understanding of his/her responsibility and accountability before God. Ultimately, God determines that - we can’t.
If a child should die before he/she reaches that point of making a conscious decision to trust in Jesus, he/she is immediately ushered into the presence of Jesus Christ in heaven. They are under the special and gracious provision of God. Our Lord’s atoning death on the cross is applied to then on their behalf. Does this apply to the millions of aborted infants? Yes. Does this apply to the millions of starving and diseased children in countries where the Gospel has never gained a hearing? Yes. It applies to all children who have never come to an awareness of who Jesus is and what He has done for them on Calvary’s cross. How do we know this? Jesus laid His hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10:16).
“Jesus, what a gracious Lord You are that You would bless the children of the earth who are so mistreated and abused by those who should love and protect them. Thank You for demonstrating such compassion upon the innocent ones. May we demonstrate that same gracious, loving compassion upon them when they come to us. Change our hearts so that we will reach out to the children who need to know You as Lord and Savior. I pray this in Your name, Amen.”