We must aspire to child-like lowliness and humility if we want to be in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew Chapter 19, the Lord Jesus is teaching us about the nature of the kingdom, the character of the kingdom that He is preaching in, bringing in, and He focuses especially on three subjects, marriage, children and possessions.  Yesterday we read Jesus’ strong words about marriage and divorce and singleness.  Today we turn to an important incident in Jesus’ ministry regarding the blessing of children. .

As I read this Gospel, I find myself in the role of the apostle who is protective of Jesus. I can easily imagine a loyal supporter trying to insulate the Master from children, especially a crowd with infants.  “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them.  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. And after laying His hands on them, He departed from there.”

The story itself is straightforward.  Some parents have come to Jesus asking Him to bless their children, to pray for their children, requesting their infants to be taken in the arms of the Savior and blessed.  The disciples attempt to keep these parents from bringing their children to Jesus and Jesus responds, not by rebuking the parents, but by rebuking the disciples.  And His saying to the disciples in response to their attitude to these parents and children reveals two important truths that I want us to consider today.  The first one is this: in this passage Jesus uses this opportunity of parents bringing children to Him for blessing, He uses this opportunity to teach  His disciples the necessity of humility.  In fact, in this incident there is a great lesson for you and me.  And that lesson is: we must aspire to child-like lowliness if we want to be a part of Jesus’ kingdom.  We must aspire to child-like lowliness and humility if we want to be in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps it was the disciples concern that by praying for these children, by blessing these children, it would delay the Lord Jesus in His journey toward Jerusalem.  Perhaps they thought that this request was too similar to a current practice that was done by the people, whereby they took their children to the scribes and asked the scribes to bless their children.  And perhaps the disciples thought, “O well, you see they are equating the Lord Jesus with the scribes and that’s a bad thing, it sort of offends us, and so we’re going to keep them away.” Whatever the case is, Jesus’ response in verse 14 indicates that close to the heart of the lesson that He wanted to convey, was the lesson of humility.  And so, His very response indicates what the sin of the disciples was that He thought necessary to rebuke.  Jesus wants to make it clear again that the kingdom that He is setting up belongs to the humble.  Think how often He continually presses that truth home to the disciples.  Chapter 18 opened up with that declaration that the one who is great in the kingdom is humble.  And now, Jesus, speaking to His disciples who are beginning to grasp that He is the Messiah of Israel, the rightful king of all God’s people, but who also think that, “Well if He’s the king and He’s the Messiah, then we’re pretty important.  Which one of us is greatest in this kingdom?  And surely He would only be concerned with those who are great and important in the land.”

But the Lord Jesus stops to bless and to pray for these children and in so doing says to the disciples a word that indicates that they must adopt the posture of these children, humility and weakness, if they are going to be great in the kingdom.  Gospel humility is indispensable. That is one of the lessons that Jesus is pressing home to us today and we need to ask ourselves is that our posture towards Christ. Have we demonstrated that type of gospel humility, or do we feel like God owes us forgiveness, because that’s His business?  You see, if that’s our spirit, we don’t have the kind of gospel humility that Jesus is speaking of here.  Jesus is calling on us to recognize our spiritual poverty and humble ourselves before Him.

Do we have gospel humility?  Do we feel entitled to the grace of God?  Do we feel entitled to the blessings of God so that when things go wrong with our lives we shake our fists at God as if He has done us a personal wrong?  How dare He make our lives difficult!  Or, do we have gospel humility?  Recognizing that every good gift comes from the heavenly Father by His mercy and every difficulty is not as difficult as it ought to be because His grace is intervening.  Have we had gospel humility in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby we have recognized that we deserve to be damned?  We deserve to be cast off and condemned.  We are sinners!  And so we simply come to the Lord Jesus Christ with our empty hands and say, “Lord save me,  not only from my sins but from myself, not only from my evil deeds but from my good deeds, save me Lord because I have no claims on You.”

Let us look to Him again in prayer.

Our Lord we come to You this day in this hour asking for spiritual enlightenment that we might be hearers and doers of the word.  May we read, mark, learn and study this truth of Your word in such a way that our lives are transformed and that our understanding of Your kingdom is enhanced.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   


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