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What Does Jesus Say About Children?

2011 November 18
by Kent

ChristwithChildren_CarlBloch“Why do you speak to the people in parables?” the disciples asked Jesus (Matthew 13:10).

Jesus used parables, a valuable teaching tool, to teach about redemption (Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32), forgiving others (unmerciful servant, Matt. 18:21-35, among others), being ready for His return (the brides maids, Matt. 25:1-13, among others), and many other things concerning the kingdom of God. It is interesting to note that He taught the most about Hell; and that in parables. You would think that something that important would be made clear to everyone. But Jesus wasn’t trying to be clear to everyone. Quoting Isaiah 6:9 He told the disciples, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand’” (Luke 8:10).

But there was one subject about which our Lord taught where He never once used parables: The value He place on children.

Thinking it improper to bother the master, the disciples tried to prevent people from bringing their children to Jesus. In fairness to our beleaguered apostles, children did not have a high standing in those times (neither did women, yet Jesus included them as some of His most devoted followers).

This brought a rebuke from Jesus. “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:37a).

Jesus follows with a warning, and it is unmistakable.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble [to sin], it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

The only other time Jesus used such a stern, clear warning was when He let Judas know that as far as the one who betrays Him is concerned, it would be better if that man had never been born (Matt. 26:24).

Children are important to Jesus. He wanted there to be no mistake. This is significant when we consider what type of people to whom this was addressed. He would speak clearly to the disciples in private; all but one of whom was saved. He spoke in public using many parables: to those with ears to hear He taught what the kingdom of Heaven was like and what one must do to be saved; to those without ears to hear, like the Pharisees, He was speaking judgment.

In the above passage Jesus was not speaking to the saved; He was warning the unsaved about a line they should be wary of crossing and the language is very clear.

Children are special to Jesus, and they should be special to us as His followers. He warns the unsaved about how much worse the consequences can be; but He also warns the saved not to look down on them because their angels always see the face of God (Matt. 18:10).

How much more does it please our Savior when we give even “a cold cup of water to these little ones” (Matt. 10:42), teach Sunday school, volunteer for an after school program, or take one or more of them into our homes while their families work things out?

He promises we will not lose our reward.

Photo: “Christ with Children” by Carl Bloch

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