‘Then the people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.
But the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.’
Matthew 19: 13-15
As a mum, I feel a large portion of my time is spent packing and unpacking bags anytime we leave the house. Snacks, toys, hats, clothing… you get it. I can only imagine the efforts these New Testament parents would have gone through to bring their children to Jesus. Likely packing bags with food etc, walking long distances sometimes on dangerous roads, carrying complaining children as they walked (I’m not sure of the pram situation back then) and braving big crowds while keeping little ones safe and close.
My bag packing efforts don’t seem so heroic when I consider their labours. These parents desperately sought the mercy of Jesus for their little children and were willing to sacrifice to make that happen. They even endured the rebuke of Jesus’ main followers in their attempt to bring their children before Jesus. What an example of desperate yearning for the redemption of their children. God’s yearning for his children’s eternal life drove him to sacrifice his own son. What should a yearning like this look like in our own lives? Do we have a reckless desire to see the redemption of our children? What are we willing to let this cost us?
When Jesus greeted the children who were brought before him, he welcomed them openly, he testified to their eternal value, prayed for them, and legitimatised their place in his kingdom. This is the same Jesus that we bring our children before today. As we face heartache, obstacles, weariness, rebellious hearts, spiritual disinterest, and apathy in our child raising journeys, Matthew 19 shows us that Jesus loves to hear and answer the prayers of desperate parents. Parents who understand that their children have needs beyond their human ability to meet. Needs only met by Jesus. Whether you are raising children of your own or supporting those who are let us have a desperate desire to bring our children to the feet of Jesus even when it’s costly. What matters more than bringing them into the open arms of Jesus?