The Scriptorium

Kingdom Folk

We need to be like children. Matthew 19.13-15

Matthew 19: Kingdom Counsel (3)

Pray Psalm 28.1, 2.
To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You aIre silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

Sing Psalm 28.1, 2.
(Angel’s Story: O Jesus, I Have Promised)
I cry to You, our Savior, O, be not deaf to me!
Lord, speak to me with favor, lest I should dying be.
Hear now my supplications when for Your help I cry.
Receive these, my oblations, before Your throne on high.

Read Matthew 19.1-15; meditate on verses 13-15.

1. How did the disciples respond to those who were bringing children to Jesus?

2. How did Jesus respond?

This is the second time in as many chapters (18, 19) that Jesus has used children to illustrate the kind of people who inhabit the Kingdom of God. In chapter 18, He pointed out the humility of a child, and said that Kingdom greatness depended on nurturing such a humble and self-effacing way of life (Matt. 18.1-5).

In this passage, people were bringing children to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray (v. 13). They had seen the power of Jesus’ touch, and they gathered that He was very close to God. They sought for the children whatever blessing might flow to them by His touching and praying for them. Bringing people to Jesus is always a good thing to do.

The disciples – undoubtedly meaning well, and wishing to guard Jesus from unnecessary interruptions – rebuked those who were bringing the children. Didn’t Jesus have enough to do already, without these parents and friends foisting their children on Him?

Jesus did not rebuke them; instead, He merely instructed them to “let the little children come” to Him (v. 14). We must not forbid any who want to come to Jesus, no matter how inconvenient we may consider their coming. The Kingdom of heaven belongs to those who come to Jesus, and to those who are brought to Jesus by those who love them. The children came expectantly, obediently, and humbly. They submitted to Jesus’ touch (v. 15), and thus became qualified as proper citizens of the Kingdom of God.

What can we learn here? First, we must come to Jesus as often as we may, to be renewed and revived in His grace. Second, we must receive His Word and carry it out to our full potential. Third, we must take every opportunity to bring others to Jesus, telling them of His grace and offering through Him the gift of eternal life. Those who come to Jesus to receive His grace are the kind of folk who inhabit His Kingdom.

1. What’s involved in bringing someone to Jesus? What does Jesus offer them?

2. What can hinder us from bringing others to Jesus? How can we overcome such hindrances?

3. What does it mean for us to be like children in the Lord’s Kingdom?

Why did the disciples keep the children back? Not because of the children’s wickedness but because it was not the right time. They did not want the Lord to be tired by the great crowd. To them he said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Epiphanius the Latin (late 5th, early 6th century), Interpretation of the Gospels 25

Let me be like a child today, Lord, as I seek Your Kingdom and…

Pray Psalm 28.3-9.
Seek the Lord’s cleansing, strength, and Presence to help you in seeking His Kingdom and righteousness today.

Sing Psalm 28.3-9.
Psalm 28.3-9 (Angel’s Story: O Jesus, I Have Promised)
Lord, count me not among those who walk in sinful ways.
With words of peace their tongue glows while evil fills their days.
Your works they disregard, Lord, while evil fills their hands.
Destroy them by Your Word, Lord, and let them no more stand.

Blessed be the Name of Jesus, for He will hear our prayer.
His strength protects and shields us with mercy and with care.
In You our heart rejoices; You help us by Your Word.
To You we raise our voices to praise and thank You, Lord.

Our strength are You, O Savior, our strong defense and sure.
Anointed with Your favor, we rest in You secure.
Save us, and bless us, Jesus, upon us turn Your face.
With shepherd’s care, Lord, keep us forever in Your grace.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore