Jesus loves all children
“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
Lee comes early each week and stands outside until the doors are open for CCDC. Lately, because of the hot temperatures, I have let him into the foyer area. He often brings his laptop with him. He spends most of his time after having his dinner playing games on his laptop.
Lee has trouble speaking and is limited in his mental ability, but he’s a whiz at playing games. We’ve learned from him that his mother lives in Avon. We are not sure where he lives in the neighborhood. He has the emotional level of a child although he’s in his thirties. He may not dress well or smell good but we love him.
We have become Lee’s family. We welcome him each week and seek to interact with him as much as we can, given his speech impediment and limited abilities to communicate. We don’t know what his home life is like so we want him to feel at home with us.
Jesus shocked his disciples, as he often did, when he invited the children to come to him. It’s not so shocking or unusual for us in our culture. Politicians enjoy kissing babies. But in Jesus’ day society kept the children away and out of sight. Jesus openly welcomed children with such enthusiasm that the disciples must have thought he was too accepting of their limitations as ignorant children. The disciples would have believed children couldn’t grasp his teachings or respond to his requirements of discipleship. Thus, children had, in the disciples’ mindset, no significant place in society and certainly none in Jesus’ following.
What Jesus told his disciples would have made no sense to them. He said, “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Such a statement would have no understanding to anyone who heard it. Children wouldn’t be trusted to know what it takes to be a disciple. Only adults. The commitment would even be too much for many adults. But Jesus believed children had the secret of true discipleship. It’s not having great intellectual knowledge or performing great religious acts.
Children do not have the means to accomplish these things. But they do have one thing, the one thing that is necessary, the means to receive the love of Christ. That’s all it takes to be in God’s kingdom. And unless one receives entrance into God’s kingdom this way, there is no amount of correct theology or religious duty that can qualify one for God’s kingdom. See the children running to Jesus. Picture the children sitting on Jesus’ lap. Imagine them hugging his neck. See how thrilled they are to be accepted by Jesus. That’s what it means to be in God’s kingdom.
See the picture of Lee below. He knows he’s accepted at CCDC. We want him to know he’s accepted by Jesus. He’s a part of God’s family. We have a number who come to CCDC who have some type of mental or emotional limitation and we welcome them all to our family.
May God’s Peace be with you,
Pastor Jim and Debby Riley