February 23rd, 2022 – Luke 18:17

Verse of the Day Devotion  Luke 18:17  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.  

Today’s verse shows how Jesus sees children and in a sense tells us how we must be in this world. It starts with the following statement. “And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.” Luke 18:15. In Matthew’s gospel, we get a clearer picture of what was happening. “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them.” Matthew 19:13. When we put the two together, we see that people were bringing their babies, toddlers, and young children to Jesus.  There is no clarification as to the ages. Matthew and Mark say children, whereas Luke uses babies here, and then child/children in verse 17. This indicates to me that all ages of children were brought to Him. Then it is stated here in Luke that they brought them to Him to touch them.  In the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, we see that these children were brought to Jesus so He could pray for them. In essence, to bless them. But as we see at the end of verse 15, the disciples rebuked them. Now, it was quite customary in Israel to entreat Rabbis and rulers of synagogues for such a benefit; but that this was desired from Jesus even yet in the last period of His public life, in spite of the continually increasing opposition to Him, is an unequivocal evidence of the deep and favorable impression which His activity had left behind in these regions. They heard He was in the area, and they brought them to Him for a prayer and blessing.

But as we see at the end of verse 15, the disciples rebuked them in the hope of preventing them from bringing them to Jesus. Jesus, having seen and heard this told the disciples to stop. “But Jesus called for them, saying, permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.” Luke 18:16-17. Mark says that they were reprimanded. “But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14.  There was nothing wrong being done by the parents or children.  Also, Jesus was not saying that all children, simply because they are children, have received God’s kingdom. Jesus was not attributing to children an innate goodness. Rather, he appealed to some quality possessed by little children that is essential for entering God’s kingdom.  Many see this as humility, which makes sense. Others denote simple faith free from doubt and argumentation.   I see it as without prejudice, pride, ambition, and vanity, with meekness, and humility. 

In closing, Darrell L. Bock says the following that I believe is very well said. “There are two basic lessons to be learned.  The lesson about children is that they are welcome in God’s kingdom. He is available to them. God’s care for them shows that he cares for all. The kingdom is not only for adults. And the lesson for disciples is that children are good models for a disciple. Children trust their parents and rely on them. So disciples should rely on their Father. To be a part of the kingdom, we must receive it in the way a child walks through life. Entry is blocked to those who do not trust the Father. God accepts those who run into their Father’s arms, knowing that he will care for them.” Let us trust our Father, as a small child trusts their parents, not challenging or arguing, but listening and leaning on His every word, accepting everything He says while patiently waiting for the fulfilment of the promises He gave us.  This is the attitude of the children in Jesus’ time, and this should be our attitude with our Heavenly Father.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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