Reflections on Luke 18:15-17
There are over 435 different references in the Bible about children. This message limits ourselves specifically to Luke 18:15-17: But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” This particular story is recorded in all the first three gospels – Mathew, Mark and Luke.
During Jesus’ days, it was customary for a mother to bring her children to a rabbi for a blessing, and that is why these mothers gathered around Jesus. The disciples however thought that the children were unworthy of the Master’s time, and that they were less important than whatever Jesus was doing.
Beloved, what was Jesus trying to communicate to the world by these words? Lets examine some lessons from this passage:
1. Jesus raised the status of children by warmly welcoming them
a. In those days, women and children were seen as second class citizens. They did not matter and it was a man’s world. But Jesus welcomed them, because little children have the kind of faith and trust needed to enter God’s kingdom. Today, it’s the same thing we see in our world, even in the church. About 95% of churches in Ghana do not attach much importance to children ministries. So children are confined to some unappealing room with little or no resources whilst their parents treat themselves to good music with state of the art instruments in a well decorated auditorium. Studies have shown that 85% of people who come to Christ are people under the age of 18.
The church must therefore realize that the greatest mission field in the world is children. Fathers and mothers, teachers and pastors, are encouraged try to catch the children young for Christ, supply them best workers, the best curriculum and the best resources and thus sow a seed that will yield 30, 60 and 100 fold results.
2. Another lesson from the passage is TRUST
Children are apt to trust those who are in authority over them. It does not take a lot to convince children. Mummy says she will buy me chocolate and so it is. Children do not require complicated explanation. Thus, learn to approach God with a greater child-like trust that He will supply all your needs (emotional, social, physical, financial, vocational, spiritual, etc.) according to His riches in glory, Phil. 4:19. Simply believe His Word for what it is.
3. Responsibility of parents towards their children
According to Psalm 127, children are a gift from the Lord. Jesus’ words in Luke 18:15-17 and the way He welcomed them confirmed this. As gifts from God to you, what does God expects parents to do for children. God expects parents to take good care of children because they will be accountable for how the cared for them:
a. Spiritually. God expects parents to show the way to Christ and to be
examples in all godliness. Let your children see Christ in you, and in your daily life. Intentionally present the gospel to them, pray for them, study the Bible with them, and model Christ to them.
b. Physically. God expects parents to provide for the basic needs of life – food, shelter and clothing. Food – not just food but food that contains all the essential nutrients needed for growth , shelter – not just a room to sleep in but a peaceful home and environment to live in and clothing – not just something to cover nakedness but something that will give identity and build our self esteem.
c. Mentally. God expects parents to invest in lives of children by giving them quality education as a stepping stone to fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives. The best legacy you can leave your children in today’s world is not huge buildings or fat bank account but quality education.
d. Socially. God expects you to teach us how to relate to people around us and to fit into the society as relational beings. In that way, you have to be an example in your relationships to us. As married couples, let your children see the beauty of your relationship, let your children see how well you relate to your neighbours. If you go about beating your husband or wife, fighting next door neighbours, customers, etc. your children will learn from you.
These days, parents are too busy to have time for us as children. Make time to listen to our needs, to know our friends, to visit our schools, to understand our challenges, to correct our wrongs and help us to make the right choices for a better future. If you neglect your duties towards us now in the name of making money, be rest assured that you cannot pay for the cost of a wayward child in the next few years.
4. Another lesson from the passage is children is Obedience
a. In Luke 18:17, Jesus expects children to come to Him. As children we need to be obedient to God’s call to come to Him. Sometimes, some of us give our parents hell of time before we come to church. Some of us even refuse to go to Sunday school. I think we must rather be thankful to God for the opportunity we have to come to church. Some of our parents never had such an opportunity in their childhood.
b. Obedience to our parents and teachers
As children who are growing up, one day we will become parents, teachers, etc. and will expect our children to obey our words, we therefore must start now by obeying parents and leaders.
We need to study hard for the future. Some of us would want to be bankers, teachers, doctors, engineers, lecturers, fashion designers, and many more. But you know what? This calls for HARD WORK.
Study hard, obey your parents and pray to God and you will get there.
We need to understand the value of children in all aspects of life. It is time to call upon the leadership of the Church and parents that holistic upbringing of children should form essential part of their calling as Christians. Children are tomorrow’s leaders. They are the future of the church, the future of the Family and the future of this Country.