Lessons from Children & Grown Ups

Lessons from Children & Grown Ups


but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”

I have 3 children that I love very much. At the time I’m writing this their ages are 3, 2, and 10 weeks. Today is Sunday and it seems to be a well known fact that Sundays are when children everywhere refuse to wear what their parents want, throw tantrums on their way out the door, squabble amongst themselves, make more spills, and the list goes on.

Today my kids were handfuls before and after church. My daughter spoke disrespectfully to me and then threw some books, was disciplined for her behavior and then came asking for forgiveness. She’s only 3 but the temptation to say, “I forgive you but…” was there. My desire was to make sure she knew that her sin against me hurt. She needed to see that I still wasn’t happy. That should help her change!

My 3 year old has barely any money, lives under my roof, she just started dressing herself and can help put her dishes in the sink! What possibly can she do or can she give me to make up for her sin? After all, that is what my sinful heart was wanting.

The Gospel of Matthew points out children and wealthy grown ups are both in need of something – or Someone. They need a Rescuer for their sin. They both need Jesus! Jesus used children several times to illustrate our attitude needed in order to come to Him. He used them to show His disciples that they were not the most important. Instead it is the weakest and the most humble are first in God’s kingdom. And in Matthew shows that Jesus blessed children by giving His kingdom to them! Children are the perfect example of how God does not require us to work for our salvation in Him. A child unashamedly runs to their parent. Messy hands and all they reach up and ask to be held or to clean the “ickies” off for them. They trust without reservation. And it’s them that God says we must emulate in order to come to Him for salvation.

Then in , only a couple verses after children are blessed and welcomed to Him, Jesus walks away and is confronted by a rich young ruler. This man had things he could boast about. He had wealth, he was moral, he knew and strictly observed the Jewish Law. And yet this man, with all his achievements, could not comprehend giving his all and following Jesus – even if it meant losing out on eternal life.

The little children came so boldly, the rich young ruler went away sad. The Gospel is foolishness to the world! It is crazy to think that the Son of God would allow someone so dedicated to spirituality to walk away spiritually bankrupt. It is crazier to think that the ones who could offer no money, no boastings about religious pursuit, nothing – these were the ones Jesus opened his arms to and welcomed!

I struggled with freely forgiving when my daughter asked for it. But God’s forgiveness never is on the basis of what I can do to pay back for what I’ve done but purely on the basis of His goodness and His mercy. By God’s grace alone I chose instead to smile at my daughter and say without any attachments, “I forgive you!” But all too often forgiveness like that is a choice and not my first one! The good news is that God is not like that. He welcomes the humble, the ones who don’t have an innocent past and can’t boast in their works. He welcomes the ones who, like toddlers now, come with their messy hands and just want to come close to their Rescuer! Like my daughter, we need to come to Him and simply ask for forgiveness, repent of our sin without adding what we can do for penance. After all, nothing we could ever bring to God would ever be good enough! Jesus explained that to the rich man.

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And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good…”

What is holding you back from coming to Jesus for salvation? Are you burdened by the fear of not being “good enough”? Are you like the rich young ruler and blinded by self righteousness to realize that you aren’t as good as you think you are? In the verses that follow, Jesus uses the call to give away earthly riches and follow Him not to give us a new Gospel of minimalism but to expose the man’s heart! His god was his wealth and he was unwilling to part with it and therefore unwilling to follow Jesus. The good news of the Gospel is that even though we are incapable of coming to God on our own He sees our need and has already met it with His blood and His good and perfect record! All we have to do is to repent and believe in Jesus. Come with all our guilt and sin and leave with grace, mercy, forgiveness, a new identity, a new relationship with God, true joy!

14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 19:16

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (ESV)

19:1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (ESV)

14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV)

19:1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (ESV)

17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (ESV)