Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV) Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
The disciples believed that they were doing Jesus a favor by keeping these mothers and fathers with their children from being a burden and a distraction to Him. “After all,” they reasoned, “He has a lot on His mind right now.”
But a huge part of Jesus’ mission was to declare God’s blessings on people, including children. Yes, He had come to be the Messiah. Yes, He had come to die for the sins of the world. But until the moment that He was nailed to the cross, His mission also was to declare the reality of God’s kingdom on earth, and to make it real in the lives of God’s people.
For some people, that meant healing their bodies and souls. For others, it was setting them free from the power of sin and the oppression of demons. For others, it was shining the light of the Scriptures into their minds and hearts. And for children, it was often pronouncing God’s blessing on their lives, and embodying His presence to them; literally putting a face on God for them.
When Jesus left, there was a vast amount of kingdom work still to be done. He did not leave His followers a rulebook to follow, or a philosophy to promulgate. He left them a mission to complete, and sent His Spirit to empower them to do it. The mission of Jesus was then and still is the mission of God’s people, the Christians. We are still to declare the reality of God’s kingdom on earth, a kingdom made real by the death and resurrection of Jesus, through whom the gates of that kingdom were thrown wide to all of the people of the world.
We are still to make God’s kingdom real on earth by living in God’s presence, doing His will on earth as it is in heaven, and teaching others to do the same. Sometimes obedience to God’s will means healing the bodies and souls of the people around us. Sometimes it means setting people free from the power of sin and the oppression of demons. Sometimes it means shining the bright light of the Scriptures into the minds and hearts of people. And for children, it frequently means pronouncing God’s blessing on their lives, and embodying God’s presence to them; literally putting a face on God for them.
Father, I’m afraid very few of us see our mission this way. But what a difference it would make if we did! Some of us run away from Your calling on our lives, fearful that it will be difficult things, or scary things, or dangerous things, or things that require a lot of knowledge of theology or the Scriptures. But a lot of Jesus’ mission was a joy, as He brought people to life, healed bodies, minds, and hearts, and gave them hope and a future by showing them the way into Your kingdom. And it is amazing to consider that as we follow Him in all of this, we will have the Holy Spirit working through us so that we can do it all in Your power. Amen.