Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked 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. Matthew 19:13-15
You know He was busy. He was tired. He was being pulled in every possible direction by all of these humans He had come to save. Earlier in Matthew 19, the Bible says that Jesus traveled from Galilee to Judea and that large crowds followed Him around. And do you know what He did for the large crowds that followed Him around? Jesus healed them. Matthew 19 doesn’t go into detail about what kind of healings were performed, but we know from other chapters that Jesus healed the lame, made words for those who couldn’t speak, made the blind to see, and He cleansed the lepers.
While Jesus was healing and preaching, some Pharisees came along and did the thing that Pharisees did. They began to “test” Jesus with questions about marriage and divorce, hoping to catch Him in the net of their rules, strictness, and rigidity. The questions flew. The air became thick with tension. The disciples began to fidgit. There was confusion and worry, but not in the heart of Jesus. With a steady breath, He used the Word of God to dissipate the stress that was piling up, effectively silencing the Pharisees and teaching the disciples in one fell swoop.
And then, in the midst of the large crowds who wanted healing, the Pharisees who wanted drama, and the disciples who wanted instruction, came the children.
I mean, the timing here. It’s like my everyday, just with different circumstances, but always with the children.
Does it not seem like the kids in our lives dance into our most “busy” situations with drums, trumpets, toys, madness, and no clue of the “important” stress that they are interrupting?
It’s inevitable that when we are piled up with bills, arguments, the top news stories of the day, making dinner, folding cloths, and putting some semblance or order in our house that our children want the most important part of us. Not just a wink, a wave, or a shallow little “mmhmm” wrapped up all pretty like a piece of candy. No, they want the real nourishment that comes from having the best of us. And they want it now, in the midst of it all!
So back to Jesus. In the midst of the crowds, the riddles, and the questions, some people brought their little children to Him in hopes that He would pray for them and lay hands on them.
Consider the ones who brought the children.
A mother nervously twists her hands around inside her shawl. Her son has already been checked over by physicians and healers, only to be brushed aside as a hopeless case. But Jesus…Jesus can heal…
A brother has now come into being responsible for his younger siblings, maybe due to losing his parents too soon. How will he raise them? He can’t care for them, but he promised he would. Where is the hope for a future? Will this Jesus help?
A father keeps his eyes down on his dusty sandals. He’s not worthy to be in the company of this Jesus, let alone ask Him to bless his children. But maybe, just maybe, Jesus is what they say He is, and a better life is in store for the precious little ones who are running and stumbling towards Him.
I imagine the children took off towards the Savior with abandon to the worries and fears that plagued their parents.
And then…”Stop! Can’t you see He’s too busy for you right now?”
With a few words, the children were introduced instantly to the misgivings that accompany adulthood. They weren’t welcomed. There was no time for them. Jesus was too busy.
Maybe the parents began to quickly gather them up, apologizing with embarrased eyes, silently berating themselves for thinking that Jesus would have time for something so…unimportant.
But Jesus restored order in His perfect way. “Let these children come to me. The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as them.” And He layed His hands on them.
Jesus didn’t just give them a quick little word, a funny joke, an absentminded “mmhmm” while they opened up to Him. He layed His hands on them. And whatever it was that they needed, they instantly received it from Him on that day. He wasn’t too busy. He wasn’t too tired.
He was available.
The work waited. The bible says when He had placed His hands on them and blessed them, He went on from there and continued His work. The work had waited.
Lord, am I always available to the precious ones you have placed in my life? Am I too busy with the cares of this world–the house, my job, the bills, my phone– to pour Your love into my children through my actions and my heart?
I am guilty of thinking I am too busy to stop and look at my children while they are talking to me. I am guilty of fussing at them for saying “Mama!” over and over when they want to tell me every detail of the day. I am guilty of telling them to “hold on” while I scroll through my emails on my phone. Have you done these things, too, friends?
What does Jesus think about my children? He loves them enough that He died for them, even knowing the sins that they would commit. I wonder how He feels when I am too “busy” for the ones that He gave His life for?
I am guilty. But Jesus is forgiving. And He can change me into the Mama that my kids think I am. He can change me into being more like Him.
Let me be more like Jesus today. Let me welcome my children into my arms no matter how busy I may be. The “work” can wait. Because “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these…”