The Value of Children

Some people had brought their children to Jesus for pray, and had been rebuked by His disciples. Jesus’ response highlights the immense worth of children in His eyes. Why are children so important to Jesus? They issue from marriage, the sanctity, permanence, and exclusive bond of which Jesus had just uttered a ringing affirmation (19:3-10). They reflect the union of their parents, the promise of the future, and the life of God. They also naturally possess reflect an attitude central to the kingdom of heaven (God): Humility. Not long before, Jesus had silenced His disciples’ selfish quest for supremacy by saying, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (18:3-4). - Little children do not pretend to be strong, or capable, or knowledgeable; they know they are weak. - Children trust their parents to take care of them. - They believe what their parents say (true or false!). Aware of their dependence upon their parents, they ask for what they need without hesitation. They love to be with their father and mother. This is not to say that children are without sin; or that this story is meant to teach the propriety of infant baptism (Jesus did not baptize them; He blessed them). But Jesus’ statement challenges our notions of a person’s worth. It is not based on power, or position, or possessions. Furthermore, He points us to an essential quality of all true followers of Christ – humble reliance upon God the Father. In other words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (5:3).