Understand How They Felt
“Allow the children, and do not forbid them to come to me, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
This is the type of Jesus I want to know. It’s easy for me to think of Jesus as a man I see in film or in Renaissance paintings—to make Him somehow distant in the process—but this Jesus is very compassionate and close. This Jesus takes the lowest members in society, outside of slaves, and promotes them to the ultimate status of equality: members of the kingdom of heaven, being God’s kingdom.
The disciples didn’t understand this yet; instead they rebuke the people bringing their children to Jesus. The people bringing their children simply wanted Jesus to lay His healing hands on them and pray for them; the disciples saw a threat to Jesus’ image. The image Jesus wanted to portray was the opposite.
It seems more often than not that I find myself worrying about the concerns of what others think, when I should be concerned about simply doing what these children were doing: scrambling to be close to my Lord, Jesus.
And that’s precisely what the young man in the next passage learns: Jesus wants him to be willing to give up everything and follow Him (Matthew 19:16–30). The man knows what he needs to know, but he doesn’t feel about God the way Jesus desires for him to feel. Like the disciples, and like me, he is still in the process of recognizing what it means to follow Jesus.
For this reason, I’m seeking complete surrender to God—knowing that it’s not what gets me into the kingdom, but what makes me live life in a way that honors the kingdom.