Luke 18:15-17 ESV: Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Bringing Their Infants To Jesus: There are so many questions people have in regard to the salvation of children. Should they be baptized? Should they be dedicated? Should they receive communion? How early can they understand the redemptive story of the gospel in regard to self application? When can they have genuine saving faith? The Bible is not totally clear on the subject, but one thing is sure, we as parents are instructed to train our children in the ways of the Lord and to daily bring them to Jesus.
Deuteronomy 11:19 ESV “.. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
1. “They were bringing”… The word bringing is a continual word almost like this was something that was ongoing. It’s highly unlikely that this was a single isolated event when all at once everyone started bringing their children and babies to Jesus one time only. Everywhere Jesus went, if those around Him possessed faith in His Lordship, they would bring people to Him. Some brought their friends on mats, others came and got Him when their children were ill, yet others like the woman with the issue of blood, took the risk and reached out to Him when they were forbidden to. All who made the effort to meet with Jesus whether it was for themselves or someone they loved, had a measure of faith.
2. Why did they bring their babies to Jesus? These parents brought their children to Jesus, the text says, so that they may be touched by Him. Why touched? The act of laying on of hands, even from the ancient days, was an irrevocable blessing. Issac unknowingly blessed Jacob by laying his hands on Him, the blessing could not be taken back, it was a promise. All through scripture you will find fathers blessing their children through the laying on of hands. These people through faith brought their children, even infants, to Jesus that He might impart to them the promised blessing. People who love and trust Jesus always have a strong desire for their children to love and trust Him as well.
3. Bringing your kids to Jesus starts at infancy. As parents we have a responsibility to, and should be intentional about, “bringing” our children to Jesus daily. This is a continual action word, not a one-stop bedside prayer. It’s training your children in the ways and admonition of the Lord, teaching them about their sinful nature, the judgment of God and the promise of freedom through Jesus. Bringing them to Jesus happens whenever you sing them songs before bed, whenever you sit down with them and talk about birds, elephants and tigers and expound on the awesome creativity and design of our Creator. It happens whenever you have devotions with them and are able to explain the fall of man and the redemptive work of Jesus. It happens whenever they disobey and you gracefully and lovingly discipline them, which in turn teaches them how our heavenly Father disciplines those He loves. Point is, we are the ones who must bring our children to Jesus, it is our duty and our task, and indeed it’s a pleasure to do it.
The Opposition: One thing that I have observed over the years, is that when you bring your children to Jesus there will be opposition, and many times from within.
Danae and I started to take the great commission very seriously several years ago. We heard a message by (my now good friend) Ray Comfort, called Hell’s Best Kept Secret. We were so challenged by the message and the fact that we had been disobedient to Jesus’ command that we instantly picked up the torch and started sharing our faith. Statistics are that less than two percent of the Christian church shares there faith actively or at all. Two percent is pretty low by any standard. It’s pretty hard to lead our children to Jesus if we aren’t obeying His last commands.
One of the things that we decided was that we would not tell our kids to hand out tracts, but that Danae and I would do it wherever we went and make it our lifestyle. So whether we went through checkouts at the grocery store, or drive through, or wherever we went we would have a great conversation with that person and before we left, hand them a message of the Gospel. What we found is that our children saw what we were doing and instantly followed our example. This was a great way for us to live on mission as a family. To always be looking for people and potential conversations about kids, dogs, weather, sports, school, whatever it was, we could use that as a great segue into sharing the gospel with that person.
The opposition started almost immediately, and mostly from people in the church. One day while in a local grocery store our young son Max tried giving a gospel tract to a lady in the milk aisle; she refused because she said she was a Christian, and then went one to tell Danae that her daughter used to be “like that” but she had to tell her not to talk about it. I guess the teacher mentioned to the mother that her daughter was talking to kids about Jesus and that she should speak to her about it.
So let me get this straight. Jesus tells us to tell others about Him, then our teachers tell us that we shouldn’t, so we don’t? It’s no wonder only two percent of of professing Christians share their faith. They don’t know how because they haven’t been taught, they haven’t been taught because the church has been too busy over the past decade trying to figure out how to do it while at the same time be liked by our communities.
Bringing your kids to Jesus involves bringing other people to Jesus while you’re at it. If you are teaching them about the gospel and the commands of Christ, should they not observe how you as a parent are also being obedient to Christ? Jesus commands us to go and tell, but do we do that? Our obedience to Christ will lead our children to also be obedient to Christ. Our obedience will demonstrate to them our own dependence upon Him and our desire to obey His commands.
The Kingdom Belongs To Children: Was Jesus saying that only kids will be in heaven? Was He saying that we need to be childish to enter into the kingdom? No not at all, Jesus was demonstrating what one looks like who posseses faith in Him.
1. Dependency: A child cannot do most things for themselves. The majority of the time if you were to leave a child abandoned without someone to care for their needs they would perish. There would be no one to clothe them, feed them, cook for them. I think about my little children and I wonder, could they survive if they were all alone? I don’t think so, they need us for EVERYTHING. I’m not sure what it looks like in your house, but my kids will wake up in the middle of the night, call us in their room, then ask for a drink, even though the cup of water is only a few inches from their bed. They know they have a desperate need for the care of their parents and they call on us regularly. This is how we must be with God, we should be entirely dependent on Him for our righteousness, forgiveness and well-being. We should cast all our cares on Him simply because He really does care for us and has promised to look after our eternal welfare.
2. Trust: It’s not uncommon to hear something like this coming from a child’s mouth, “It is so true! My dad said it is!” Children trust their parents with basically everything we tell them. Whatever we say, they believe it. That’s why it’s so important to weigh out the consequences of telling them that a fairy will come in their windows with money for their lost tooth, that a fat man comes down their chimney with gifts, or that a bunny brings chocolate eggs once a year. These things may be fun magical moments for you and your children, but they are in reality lies, and when you tell them these stories as truth along side God’s creation (a man getting swallowed by a whale, a little boy defeating a huge giant, walls falling down by themselves, and a baby being born to a virgin) the waters of truth get muddied by the lies. When they are old enough to know you led them on the Jesus story goes out the window as well.
I manage about 5 million people through Facebook pages and these are stories I literally hear all the time from atheists. “I stopped believing in Jesus when I stopped believing in the other fairy tales”… see the pattern? It’s never okay to lie to your children because they hang on every word you say as gospel truth and you want them to trust you with that, don’t you?
There are many more things that a person could expound on when it comes to being like a child, but I don’t want to drag this out for the purpose of scratching out every last detail. The point is that if we are not totally dependent on Christ for salvation, if we do not trust Him and take Him at His word, then we cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God, and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So let’s be sure to turn to God’s Word daily, both personally and with our children, so that we might hear His voice, and through hearing His voice our faith may be cultivated in our hearts and cause us to be even more dependent upon His grace and mercy. In that place we will be able to effectively “Lead our kids to Jesus” for the Glory of God.
1. What are some of the ways that you are bringing your kids to Jesus daily?
2. Are you using everyday things to remind your children of our human sinfulness and God’s goodness?
3. Are you demonstrating to your children that you trust God and His Word?
4. Are you actively sharing your faith with others?
Grace & Peace,