Do not hinder the children

Children are precious to Jesus.

Matthew 18:1-9

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

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Jesus himself identifies with children in such a way that to welcome a little child is to welcome the Lord. He puts into perspective the petty disputes of his followers, wanting to know who is the greatest in the kingdom. That perspective is from the lowly position of a little child, forever looking up to those around, forever trusting. But woe to those who betray that trust.

In this passage we see how much Jesus condemns the actions of those who hinder children and cause them to stumble. The consequences of judgement, and the fire of hell are so severe, that it would have been better for such people to be thrown in the sea to drown with millstones around their necks.

Very strong words from the Great Shepherd who doesn’t want to see the littlest lamb go astray.

The Bible talks about children being a precious heritage and a blessing to those who are responsible for them. In the ministry of Jesus we see Him welcome and bless the little children. When people around Him thought that He had no time to stop and pray for the children that were brought to Him, He starkly told them that they should not hinder the children, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as them.

Children are around us to remind us of the love and care of our Heavenly Father for us. He nurtures us, keeps us safe, and sets us free to walk without fear. This is the same way we should care for the children in our lives, to show them into the kingdom – that is their inheritance.

Head: What does it mean to become like little children?

Heart: In order to be a good role model to the next generation, we have to look to our Heavenly Father. How can you seek His face as a child coming to the Father?

Hands: Are there children you know of or adults who as children have been caused to stumble? How can you show the love of the Father to them?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for showing your love to me and making me one of your children. Help me show that love to the children in my life and give me the opportunity to help pick up those who have been hindered from knowing your true love. Amen

A song to listen to: What love, my God

Nicole Davenport