Monday, August 1, 2016

Luke 18:15-17

Luke 18:15-17
And they were also bringing infants to Him in order that He should touch them.  And after the disciples saw this they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them, saying, “Permit the children to come to me and do not hinder them.  For the kingdom of God is of ones such as these.  Amen, I say to you, whoever should not receive the kingdom of God as a child – he should surely not enter into it.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

There are some parents doing a very natural thing here in this section of scripture.  They see Jesus, and recognize that He is a powerful man full of all kinds of special ability.  They want to put their children in His presence, hoping that something of Jesus will rub off on them.  They may be looking for a blessing.  They might want to get their kid noticed so that they get noticed themselves.  Whatever the reason, we see typical human reaction.  Parents often look for ways to put their children in positions to improve.  I believe that this is one of the fundamental duties of a parent.  The parent cannot force the child to take advantage of the opportunity, but through their love, parents seek to give that opportunity.

Did your parents seek opportunity for you?  If you have children, did you seek opportunity for your children?  How does this help us understand the Father and His desire to open doors of opportunity for us?

Second Thought:

We also see the disciples doing a very human thing.  The disciples care a great deal about Jesus.  They know that His time is precious.  They are trying to be protective.  This is rooted in good intentions.  However, we see the disciples make another human distinction.  They see children as lesser in worth.  They think that because they are children, Jesus would be better using His time to be with adults – or even on His own abiding or teaching them more privately.  Whatever the reason, they turn a good intention of caring for Jesus into a bad action of hindering people from having an encounter with Christ.

When have your good intentions gone bad?  Do you think human beings can ever avoid trying to do the right thing but having their actions have bad results?

Third Thought:

In the end, Jesus takes the opportunity to teach a profound lesson.  In order to make sure that we get the lesson, let’s remember the context that Luke has this lesson follow as he writes.  Jesus has just taught about the Pharisee and the tax-collector.  One man was self-justifying, the other was standing off knowing that he received purely by grace.  I believe that when Jesus says that we are to receive the kingdom of God as a child that He is speaking about this exact same teaching.  Receiving like a child doesn’t have much to do with receiving it in innocence, amazement, and wonder.  I know many children who can explain the world around them – at least to a proper level of their understanding!  Receiving the kingdom like a child means that we understand that we haven’t earned it at all.  Like a child who receives food, shelter, clothing, and time as a gift from a parent, so too do we receive the kingdom of God.  We are to receive the kingdom of God knowing full well that – like the tax-collector and like the child – we have done nothing to deserve it.  The kingdom of God comes upon us as an act of mercy and grace.

Do you receive the kingdom of heaven purely as a sign of God’s grace?  Are there ever times in your life where you convince yourself that you are worthy of it as a reward?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 18:18-20
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