“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
“Humble yourself like a little child.” Matthew 18:4
” ‘Receive the kingdom of heaven like a child’. He put His arms around them, touched and hugged them.” Mark 10:13-16.
This picture is one of the best I’ve ever seen that portrays what Jesus thought and felt about children. Children were very special to Him. He held them up as an example, of who we ought to be like. Christ knew that children were very accepting of life, of others who were different from them, and they loved fiercely those they formed a bond with. Jesus had a lot in common with them. That is why He could not resist holding them, laughing with them. Children delighted Him.
Jesus loved children because they loved a good story and were able to insert themselves in to it and they grasped the real meanings hidden it its context. Like Jesus, they had a funny sense of humor and others couldn’t help but smile when they heard the story. Jesus was open and honest with others and would get straight to the point. Like children, He wasn’t afraid to tell what reality was, even if it got Him into trouble with others. Jesus loved simplicity as children do. Being rich, having status, using others to get what one wants was not part of His character. Like children, Jesus enjoyed having lunch with whomever was around.
Jesus loved children because they were generous and loved to give to others for the sheer joy it brought. There were no hidden motives. Jesus shared with others His total attention, His time, His resources, and He comforted those who needed comforting. Children share with others what they have. They break candy bars or a sandwich in half. Children will reach out and touch, and show affection towards others who feel left out in society.
Jesus loved children because, like Him, they loved freely and without hang ups. They would get angry or disappointed with others, but were able to move on to other things after quickly forgiving those who had hurt them. Jesus was loyal to His followers as children are loyal to their friends and family. He loved the trust little children had in people. Even though people may have hurt them in the past, they still had the ability to reach out and try again to connect, to give the benefit of a doubt, to believe still that people can be good, can be trusted. Like children, Jesus loved goodness, and appreciated those who wanted to be good. Children need for good to triumph over evil. Christ also wanted the same thing.
Jesus loved children because of their faith. When they believe in something, children throw their whole selves in to it. They know, when someone says they are going to do a thing, it will get done. Children want rules to structure and define their world. They are eager to obey and want to please others. Jesus knew children were emotionally sensitive and easy to hurt with their vulnerability. That was why He sought to be gentle with them. Children believe in prayer and know God will answer them. Children are very curious. They want to learn and are eager to do so. These are the characteristics Jesus loved in children. It is important for us to keep these characteristics in our lives as well. Too often, as we grow and mature, we lose them.