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13Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

14But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed.

15And He put His hands upon them, and then went on His way.

Jesus wanted little children to come to him because he loves them and because they have the kind of attitude needed to approach God.  He did not mean that heaven is only for children but that people need childlike attitudes of trust in God.  The receptiveness of little children was a great contrast to the stubbornness of the religious leaders who let their education and sophistication stand in the way of the simple faith needed to believe in Jesus.

It was customary for people to bring their children to a rabbi for a blessing.  Thus people were bringing children to Jesus so that he could lay his hands on them and pray for them.  The disciples thought the children were unworthy of the Master’s time.  In the first century, Jewish households were patriarchal; men came first, followed by women and children.  The disciples apparently viewed these parents and children as an intrusion and a drain of time and energy.  So they told the people not to bother Jesus with their children.

Jesus told his disciples to let the children come because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.  The disciples must have forgotten what Jesus had said about children earlier.

Now listen to Jesus speak truth to power, “4Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.

6But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in and [a]acknowledge and cleave to Me to stumble and sin [that is, who entices him or hinders him in right conduct or thought], it would be better ([b]more expedient and profitable or advantageous) for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:4-6) AMP.

Anyone of any age who exhibits such faith and trust is promised access to Jesus and to the Kingdom.


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