O Father, Thou hast loved me and sent Jesus to redeem me;
O Father, I thank Thee that in the fulness of grace Thou hast given me to Jesus, to be His sheep, jewel, and portion;
O Father, Thou art enthroned to hear my prayers;
God, who commands the universe, Thou has commanded me to ask for those things that concern Thy Kingdom and my soul.
– Valley of Vision, The Trinity
It was not an unusual day when Jesus was teaching on the mysteries of the Kingdom, and how to attain it. He was sent to earth from Heaven, to fulfill His Father’s plan of drawing the many to salvation. Through His son, the Father expressed love and kindness to the world. The Son was attentive, caring, and passionate towards the people of Israel and to the Gentiles. The love of God was strong in Christ and unimaginable. Just as Jesus had finished speaking of how one comes to repentance and humility, He was approached by an uncommon audience at the time. This story attests to the mercy, grace, and love of God poured out for all.
Luke 18:15 (ESV) records the event: “Now they [parents] were bringing even infants to Him that He might touch [bless] them.” This was not too common of a practice for parents to approach rabbis with children. Though children were significant in Hebrew culture (more so than any other culture at the time such as the Romans, Greeks, and Carthaginians), children were still not esteemed or honored as we would imagine. We know this because Luke 18:15 continues on: “And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.” The disciples were essentially turning away children, believing that they weren’t worth Jesus’ time. After all if Jesus is the Christ, then He should not concern Himself with children, right? That’s what many would believe, but Jesus does something unexpected and truly remarkable. Never has there been a great display of humility towards children such as what Jesus would do.
Though Christ was the exalted one, God the Son, and the one who would save the sins of the world, He stepped down to the children. Christ, the Mediator between God and man, is now the caring one for children as it is written in Luke 18:16 (ESV): “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.'” Christ esteems the children worthy of His presence, of His love, and of His care. He takes those who are rebuked, neglected, or outcasted and draws them to His side. Even the littlest ones Jesus loves, likened to a brother of mankind.
But Christ had one more thing left to say concerning the children, and concerning the place they hold in His heart in Luke 18:17 (ESV) saying,”‘Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'” What does Jesus see in children that He wants us to have? Children were considered unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus Christ, and yet He says that in order to truly come to Him you must be like a child. This thinking was completely different for the disciples, families, and the world. Even today, it is marvelous to imagine that God wants us to be like children.
Often times, when we see children we see a playful spirit and a joyful heart. We can also see that children have a distinct ability to laugh. According to an American Psychology Association (APA) study conducted about child’s laughter, children between the ages of 4-10 years laugh 10 times more than an average adult. They also found that children tend to have a higher sense of trust, honesty, and love. Now, Christ is expecting us to receive the Kingdom of God in the same manner as children.
Many of God’s attributes are astonishing, but one of the most amazing attributes is that He is our Heavenly Father. He is the one who loves His children, and is providing them with the love and care they need. There are some key things about God the Father that we must understand:
1) God is ruler over all. (Ephesians 4:6)
2) God is our only true father. (Matthew 23:9, Malachi 2:10)
3) God is revealed through Jesus, the Son. (John 14:10-11, John 1:14, John 10:30)
4) God is the one who determines what we should become in His Kingdom. (Isaiah 64:8, Romans 9:21)
5) God gives good gifts from Heaven. (James 1:17)
6) God cares for the neglected. (Luke 18:16, Psalms 68:5)
7) God is love. (1 John 4:8)
These attributes, that make the Trinity’s qualities so unique, is an encouragement to us. This should cause us to humble ourselves, as to the likeness of children, and approach God in that manner. I must approach Him like a child would, and in the same joyous manner that a child would possess. There should be excitement and joy for everyone in the Kingdom of God has been redeemed by the all loving Father. How can we not trust Him, love Him, and be honest with Him like a child would be to his or her father? We press on to the Kingdom of God knowing that God is our loving Father who wishes good upon us.
Paul writes in Romans 8:15 (ESV) saying, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!‘” We have been adopted by the Father, who is ruler over all. Not only is He the best father, but He is our only, true father. What a great joy it should be for anyone who has experienced the freedom from the slavery of sin to be considered a child of God. We can call on God to pray, we can communicate with Him about our life, and we can be encouraged by the Word of God, which He has given us through the Scriptures.
How often I, and so many others, tend to forget that God is the loving Father who cares for all, and especially for me. There is nothing I want more than to see Him one day. I shall enter through Heaven’s gates in the great Kingdom, and I will run to the Father. Then the words of How Great Thou Art will be fulfilled:
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration
And there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”
One day, I will see my loving Father who watched over me, kept me safe, and preserved me. I will finally be able to thank Him for all that He’s done and for His good nature. Until then, I shall live a child in the faith, knowing that I am ready to receive the daily outpouring of love and grace into my life. As a father loves his son and daughter, so shall God love us. Let us adore Him, as a child would his or her own father.
(Photo courtesy: Mariana Crouse)
Soli Deo Gloria.