26 Apr 2015
Luke records for us in eighteenth chapter of his gospel that there were people surrounding Jesus who were bringing even their babies to Jesus that He might touch them.
At this time Jesus’ disciples did not have “kingdom view” of Jesus’ purposes. Their view was primarily an “empire view.” A “kingdom view” understands that Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost and as King serves and provides for His faithful subjects. Conversely, in the “empire view” empire subjects are cast into differing roles, those with roles that are high are served by those who are lower. This is the same view that spurred on the disciples’ belief that Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman tyranny and set up an earthly kingdom at that time. Of course in the “empire view” children as a class have little to no significance.
The “empire view” is largely the view of our culture. Of course our own children and grandchildren are very important, but children in general have no voice and represent a class of individuals to whom is assigned little significance But the idea of children having low significance in our society is not the kingdom view of Jesus:
Luke 18:15-17 (NASB)
15 And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.
16 But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
17 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
Jesus used a different word for children than the word Luke used describing this incident. In verse 15 the word translated babies is quite accurate; it describes a preborn child up to perhaps two to three years when the child is weaned. But Jesus seems to expand the age category of those who are encouraged to be brought to Him when he uses another word that is translated as children. This term describes children that are bit older perhaps up to or including early puberty.
Jesus goes on to instruct us that if we do not receive the kingdom of God as a little child we will not enter His kingdom at all. Bible commentators note that the characteristics of an unspoiled child are humility, faith and dependence.
Note these key words: But Jesus called for them. While the disciples would attempt to get rid of these children, Jesus was calling them to Himself! Luke sets this passage in the context of Jesus teaching on prayer. Mark, while recording this same story, places significant emphasis on the displeasure of Jesus with His disciple’s attempts to keep the children from Him.
Mark 10:13-16 (NASB) 13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.
14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. ( emphasis added)
It is sometimes easy to miss the reality that those who were bringing the children to Jesus were in fact praying. Their prayers definitely delighted Him! These were petitions that He was determined to answer affirmatively and immediately.
Now for us, what about our prayers? But first let me share that the Lord has unmistakably spoken to me about praying for children 4-14 years of age specifically in our community. It seems with a similar voice of strength and determination He is speaking us today “permit the children to come to Me and do not hinder them.”
God has not changed: James 1:17 (NASB)
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (emphasis added)
Jesus Christ to this very day desires little children to be brought to Him, and we have an excellent opportunity to participate in concert with the deep desires of God. Several in our community have begun to pray for the environment of our children particular in the public schools. Praying for teachers and administrative staff to be used by God to bring the children to Himself. Praying for student led movements of evangelism and discipleship to begin to saturate our elementary schools. Some have begun to organize regular prayer walks around schools facilities praying for an increase of the power of the Holy Spirit to touch all who enter these halls.
While these things may sound like things that have been initiated by men, I am convinced that they simply represent individuals responding to the call of God. Jesus is still sending out the call to permit the children to come unto Him and to hinder them not. This is not a move of men; it is a move of God!
What can or should we do? First we can pray and ask God: what He would have each of us do? Second, obey His leading! No doubt God is and will lead us some of us in different directions. However we are completely convinced that just as God has worked in the lives of several placing His burden of prayer and action deep in our hearts, He will be faithful to call many more into this work of prayer and action for the for the hearts and the lives of the little ones He dearly loves.
God desires to bring hundreds of thousands of children to faith in Jesus Christ. Meanwhile Satan is working overtime to capture the hearts and minds of our children. Are you available to get into this battle? The fields are white unto harvest therefore petition the Lord of the harvest that He might send more laborers into His harvest. Will you join me in praying for 10,000 prayer warriors who will pray for the Lord to thrust laborers into His harvest?
Consider praying daily for 40 days asking the Lord to show you what He might have you do and at the same time each day pray for Him to begin to call 10,000 prayer warriors to stand on the Hill of God lifting up the rod of God that the Lord will find the full freedom to give victory and life and light to our next generation.
John 10:10 (NASB)
10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
We are engaged in a battle. There is a colossal battle raging for our children. What will the outcome of this battle be; will it be death or life? Our prayers will be critically instrumental in the outcome!