To Fully Believe Before You Fully Understand
Luke 18:15 ¶ Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
Luke 18:16 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.
Luke 18:17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Once upon a time, religion and understanding God was a highfalutin thing. If you were a kid under 13, you might learn about God around the dinner table, but you weren’t expected to come and interrupt things at the synagogue. You did your school stuff, which was largely learning Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, but don’t get in the way of the Rabbis.
If you were curious and asked a lot of questions, you were exceptional and likely to be led into Rabbi school in your teenage years.
The other thing about kids: they were dirty. With all of the laws about cleanliness and what you could touch on what days and how, it was highly likely that just about every little kid you saw running around your neighborhood would make you unclean and unholy just to the touch.
Jesus gives a living commentary on that whole lifestyle in this event. Putting hands on someone and praying for them is an act that goes all of the way back to Abraham. As you read Genesis, it almost seems like there is some kind of spiritual tag going on with the patriarchs putting their hands on the person they are blessing.
So there might be something to it?!
The disciples object to this activity, but it’s out of their own hang-ups about children and blessings. Like Jesus is going to run out? Like Jesus is bothered by these simpletons? Or maybe Jesus has more important work to do, like teaching and bringing about the kingdom of heaven, so He doesn’t have time for kids?
Whatever the reason, Jesus puts it to rest quickly. And then He says it:
Bring kids to Jesus.
You could make a list of what kids are like and then imitate all of those things. Jesus did say “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
But it doesn’t say whoever acts like a child. It says whoever receives it like a child. Can you imagine just believing something at face value and then trusting that it’s true? Without the justifications, the proofs, the evidence, any of that?
The fire tower at Lincoln State Park is kind of like that for me. Sure, engineering, physics, blah blah blah. That thing is old! Every time I make my yearly trip to the top, I hope that if it falls I at least get impaled by a persimmon tree on the way down.
When I cross the bridge between Henderson and Evansville, I don’t reconsider my C in high school physics class. I know that thing has something to do with throwing tennis balls and stopwatches out in front of Harrison High School, but I’m not sure what.
Evidence is awesome, but faith is so much better. It really is. We put faith in unseen things every day. We trust things beyond our understanding every single day. Jesus says that when we receive Him with the same understanding that a kid thinks that quarter came out of his ear, we receive the Kingdom of Heaven.
The difference is, the Kingdom of Heaven is the most real thing we’ll ever experience.
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