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Archive for June 11th, 2012

Back to once upon a time land, and castles, and roads paved with gold, and pearly gates, and a king who rules justly and loves mercy. Ah …. I almost can dream myself right into the middle of it all!

Throughout the ‘kingdom’ verses in Matthew, Jesus uses children over and over again in his description of the kingdom of heaven. As with every teaching of Jesus, he did not use children as illustration by chance, but because of what they are, and because of what they are not.

Children are innocent, pure, powerless, uneducated. They are the least of society, because they contribute so little to society, from the perspective of power. In their state of powerlessness, they exemplify that the best (heaven) was created and intended for those who are the least deserving, the least powerful the least able to give anything back.

Last week I wrote about the kingdom when Jesus was asked who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus replied that “whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:4-5).

But Jesus child talk didn’t end there.

 In the next verse (v. 6) he says, of children, “if anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Wow! I think he meant business. His statement strongly says that he is serious about the value of children.

Jesus then goes on (v. 10-14) to compare a wandering sheep to “one of these little ones.” He compares God to a shepherd who, if one sheep was lost, would leave the others to go in search for the lost one. This would have been unbelievable to the people listening, because a sheep was valuable to a shepherd’s livelihood, a child was … just a child.

With all of this kid talk, people started to bring their children to Jesus, so that he could place his hands on their head, to pray for and bless them (Matthew 19:13-15). This was really getting on the nerves of the disciples, who wanted the kids to head to the nursery so that the important people … like them, could be close to, and hear Jesus as he taught. But Jesus was quick and decisive in his response, “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

There it was. Jesus wanted so badly for them, and for us, to understand, that power in the kingdom of heaven came from a different source than it did/does on Earth. In the kingdom of heaven, the Father provides membership to those who, like children, have no knowledge of, and no desire to seek power.

Later on in Matthew 25:34, Jesus speaks of the King, “come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Those who he is speaking to are those who, like children, the kingdom of heaven was created for. That is my kind of kingdom!

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