Read: Matthew 18:1–10 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 89–90; Romans 14
Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children. Matthew 19:14 nlt
Thomas Barnado entered the London Hospital medical school in 1865, dreaming of life as a medical missionary in China. Barnado soon discovered a desperate need in his own front yard—the many homeless children living and dying on the streets of London. Barnado determined to do something about this horrendous situation. Developing homes for destitute children in London’s east end, Barnado rescued some 60,000 boys and girls from poverty and possible early death. Theologian and pastor John Stott said, “Today we might call him the patron saint of street kids.”
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matt. 19:14 nlt). Imagine the surprise the crowds—and Jesus’s own disciples—must have felt at this declaration. In the ancient world, children had little value and were largely relegated to the margins of life. Yet Jesus welcomed, blessed, and valued children.
James, a New Testament writer, challenged Christ-followers saying, “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans . . . in their troubles” (James 1:27 nlt). Today, like those first-century orphans, children of every social strata, ethnicity, and family environment are at risk due to neglect, human trafficking, abuse, drugs, and more. How can we honor the Father who loves us by showing His care for these little ones Jesus welcomes?
Be an expression of the love of Jesus.
Speaking into a context where social status was central, Jesus made the revolutionary claim that true greatness is found through being humble like children (Matt. 18:3–4), who had no status on their own. He further declared that harming a child is a grave sin (vv. 6, 10). His is a kingdom dedicated to uplifting and cherishing the vulnerable (v. 5). Monica Brands