Monday after Oculi
Scripture: St. Luke 18:15-30 (NKJV)
18:15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.'”
21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”
The disciples get bad press. They didn’t hate children. Back then, it was the father’s duty to be the spiritual leaders of their homes (as our Small Catechism urges at the beginning of each chief part)! The fathers would receive their instruction from the teacher (rabbi), and then they in turn would go home and teach their families. Children bothering the master seemed socially wrong.
Jesus does not subject Himself to such social convention. He has something else to teach the disciples, the children, and us. “Let the little children come to Me,” He says, “for of such is the kingdom of God.” What does that mean? Do we all need to become sweet and innocent like little children? Well, no. Children are not innocent! They are just as sinful from conception as King David admitted he was. Rather, children have no “bargaining chips,” no power, no money, not even mature refinement in flattery. They come with joy, wanting to receive whatever the Lord gives them. They come receiving in the way of the Gospel, in the way of gift, not in the way of Law and merit. So we are to receive what He graciously gives us, and that turns out to be forgiveness of sins, life, salvation, and everything else that we need according to His holy will.
We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me my pretenses, and grant me ever the forgiveness of sins and eternal life by Your grace, through the faith the Holy Spirit has created in me. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.