“Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 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. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Lk. 18:15-17).
We often, like the disciples, get this exactly backwards. Many Christians say that the little children must first become like adults and then they can come into the kingdom. But Jesus says, Do not hinder them. In fact, Jesus says that we must become like them, or else we cannot enter the kingdom.
So first an encouragement to parents who are working hard to bring their little ones to church for Jesus to bless them. Do not be discouraged. Do not grow weary in doing good. Sometimes you will only hear a few bits of the sermon. Sometimes, you’ll be getting up and getting back down, going out and coming back in, and as you labor in this with joy, teaching your children, and patiently bearing with them, as you welcome them, you are teaching them that Jesus welcomes them.
Second, we want to continue cultivating a culture of welcoming children to this table. As your little ones begin to wake up and pay attention, they can figure out pretty early on what’s going on. And when the bread and wine is being passed around, they’re starting to figure out that this is a special meal for God’s people. And when they say that they want to participate, when they are reaching for the bread and the wine, you are either welcoming them to Jesus and encouraging them to believe or else you are teaching them that they are not and you’re not sure if they believe.
But you really ought to ask yourself why we would do that with this meal and not with any other part of the service. We teach our little children to kneel down and confess their sins. We teach them to say “Amen” after the prayers and songs. We teach them to raise their hands in the doxology. Why would we welcome them to Jesus in all of those ways, and then hold them back when they want to feast with their King? So, in the name of Jesus, let the little children come, and welcome to Jesus Christ.