“But Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14 (ESV)
So often people think they have to use these great, long, eloquent words when they speak to God. When praying out loud, they’re often more concerned about what those listening to the prayer think of what they’re saying than God, to Whom the prayer is supposed to be intended to begin with! The Great God…the Creator of us all…knows us better than we know ourselves! Since this is the case, do you think we really impress Him when we try to be something other than what we really truly are when we come to Him? Or when we try to represent Him to others!
“13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” -Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)
If you are a parent, would you prefer your son or daughter to come to you all stiff and polished trying their best to impress you and then walk away and sigh and relax themselves letting their nervousness go once they were away from you, or would you prefer them to come to you as they really are? Using words they would normally use, relaxed and friendly? Well since we are made in God’s image, and God is our heavenly Father, I think our Father God wants us to be real and true and ourselves with Him too. After all, the pharisees didn’t impress Jesus at all with their lofty words and behaviors:
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
“9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:9-14 (NKJV)
The pharisee wanted to be seen, he wanted to impress because it wasn’t God he was seeking acceptance from, but man. He was boastful and proud and depended on his own righteousness to make him seem worthy to others, and perhaps even to himself. Perhaps he fooled only himself. However the tax collector (often known in those days for being unfair in their dealings with the common citizens) KNEW his place. He KNEW he was a sinner and didn’t deserve God’s mercy. He came to God in all honesty, fully confessing his fallen state and begging God to be merciful to him. The tax collector was depending on GOD’s righteousness because he knew he would never be righteous enough to be worthy in and of himself. The tax collector is the one that Jesus honored in this parable.
I think as this week progresses, we would all do well to remember to come to the Lord as a little child. A child who knows he or she is a child who needs to be led, who knows the need outside of himself (or herself) for help, who hasn’t reached that point in life where he or she thinks they can do just fine on their own, thank you very much. The eyes of a little child, I think, shows the innocence that Jesus wants to see in us when we come to Him.
We should come to Christ just as we are…in need of Someone bigger and wiser to lead us and able to trust the only One who is deserving of that innocent and full of a trust, and be willing to admit, as the tax collector did, that we are sinners in need of God’s mercy. It is CHRIST’s righteousness that bought our pardon on that cruel cross, it’s CHRIST’s righteousness that rolled away the stone on that resurrection morning. Not ours. Not the pharisees…but Christ’s alone. We would do well to keep that in our remembrance!
Let us remember this week that “All of our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6):
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (KJV)
So we ought to come to Jesus exactly as we are…open handed and open hearted with the innocence of a child. Allowing ourselves to be led by Him and knowing He knows us inside and out and that only through the shed blood of Christ can we come boldly into His presence, and He wants us to do just that…boldly but honestly…as a little child who may have run open-armed into Jesus lap that day so long ago 🙂