15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Many of us are familiar with the story in Luke 18 were Jesus bless’ the children and rebukes the disciples for getting in the way, what we often forget is that this moment occurs while Jesus is making His final journey to Jerusalem to lay down His life on the cross for our sins. If we back up for a moment and look at what Jesus did on His way to Jerusalem we see the ultimate picture of a servant, one who was willing to get self out of the way so others could be served.
Look back with me at Luke 17:11 and what happened along the way as Jesus heads to the cross. At the start of this journey Jesus heals 10 lepers, the outcasts of society who stood at a distance and cried out to Jesus for mercy all were healed even though Jesus knew only one would come back praising God with thanksgiving in his heart.
As Jesus and His disciples traveled on He told them a parable about a judge, who neither feared God nor cared about men, and a poor widow who was being oppressed. She came to the judge to ask him for justice, and even though he was unwilling to assist her at first, she was so persistent that she finally wore him out and he help her.
Jesus then shared another parable dealing with the self-righteous hearts in those around Him, hearts that caused them to look down on others with contempt. The contrast in the parable is between a tax collector and a Pharisee who go to the temple to pray. The Pharisees were the Jewish religious leaders, considered the holiest of holy men, and held in very high regard by most Jews. In contrast the tax collectors worked for the Roman government and were despised by the Jews as the scum of the earth. The Pharisee looked down on those around him and exalted himself while the tax collector just looked down and humbled himself. Parable of this story is that God despises the arrogant but give grace to the humble in spirit.
After this, we see parents bringing their children to Jesus so that He could lay His hands on them and bless them. When the disciples saw this they rebuked them, viewing these kids as bothersome, and assumed that Jesus would feel the same way. However, the Lord had a different attitude about the whole thing. Luke 18:16-17 “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
As Jesus travels toward the cross to serve us by laying down His life for us, we start to see a pattern developing. A leper, a widow, a tax collector and a child, what do they have in common? They are all people of no social status, the nobodies in the eyes of the world. Jesus has a different opinion of them; He says that the kingdom of God belongs to the nobodies, people who don’t approach God on the merits of their own status, but fall at the feet of the Savior begging for His mercy and grace.
As Jesus served the nobodies scattered along the road of His life, we need to remember HE was on His way to the cross. He knew the pain and anguish that was ahead of Him and it would have been easy to focus on His own needs and ignore the needs all around Him. Jesus got out of the way of Himself, he didn’t let His situation block the way for others. Which is exactly what the disciples did, they got in the way of serving, in the way of letting the little children come to Jesus. What is getting in the way of your serving? Is it an attitude, may be looking down on the nobodies or tired of having to share Jesus, feeling left out and burned out so you try to keep them out. There is more than enough room for us all; God wants us to approach Him with the faith of a child. To climb up on His lap with no agenda, no preconceived notions, simply to settle into a love that is beyond comprehension, a love that is not earned but freely given. When was the last time you crawled into your daddy’s lap and just let Him hold you? Is it time to stop trying and start trusting? What is keeping you from God?
For some of us what is getting in the way of our serving is the dirt and smell, we don’t want to deal with the disease that comes with people. Let’s be honest Christianity is not a clean sterilized hospital where we all have our nice little jobs and there is always a team of professionals standing by. It’s a filthy slum, filled with the dirt and disease of sin, a slum Jesus was willing to wade through, the question is, are we? For some of us what is getting in the way of our serving is pride, or prejudice or selfishness. It’s easy to get in the way, but a servant is one who is willing to get out of the way so others can find the way. What is getting in the way of your serving?