Matthew 19:13-15

13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.

14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.

This account also is recorded in Mark 10:13-16 and Luke 18:15-17.

The disciples tried to stop the children from seeing Jesus (v.13). They must not have learned much from the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 18:2-10.

He demanded that the children be permitted to come to Him. They were not to be refused. His reason was that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). The faith that had brought the children to Jesus was a sign of the faith that would admit one into the kingdom. Christ said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15). If Christ turned away these who believed in Him, there would be no assurance that He would accept others who tried to enter His kingdom by faith. Jesus tenderly took the children in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them. The fact that the children were small enough to be taken into His arms indicates that they were too small to exercise faith in His person. Therefore the faith referred to must have been that of the parents. Thus Jesus gave the disciples an illustration of the necessity of faith for entrance into the kingdom and the validity of faith as a basis for such an entrance. — Pentecost, page 359.

I agree with Pentecost that the chief point the Lord was making here was that those who came to Him with faith for salvation, the way the children came to Him with faith here, would enter the kingdom. The emphasis is on the faith, not on the children. It may be that He was also teaching that children too young to exercise saving faith would get into the kingdom because of their simple faith. But that’s just surmise.

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