Faith Like a Child—Matthew 19
Read Chapter 19
In addition to serving as a pastor, I work as a professional musician. While learning music, I ask questions: What is the major theme? Where is the tension, the resolution? These questions help me understand the music. These questions work with biblical texts as well.
In Matthew 19, the first three verses set the context. Jesus has “finished saying these things” (v.1), a clue that Matthew has ended the fourth of five teaching sections. Jesus leaves home, Galilee, journeying toward Jerusalem and the grand finale, the crucifixion and resurrection. Here is the first theme. Jesus is healing the crowds. This healing is not simply the cure of symptoms. Jesus transforms the crowds freeing them to live into new life. Jesus’ presence makes them whole.
The tension builds. Like a counter-theme, the Pharisees enter and try to ensnare Jesus with a lengthy discussion about divorce. Then the disciples get confused and start asking questions. Children are brought to Jesus, but the disciples try to push the children away. In Jesus’ day children had no standing in their culture. Instead, Jesus is doing something new. Jesus welcomes and blesses the children
This is the dominant theme, a child, helplessly dependent on God, is the model for what it means to inherit the Kingdom. A radical idea then and now. We receive this entrance into God’s merciful kingdom by grace alone and with the utter dependence of a child. In the midst of play, or even in the midst of a meltdown, children have the amazing gift of tenacious, singular focus. All that matters is the Now. That’s exactly what God’s grace is all about—the new life given to us through God’s grace each moment of every day. Grace and love given as a gift; Jesus blessing the children who are brought to him—new life in the kingdom of heaven.
In the midst of the dissonance and chaos of our world, this new life surrounds us now.
For all that has been, all that is, and all that is yet to be, thanks be to God.
- How do children show you what is means to inherit the kingdom of heaven?
- In times of chaos, uncertainty, and fear where have you felt and seen God’s loving grace?
Blessed Jesus, please give me the faith of a child so that I may be singularly focused on your great love for me. And as I am filled with your love, help me share that love with others through simple acts of kindness and mercy. Amen.
Pastor Laura Wind lives in Winston-Salem with her husband Heath, daughter Catherine, and Nike the dog. In addition to beekeeping, she enjoys gardening, quilting, making music, and plotting her next novel.