"If a person accepts a little child like this in my name, then that person accepts me."
— Matthew 18:5 NLT
There are two key thoughts here. First, Jesus is talking about actual children. His rebuke of the disciples when they didn't welcome children, but pushed them away, is clearly an example of that.
But, there is a deeper issue that will dominate the rest of the chapter. Because children in Jesus' culture were powerless, without rights, and vulnerable, they became the symbol for disciples who are powerless, without rights, and vulnerable. On the surface, they may not have anything to offer the community. But Kingdom thinking is upside down to "the way men think." To be on the side of God means to be on the side of welcoming, accepting, and receiving "little ones" whether they are actual children or simply disciples who are little in the sight of the world.
Because Jesus adamantly rejects the normal channels to fame and fortune and instead walks the way of the cross—the punishment reserved for the powerless, those without rights, and those who are vulnerable—his disciples should welcome and care for those like their Savior!
Forgive me, O God, for judging people on the surface out of a selfish desire for what they can give me or how they can help me or how they make me feel comfortable. Open my heart to receive the "little ones" you place around me each day. Give me more of your shepherd's heart. In the name of Jesus, the Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 19:13-15
- James 2:1-5
- Proverbs 3:5-6
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.