Jesus’ radical life of love is the clearest glimpse we have into the heart of God.
Everywhere Jesus went he broke down barriers in order to welcome in life and love. His message of forgiveness and mercy offered hope to the disenfranchised, broken-hearted, and hurting. Today, he continues to call each of us to himself through love.
One amazing way Jesus showed us God’s heart was through his love for children. In a cultural era when children were not seen as incredibly important, Jesus took the time to show us how God sees and loves them.
Here are three specific stories of Jesus revealing God’s heart for children.
Let’s start with the big one. Anyone who frequented church growing up is likely familiar with this story. Familiarity can diminish meaning, and when something meaningful is said too much, it can become a cliché. But that shouldn’t be the case for this story.
In this story, Jesus is breaking cultural norms. More than that, he is going out of his own way to show how much he rejoices over children. He disrupts cultural standards by welcoming children into his presence when he could have been focusing on adults.
By doing this, he is putting his Father’s heart on display for the world to see. “Jesus loves the little children” may be a cute Sunday school song, but it is also a revolutionary truth about the love of our God.
In Matthew 18 Jesus’ disciples get into a little argument.
“Who,” they ask, “will be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
Jesus flipped the cultural paradigm of power upside-down with his answer.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
In this response, Jesus not only speaks of the hope of the Gospel to the poor and hurting, but he specifically identifies the inherent worth and beauty of children. He shows that God looks upon children with an intense, welcoming love.
Jesus was always in high demand. In several instances, we see him so overwhelmed by crowds that he sneaks out for some alone time. Other times, he has to actually escape a mob coming for him.
His reputation had spread far and wide: This man named Jesus of Nazareth walks with the power of God, and he heals many afflictions.
Jesus performed so many miracles. He healed so many people. As John wrote, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
This should make us focus even more on the stories the authors of the Gospels chose to share. That is why the story found in Luke 18 is so astounding. Out of everything he could be doing, Jesus takes time to visit the house of a ruler of the synagogue to bring his daughter back to life.
Jesus could have been healing much more prominent figures in the cultural hierarchy of the time. Instead, he breathes life into this little girl, showing us God’s incredible heart.
In each of these instances, Jesus’ actions show the will of God—to love, to welcome, and to heal children.
We are invited to love children.