Coming to the King like a Child (Matthew 19:13–15) - Radical

Coming to the King like a Child (Matthew 19:13–15)

“Then children were brought to him that he may lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuke the people but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for, to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And he laid his hands on them and went away.”
– Matthew 19:13–15

Is Matthew 19:13–15 not a beautiful picture of Jesus’ love for children? I just, I mean, just imagine that scene, all these kids coming up surrounding Jesus and the disciples thinking, “No, this is a really important teacher. Send them away.” And Jesus says, “what are you doing?” And he brings them up and he lays his hands on them and he prays for them. And he says these words, “Let the little children come to me, do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” That’s quite a statement. To such belongs the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus Receives The Humble And Rejects The Pride

What is Matthew 19:13–15 teaching? I think the primary truth is crystal clear. What is it about children that’s being expressed here? Jesus receives the humble and Jesus rejects the proud. Let me say that again. Jesus receives the humble and Jesus rejects the proud and we know that’s the meaning because of what happens right after this in Matthew 19 as this rich young man, he who looks important like okay, now this is the person that should be around Jesus. This is the person that the important teacher needs to be around rich, influential, young man.

And yet we see in this rich young man, a total lack of humility, an unwillingness to come to Jesus and surrender all that he is and all that he has all of his possessions to Jesus. And Jesus, at the end of this says, “Everyone who’s left house, brothers, sisters, or father, mother, children lands for my name sake will receive a hundred fold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last and the last first.” Jesus is turning the tables upside down. He receives the humble. He rejects the proud.

Matthew 19:13–15 Reminds Us To Trust In The Lord

So in prayer, we say, Jesus, you are our Lord. We come to you like children right now, crawling up into your lap in this sense. Saying we trust you. We trust you with our lives. We trust you with our families. Trust you as your church. We trust you and it’s everything going on in the world around us. I just think about Lord, when my kids come up and just crawl into my lap and just hold onto them and they’re resting in my arms. We just, in prayer right now, we take that position. We so gladly take that position.

All of us, no matter who we are, no matter what we have achieved, like we’ve achieved anything apart from your grace, no matter what we have, no matter what importance the world may or may not attach to us. We come to you like little children before you as our father in heaven in prayer. And we say, we trust in you with everything going on in our lives right now. We trust in you. We rest in you. Find security in you. Find joy in you. We rest in your love for us and your arms around us and your direction of our lives and your sovereignty over all things.

Matthew 19:13–15 Prays To Rid Of Us Pride

We look around us in the world and we don’t find rest in anything, any one around us in the world. We find rest in you. You’re our rest. You’re our delight. We love coming to you. We love coming to you as our father in heaven. Love coming to you. We love you. We love you, Jesus. And we are so thankful to be children who can say to you, “Oh God, our father in heaven.”

So rid us of all pride, we pray. Rid us of all pride. Just pray for removal of all pride in me. Pray for humility in my life, my heart, the depth of who I am. And I pray that over my brothers and sisters who are praying right now. Give us the humility of children, gives the faith of children in you, our father, knowing you receive the humble and you reject the proud. We love you, Jesus and we pray all these things in your name as children of our father in heaven. Amen.


David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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