Why are children so important to God?

In Mark 9:37, Jesus made a remarkable statement about children: “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me.”

It’s the “in my name” bit that explains why children are so important to God, because “in my name” means a child represents Jesus perfectly. That’s WHY we “welcome a little child,” BECAUSE he (or she) represents Jesus so well. So, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this because he represents me perfectly” then makes sense of  “welcomes me” too, because if we welcome what represents Jesus perfectly we’re obviously welcoming him!

So what does “representing” Jesus mean? It means being like him. It puts children in a completely different light, because according to the one who created children in the first place, children are the perfect visible likeness of him. He is like a child, in other words. When Jesus lifted that child into his arms, he did it to illustrate and explain, “This child is what I’m like, so if you welcome a child with that in mind, you’re automatically welcoming me.”

Jesus then takes things one step further by adding, “anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me.” So, Jesus is saying, if what you see in a child leads you to welcoming me, then realize you’re automatically welcoming the Father too, because Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father – “See me,” he said, “and you see the Father” (John 14:9).

You mean the FATHER is just like a child too?! But if the Father sent Jesus to show us what he (the Father) is like, and Jesus is now pointing to a child to show us what he (Jesus) is like, then, yes, the Father is perfectly represented by a child too. Everything Jesus said and did was in his Father’s name – his Father’s words, his Father’s works – all of it meant to reveal the Father in some way, and now here was Jesus saying a child not only revealed what Jesus was like, but revealed his Father too.

The great, majestic God is best represented and best pictured by a child, meaning the heart and nature of God is childlike. Which makes it so easy to “welcome” him. Who can resist a child at that loveable, huggable stage? Well, that’s what God is like! His devotion to us is so childlike. His aims are so simple. He wants nothing for himself. That’s our God, and he sent Jesus to show us that, which Jesus then did by holding a child in his arms and saying, “THIS is what GOD is like!”

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