We're taught that Jesus loves the little children, does He?

Many of us are familiar with the phrase, "Jesus loves the little children" from the song we learned in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School when we ourselves were children. The original lyrics were written by the preacher Clarence Herbert Woolston (1856—1927) and go like this:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.

Jesus died for all the children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus died for all the children
Of the world.

Jesus rose for all the children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus rose for all the children
Of the world.

The 1860 poem by Anna Bartlett Warner is familiar to many of us as well and also emphasizes Jesus' love for children. It goes like this:

Jesus loves me - this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me, he who died,
Heaven's gate to open wide.
He will wash away my sin;
Let his little child come in.
Jesus loves me, loves me still,
Though I'm very weak and ill.
From his shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.
Jesus loves me! He will stay,
Close beside me all the way.
Then his little child will take,
Up to heaven for his dear sake.

Songs and poems composed by men and women are all well and good, but does the Scripture support the idea that Jesus loves the little children? Yes!

Mark 10:13–16 records one of the most well-known accounts of Jesus loving the little children: "And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. … ' And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them."

The disciples believed that children were a distraction, an unwanted interruption from Jesus' teaching and ministry. However, Jesus wanted it to be known that He loves the little children and to such belong the kingdom of God. Jesus did not limit His ministry to any one particular group, but instead broke down barriers of separation (Ephesians 2:14–15). His ministry did not exempt anyone whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, young or old (Galatians 3:28; Revelation 5:9).

Not only did Jesus welcome children, He healed many children throughout His earthly ministry. He cast out demons (Mark 7:24–30; 9:14–27), cured children from disease (John 4:46–53), and raised at least one child from the dead (Luke 8:40–56).

Jesus used children as an example of humility to emulate. Matthew 18:2–4 says, "And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Children, although certainly not without sin (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:3), are dependent and trusting. They do not seek to provide for themselves, but gladly receive all they need from their parents. They do not attempt to earn their keep. They are trusting in that they believe what their parents tell them. They are humble. They are a living metaphor for how all of us must enter into the kingdom and be saved; that is, not by our own efforts or good works but by a believing dependence and reliance on Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9). As children we come to Christ in our weakness and insufficiency and depend on the grace of God to save us (2 Corinthians 3:5; Romans 5:6). Likewise, as children we grow in our relationship with Jesus by feeding on the pure spiritual milk of the word of God (1 Peter 2:2–3). Believers in Jesus Christ are not to remain immature in their thinking and understanding, but grow to full maturity in Christ. Yet we are to remain child-like in regard to evil (1 Corinthians 14:20; Romans 16:19).

Whether as an illustration for how we must enter the kingdom, grow as infants in the Lord, or be inexperienced in the ways of evil, one thing is clear—"Jesus loves the little children." And so, too, must we (James 1:27; Ephesians 6:4). We must love them by bringing them up in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved them enough to die and rise again for them.


Related Truth:

Does the Bible talk about the way Jesus interacted with children?

What is childlike faith? Does the Bible instruct us to have childlike faith?

How is Jesus a friend of sinners?

What was the historical Jesus like? Who was Jesus as a person?

Why doesn't the Bible say much about Jesus' childhood?


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