A common sight in Jesus’ time was a father and mother coming to Jesus asking that He bless their children. The Lord was more than willing to oblige.
While his disciples were more inclined to set children aside, Jesus said ‘Do not prevent them from coming to me [i]’. He sided with the parents who cared about their child’s future.
The disciples’ attitudes are contrasted with Jesus. Today, there are still two attitudes toward children and toward the vulnerable. God’s great love and preferential treatment for them is contrasted with those who are more concerned with their own benefit, well-being and comfort.
Perhaps one of the most difficult stories for us to understand is found in Genesis 22. God tests Abraham by asking him to take his son Isaac to Mount Moriah, and there offer him as a human sacrifice.
Human sacrifice is found globally in ancient cultures. Abraham’s generation worshipped fertility gods that required the sacrifice of children. We hear the story and are shocked that the true God would ask such a thing, but Abraham hears God asking for the same thing that the other gods would have required. No-one would have been surprised at such an action.
"To Abraham, not unfamiliar with various ways in which among his heathen ancestors the deity was propitiated, the testing question comes, 'Art thou prepared to obey thy God as fully as the people about thee obey their gods?' and in the putting forth of his faith in the act of obedience, he learns that the nature of his God is different." [ii]
What about us? Are we prepared to sacrifice our children to the gods of culture that would devalue their very existence? Or will see that God’s sacrifice in found with the only Lamb of God? Instead of making our children pay, we receive God’s mercy.
We bring our children and all vulnerable ones to the God who cherishes them and does not demand their blood to pay for our sins.