We wanted to take the final daily devotional of this series to honor Jesus Christ for his impact on children. No one in the history of the world has done more good for children than Jesus Christ.
Tragically, the plight of children in the ancient world was horrendous. Both child sacrifice and child abandonment were common. Only half of all children lived beyond the age of 8. It was not uncommon for people to discard healthy babies by simply placing them out with the trash to be taken to the dump. It was not uncommon for such children to be taken home by the worst kind of people who molested them, sold them into prostitution, or forced them into slavery.
The coming of Jesus made an enormous difference in the treatment of children. Because Jesus himself was born to an impoverished single mother, he was seen by many children in tragic circumstances as giving them both dignity and hope. By coming as a child, Jesus honored childhood.
Although he himself did not have any children, Jesus loved and cared for children. Jesus taught that God is a loving Father and that we are his children who should treat our children as our Father treats us (Matt.7:11). In the Gospel of Matthew alone, Jesus healed children (Matt. 9:23-25), said that God imparts wisdom to children(Matt. 11:25), taught children (Matt. 14:21), said heaven was made for children (Matt. 18:3; 19:14), said that God would punish anyone who harmed a child (Matt. 18:5-6), laid his hands on children to pray over them (Matt. 19:13), invited children to himself (Matt. 19:14), cast demons out of tormented children (Matt. 17:14-18), and was worshiped by children (Matt. 21:15).
Furthermore, Jesus himself was technically born of a single mother (she was not yet married when she became pregnant) and was adopted by the godly man Joseph. Building on this same metaphor, the New Testament teaches that in our salvation, God acts in much the same way; he is our Father who adopts us into his family, the Universal Church (Rom. 8:12-32; Gal. 4:1-7; Eph. 1:5). As God’s people began seeing themselves as spiritual orphans adopted by God the Father, they not only treated children with great dignity as God’s image bearers, like Jesus did, but also began adopting discarded children and telling them about Jesus as a demonstration of the gospel. This practice continues throughout the world today with orphanages, foster care, and adoption: whereby God’s people demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ to children.
God became a child! What an unbelievable truth that we celebrate every year on the world’s biggest holiday of Christmas. God did not merely enter the world as an adult. God entered the world as a baby who chose to go through all of the developmental stages that we do. In so doing, Jesus Christ identified with children, starting in their mothers’ womb. To this day, He gives unequaled dignity, honor, and value to the lives of children.
Thank you, Jesus!
What is your favorite memory from your childhood? What is the favorite memory you have made with your child?
Note: parts of this e-devotional series were adopted from the book Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears