Revelations from the Word

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Children in the kingdom of God

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"And whoever receives a little child [paidion] like this one in My name, receives Me. But, if anyone corrupts [skandalizo] one of these little ones who believes in Me, it would be better for him that a millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be thrown to the bottom of the sea… Beware of scorning a single one of these little ones; for I tell you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven… in the same way, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that a single one of these little ones be lost" (Matthew 18:5-14).

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews explains to Jews who accepted Jesus as their Messiah, that He has come as paidion to give aid to the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16):

  • He put His trust in God and then received the children of Israel as His inheritance (Hebrews 2:13),

  • He shared the same nature as them to render the devil powerless and deliver them from bondage resulting from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15),

  • He had to be made like them in order to be a merciful and faithful High Priest in God's service (Hebrews 2:17).

Little children represent those who are newly born in the Kingdom of God with their vulnerability and sensitivity. Those who are more mature must take care not to cause them to fall – first meaning of the Greek verb skandalizo – but to receive them as they would receive Jesus Himself. In the same way we must take care not to scorn them, for angels are watching over them. In fact, their angels are waiting for an order from the Heavenly Father to intervene (Psalm 103:20) and assure their protection against the enemy (Psalm 91:10-11). The angels are sent by God to exercise their ministry amongst those who are already in the Kingdom or are going to enter it (Hebrew 1:13-14).

Little children are sanctified (set apart for God) by Jesus Christ when they enter into His Kingdom, that is why He is not ashamed to call them 'brothers' since He sanctified Himself for God (Hebrew 2:11). Jesus came first to the Fold of Israel, then to the fold of the nations (John 10:16). So Jesus is their Shepherd, and if a single sheep wanders off , He will do everything to find it again, and there will then be a feast in the Kingdom (Luke 15:6). Jesus has the responsibility for all the sheep that His Heavenly Father has given Him. If these remain under His crook and staff, they will not perish, and no one will be able to snatch them from His hand (John 10:28-29). Jesus is the 'Leader of salvation' of all these little children who believe in Him, and He wants to make them glorious sons (Hebrew 2:10 Darby). He will identify each of them by announcing his name before His brothers in the midst of the Assembly [ekklésia, the Church] at His second coming (Hebrew 2:10-12).