Matthew 21:16 – “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” NIV
What were the children saying that upset the chief priests and teachers of the law so much that they wanted Jesus to put a stop to it? Were they cursing God? Defaming the Temple? Mocking their elders? No, the shout that the children were making in the Temple courts after seeing Jesus heal people that upset them was: “Hosanna to the Son of David,” (Matt. 21:15 – NIV)
It had been quite a day so far. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while hundreds if not thousands had shouted the very same words. He drove the money changers out of the Temple courts and then proceeded to heal people. The children were convinced that what they had heard the crowds shout earlier was true, and so they began the cry. “Hosanna” literally means “O Lord, save.” “Son of David” was an expression that was used to refer to the promised Messiah.
Even the children were convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah. However, the chief priests and teachers of the Law were threatened by the influence that Jesus had on people, and they attempted to get Jesus to quiet the kids. He heard them, and then asked his critics if they had never read a line that David had written in Psalm 8. The children got it; but their leaders did not. They chose to resist Jesus rather than follow Him.
I wonder how different it is with children today. I often find that many children find it easy to believe in God and Jesus. However, many times they are discouraged in their belief by adults who purport to believe but in reality act like atheists. Their walk doesn’t match their talk, and the kids pick up on it quickly. Any child-like faith that they had is many times turned into cynicism, and unless they have an encounter with the living Jesus, they become skeptical that He is really the one to follow in this life.
We have many congregations struggling to stay vital let alone fulfill the mission of Jesus in this country today. How many are more concerned about meeting the needs of the adults rather than encouraging the faith of their children and youth? How many times do we as adults discourage children’s ideas that take faith and trust rather than encouraging them? How do our children and grandchildren see and hear us treat our God and others?