Skip to cookie consent

From: Child participation – Footsteps 38

How to encourage children to share their views and take part in community activities

Jesus and children

The stories of Jesus’ relationship with children show his positive attitude towards them. He refused to accept the attitudes of his society towards children, which regarded them as insignificant and unimportant. Just as he was willing to touch the leper and the unclean woman, so he was willing to pick up a child to teach the disciples a lesson and to gather children around him as being important in themselves.

Read Matthew 18:1-10

Here Jesus turns a discussion between proud adults arguing about who was the greatest into a lesson – to show that the Kingdom of God places the greatest value on the least. Jesus identifies himself with the child. ‘Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me.’

Read Matthew 19:13-15

Just a few verses later, the same disciples are trying to prevent children from seeing Jesus. Once again he confirms their importance to him by saying, ‘The Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’

Read Matthew 21:15-16

The religious authorities disapprove of the children’s behaviour as they shout ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ in the temple. Jesus is quick to take the side of the children and recognises their ability to understand and share spiritual truth.

Jesus’ actions reinforced these same priorities. Two of the three people he raised from the dead were children: Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21-43) and the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17). He used a small boy whose willingness to share his lunch revealed the doubt of the disciples and, as a result, five thousand people were fed. Jesus himself provides a perfect example of child development: ‘The child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him.’ (Luke 2:40) Surely these simple words should guide us in caring for and suppporting all children, made in the image of God.

For discussion

Stephen Rand is the Prayer and Campaigns Director of Tearfund.

Similarly Tagged Content

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Sign up now to get Footsteps magazine

A free digital and print magazine for community development workers. Covering a diverse range of topics, it is published three times a year.

Sign up now

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.