Monday Memo 1134: "Shut Them Up"
The theme of our latest series is that no one is too young to find and fulfill their God-given purpose. We've been studying young people of purpose in the Bible and this week, let's look at what Jesus had to say when the religious leaders tried to shut down and shut up the children's praise in the Temple:
The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “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, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” (Matthew 21:14-16).
Jesus quoted Psalm 8 in response to His critics and earlier in Matthew, He had explained why God chose to reveal Himself and His purpose to children and young people:
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do" (Matthew 11:25-26).
It's remarkable that Jesus was healing the blind and the lame in the Temple for everyone to see. When the children saw it, they praised God because they saw what He was doing. Yet the religious leaders, who also should have been praising and thanking God, were offended by what was going on and wanted Jesus to tell the children to shut up! Yet Jesus was clear with the leaders that He was not going to quiet the children because this was God's will—to show the children things that He had hidden from the older and wiser men, or things the wise men had refused to see.
The point of this week's study is clear. Young people have access to an understanding of God that their elders often don't have. Therefore, it's important that older saints pay attention to what young people are saying and hearing from the Lord. What's more, young people can hear and know God's will for their lives and for the direction of the church. Their age doesn't matter to God. In this scene from Matthew, the children saw Jesus healing the blind and restoring lost limbs, and they praised God. Their elders saw the same things and tried to shut Him and them up. So who was the more spiritual? Who was more in touch with God's purpose?
If you are a young person, don't be too quick to dismiss what you're seeing and hearing from the Lord, for it's God's pleasure to reveal those things to you. If you're an older person, don't be so quick to shut down or shut up a young person who has a heart for God. Listen to what they are saying and watch what they are doing, for you at one time also had their innocence, but lost it along the way when you grew up.
The elders are to help guide the young, not control or stifle them. If Jesus refused to shut down the youth in Matthew 21, then He has the same attitude today. Therefore, if you want to know what God is doing, go check with a young person who has a heart for God and stay in touch with the strength of the young, which is to see God for who He is and praise and serve Him accordingly. Have a blessed week.