“Do you hear what these children are saying?” [the chief priests and teachers of the law] asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”
Children have a gift of getting to the heart of the matter. The children in the temple during Holy Week continued to shout and praise Jesus’ name, shouting “Hosanna!” just as they had done on the road to Jerusalem on Sunday. For them, the triumph was not over. The children continued to celebrate when the adults around them were losing momentum in their faith.
The grumbling of the chief priests and teachers of the law about the noisy children is met with a response from Jesus that is a reminder of what they know all too well themselves from reading the Psalms–praise from the children is actually prescribed by God and is therefore made holy.
I’m reminded of this every Sunday when I play piano for the Sunday School singing time for the children in our small church. For over twenty years now I’ve watched a generation of Wiser Lake Chapel children, including my own three, grow up in that church basement, singing the same praise and worship songs from the time they sit as toddlers on a bigger sibling’s lap, to the point when they “graduate” to the high school class. Some of those children have now become the Sunday School teachers, with their own children sitting in the very chairs they sat in such a short time ago. There is nothing more invigorating than hearing children singing energetically with joy, knowing that God Himself has ordained their voices should be lifted up in praise.
So on this sad and lonely week that marches inexorably to Friday, to Golgotha, to suffering and death, the unwelcome shouts and songs of the children must have been soothing balm to Jesus’ soul. The children knew His heart when the adults around Him were too blind to see and too deaf to hear.