As a pastor of a church with dozens of young kids, and as a father of a two year old, I like to think of myself as something of an expert on kids. Ok, maybe not, but I am a keen observer of the kind of wild freedom kids have. From the second a toddler wakes up, to the moment they crash at the end of a busy day, they don’t think twice about what they need. I’ve noticed kids carry no wallet, cell phone, or car keys. They don’t worry about where their meal is coming from or what they should do that day. They just go, a carefree, full tilt, running, playing, laughing, crying, emotional roller coaster of awesomeness. Kids are so cool.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus compared us to kids, but kids with a Father in heaven who loves us and provides for us. I like the Message version of 1 Peter 5:7 which reinforces this beautiful relationship; “Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.” This is what we refer to when we talk about the freedom of the Gospel. It’s the deep abiding belief that God has provided for us.
Matthew 5:17-20 gives us the backstory and explains why and how we are allowed to live with this freedom. Jesus says that He came to accomplish the purpose of the Scriptures. Through Jesus, God has made a way for us to live into the whole story of the Bible, fulfilling the Law and Prophets in every way. Jesus’ mission, ministry, and purpose was not to abolish what God had said through the Old Testament, but, as D.A. Carson said, “to serve as that which those Scriptures point.” Paul echoes this in Romans 10:4 when he says that, “Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given.”
As a parent, I see the big picture of what my child needs. She needs education, food, clothing, community, faith formation, fun, discipline, and love. But there’s good news for my little girl, we’ve provided for it. We’ve created space for her to thrive, run, leap, learn, and grow. We fulfilled the long list of needs and her response is to simply live into that, loved and carefree.
As followers of Jesus we’re invited to live into the grace that God has extended to us, taking the love and freedom we have been shown and extending it to others.