Mark – God is On Our Side!
Can you imagine the scene? Crowds of people, children included, trying to get close to Jesus. The children have heard their parents, aunts and uncles talk about Jesus and now they long to see who this Man in person! Children must see, ear, touch and feel as they relish every moment of learning and discovering. Parents are merely following the custom of bringing their kids to be blessed by the Master Teacher, a Rabbi. To be touched by the Hands that heal would be such a blessing! So, they all try to get as close as they can.
I imagine children, who sense and know authentic love, skirting artfully through the crowd to get to Jesus. Because Jesus loves beyond all our thinking, he welcomes these kids clamoring to get to him. This unnerves the disciples who suddenly become “security” body guards to Jesus and forget the mission for a bit. Children “in that time” were to be seen and not heard.
Jesus sets them straight. Jesus sets us straight on how important every human being is to God. He also explains how simple, believing faith in our Father is the way to live our lives.
Mark 10, NLT
Jesus Blesses the Children
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE LEARN?
First marriage, then children; the sequence is logical. Unlike many “moderns” today, the Jews of that day looked on children as a blessing and not a burden, a rich treasure from God and not a liability (Ps. 127— 128). To be without children brought a couple both sorrow and disgrace. It was customary for parents to bring their children to the rabbis for a blessing, and so it was reasonable that they would bring the little ones to Jesus. Some were infants in arms (Luke 18:15), while others were young children able to walk, and He welcomed them all.
Why would the disciples rebuke the people and try to keep the children away from Jesus? (See Matt. 15:23 and Mark 6:36 for other instances of the disciples’ seeming hardness of heart.) They probably thought they were doing Him a favor by helping Him protect His time and conserve His strength. In other words, they did not consider the children to be important! Their attitude was strange, because Jesus had already taught them to receive the children in His name and to be careful not to cause any of them to stumble (Mark 9:36.). Once again, they forgot what He had taught them.
The phrase “much displeased” is too tame. Our Lord actually became indignant as He openly rebuked His disciples for standing in the way. Then He announced that the children were better kingdom examples than were the adults. We tell the children to behave like adults, but Jesus tells the adults to model themselves after the children!
In what ways are children a pattern? In their humble dependence on others, their receptivity, their acceptance of themselves and their position in life. Of course, Jesus was speaking about an unspoiled child, not one who was trying to act like an adult. A child enjoys much but can explain very little. Children live by faith. By faith they accept their lot, trusting others to care for them and see them through.
We enter God’s kingdom by faith, like little children: helpless, unable to save ourselves, totally dependent on the mercy and grace of God. We enjoy God’s kingdom by faith, believing that the Father loves us and will care for our daily needs. What does a child do when he or she has a hurt or a problem? Take it to Father and Mother! What an example for us to follow in our relationship with our heavenly Father! Yes, God wants us to be childlike, but not childish!
Jesus took these precious little ones in His loving arms and blessed them—and what a blessing that must have been!
Dear Heavenly Father,
This story touches my heart each time I read it, for I am simple. I want to mature and keep growing in You, but with simple, believing, uncomplicated faith, like a child. Help me not to be childish but childlike in my faith and actions. Thank you for not turning anyone away from You. You remind us today, that ALL are welcome. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. You are the first one I think of when I rise and the last when I go to bed at night. You are Life.
In Jesus Name, Amen