Mark: The Little Children and Jesus

Read: Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing their children to Jesus for Him to touch them. Wouldn’t you? How I wish Jesus could touch our children while they were still innocent little ones. Yes, I would press in to see my girls touched by the savior!

The disciples, the chosen ones, misread the situation and begin to rebuke the people.

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:13-14

Indignant. John Mark chooses this word twice in this chapter alone (10:14 and 10:41), then a third time in Mark 14:3-4 as Jesus’s feet are anointed with precious oil. Matthew chooses the term three times as well and Luke only once. In all, seven times we see this word in the New Testament. It catches my attention this morning as I view the scene.

It was remarkable. Jesus gave the disciples “the look,” then moved beyond them. I’m sure by now they were familiar with His eyes and tone of voice. Indignant indeed. Back away. Let Him have his way.

Soak this in.

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:16

Remember how significant it is to bestow a blessing on someone in Jewish culture, a concept lost in our modern movement.

The scene is the subject of artistic renderings and while most of the cheesy images of Jesus as a caucasian, bearded friendly guy, I’d like to think they are well intentioned, trying to capture the moment.

In the midst of the exchange, Jesus lays this thought on His disciples and, I believe, on the ears of the parents who were brave enough to withstand the initial rebukes:

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15

Like a little child: helpless, dependent, innocent, without title or business card identity, bold. What other words come to mind?

A little child has no problem letting you know they are hungry, wet or dirty, or want something. It can be seen as selfish, but they have no other choice. If they don’t beg for our attention, we would not know of their need. When a baby cries, we learn to discern the reason and strongly desire to satisfy the needs of the little one.

When a four year old nudges her way into your lap, she is giving you the opportunity to show love unconditionally. As parents, we fondly remember these moments more than the times that they spilled the milk in the process, but that happens too. Glasses broken, peace disturbed, hair pulled, etc., we look beyond all of this as our child relentlessly pursues us for attention.

Is that how we pursue the kingdom of God?


Thoughts about serving others

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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