When I was growing up I had a sky blue t-shirt and on the front of it was written: Kids are people too. I was a kid and maybe that is why I liked it. Maybe I found it mentally fascinating because it seemed so obvious. After all, why would such a thing need said? That is where my mind was as a kid. That phrase has a rhythm or a jingle to it that never really got loose from my brain. I bet that is why I titled this page as I have.
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16–ESV)
Healthy kids need Jesus too
The children in this passage do not seem to be ill. They do not seem possessed. They seem to be regular kids, healthy kids; kids without physical shortcomings. The wise adults of that time recognized the value of Jesus’ blessing and so brought their children. The parents and care givers had in mind the spiritual well-being of these kids.
It is easier to see sick kids as needy, but physically healthy ones are at least as needy and potentially more so. Those with troubles seek help. Healthy people are less prone to realize their need of help. These parents saw in Jesus a blessing that would last forever and to help put them on that track brought them for the touch of Jesus.
Take your kids to church
It is crucial that we see God as these wise adults did. We must recognize that Jesus is good for us and for our children. Recognition is not sufficient by itself; we must act upon it. So, actively put your children in positions where they are influenced for good. Do not neglect to bring your kids (or yourself) to Jesus. The home front is one thing, but godly other adults are important too.
Spiritual leaders may get in the way
I suspect that the average Christian today holds the disciples in rather high regard. The shortcomings of these original followers are not hidden, but that does not diminish our esteem of them.
In verse 13 those whom Jesus had chosen were blocking the delivery of blessing. Those hand picked by Jesus were interfering with the mission of Jesus.
In our time we may see spiritual leaders in darker light than Jesus does. We must not blanket them with excuses after all Jesus did not, but neither should we discard them as off base, charlatans, fakes.
God was still able to do his work despite the failings of his closest associates.
God rebuked and redirected those he cared for
Jesus cared for the children, and Jesus cared for the disciples. The children needed the blessings and the disciples needed a rebuke. The teaching moment came through righteous anger as Jesus collided with the false conceptions held by Peter and his fellows.
The disciples were far too attuned to social status. While they were not of the Pharisee’s order, they intuitively grasped the manner of those religious leaders. Prowess, prestige, and compartmentalism of people into this category or that made all the sense in the world to the disciples. The issue was that the kingdom of God was not one of power compartments. The disciples had a great need to learn this and what better way to learn than to suffer a poignant rebuke in a situation that did not immediately make sense.
Jesus valued the sick and the possessed. That is why he worked with them and touched them. That Jesus would value those who held little stature in the community should not be surprising. The disciples were surprised that day, and Jesus took care to help those who were being brought to him.
What if we are (I am) like the disciples?
I have no question that I am more like the disciples in this context. My “purified” picture of what was happening in this passage was that there was a long line of orderly and perfectly disciplined children lined up to see Jesus. They were not rattling all over the place. They were calm and orderly. Well, that type of child I would feel ok letting through to see Jesus, but what if they were running all over the place? What if they were obedient albeit a bit loud and boisterous? I think I would feel that that type of kid and that type of interaction would “break the moment” of whatever Jesus was doing.
So I would judge those parents whose kids were flying all about. I would presume in my mind that they should take those kids home, get them in a better, ordered, less loud frame of mind and then come back to Jesus. The problem with that is again the notion of “fix it first and then come to Jesus.” Another problem is in assuming that boisterous kids are out of line, or that parents of such children are doing a bad job of parenting. Going further it could be asked, Who needed a touch from Jesus more anyway? The uncontrolled and rowdy kids or those being nurtured in a godly home and spiritual environment?
Jesus loved them all
Jesus loved the disciples disciplining them for their error in judgment. He also loved the children and the parents. Probably the kids were a boon to his day for the times had been bleak on his way to Jerusalem. In the kids Jesus saw a bit more of what the earth was to be about. The stuffiness of adult living had not yet descended upon the little people and it was an encouragement to his departure which was soon to happen at Jerusalem.
We must not work for love, or work for grace. The person who would come after Christ must come as they are and accept the guidance as he gives it. Sometimes we will need a rebuke. Sometimes we will need a pat on the back. Always we will need grace. Always we will need Jesus. We must be sure that we stay near Jesus for there is the blessing and the hope of eternal life now and forevermore.