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. 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. (Mark 10:13-14 NLT)
Every time I read this passage, I have to wonder why the disciples were so opposed to the children coming to Jesus. Had these men become so cold and calloused that they hated children? I don’t think so. What then could have caused them to act the way they did?
Scripture tells us that they were trying to protect Jesus. It appears that there was a lot more than just one or two children. Actually the way this passage was written in the original, it indicates that the parents began bringing children and then kept bringing them. Perhaps the disciples looked up and suddenly saw a sea of faces. We forget how exhausting all of this must have been to them. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that all of these boys and girls sat there perfectly quiet. There were babies crying and boys wrestling and little girls who were just too shy. The New Living Translation says that the disciples ‘scolded the parents.’ The translation known as The Message says, – ‘The disciples shooed them off’, indicating that perhaps it was the children the disciples addressed. Whoever and however the disciples did it, it upset Jesus. As we will see in another study, the ones who wound up getting scolded that day were the twelve.
We could accuse the disciples of things like: pride, self-centeredness and insensitivity. Yet I think that their greatest problem was their failure to realize the value of even the smallest soul. Consider what Charles Spurgeon wrote about this incident –
“These good men thought that the bringing of children to the Savior would cause an interruption—He was engaged in much better work—He had been confounding the Pharisees, instructing the masses and healing the sick. Could it be right to pester Him with children? The little ones would not understand His teaching and they did not need His miracles—why should they be brought in to disturb His great doings?
This feeling that children may not come to Christ may be derived from a doubt about their capacity to receive the blessing which Jesus is able to give. I have sometimes met with a deeper spiritual experience in children of 10 and 12 than I have in certain persons of 50 and sixty!” (C.H. Spurgeon)
What happened to the disciples also happens to a lot of Christians. They had become so caught up in the routine and requirement of religion that they failed to realize that God’s primary purpose for creating man was – RELATIONSHIP. Who better to enjoy the blessing of relationship than with children? Who better to bring Jesus some pleasure than little boys and girls. That is not to say that only children can bless the Lord, but that in order for any of us to bring Him a blessing, we must become like a child in our faith – “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mk 10:14-15 NLT)
I thank God to be a part of a church that places great value upon ministering to children and youth. Perhaps the greatest thing Twin Oaks will ever accomplish will be to bring boys and girls to Jesus!