He took the children in his arms . . . and blessed them. Mark 10:16
At a primary school in Greenock, Scotland, three teachers on maternity leave brought their babies to school every two weeks to interact with schoolchildren. Playtime with babies teaches children empathy, or care and feeling for others. Often, the most receptive are the students who are “a little challenging,” as one teacher put it. “It’s often [schoolchildren] who interact more on a one-to-one level.” They learn “how much hard work it is to take care of a child,” and “more about each other’s feelings as well.”
Learning from an infant to care about others isn’t a new idea to believers in Jesus. We know the One who came as the baby Jesus. His birth changed everything we understand about caring relationships. The first to learn of Christ’s birth were shepherds, a humble profession involving care of weak and vulnerable sheep. Later, when children were brought to Jesus, He corrected disciples who thought children unworthy. “Let the little children come to me,” he said, “and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).
Jesus “took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” (v. 16). In our own lives, as His sometimes “challenging” children, we could be considered unworthy too. Instead, as the One who came as a child, Christ accepts us with His love—thereby teaching us the caring power of loving babies and all people.
What do you enjoy about spending time with children? What is Jesus teaching you today about how to love and care for others?
Our caring God, when I forget to show empathy for others, help me to care as You would.
The account in Mark 10:13–16 of bringing children to Jesus appears in all three Synoptic Gospels (see also Matthew 19:13–15; Luke 18:15–17). Matthew and Mark give the setting as the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. Jesus had left Galilee in the north where He’d been teaching His disciples. In Judea to the south, crowds “came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them” (Mark 10:1). Sometime later, as Christ again taught the disciples, people brought their little children to Him for blessing and prayer (Matthew 19:13; Mark 10:13). The disciples considered this an unwanted interruption, but Jesus didn’t. As Scripture shows, He loved and valued children and issued a harsh warning against misleading them (Matthew 18:6). He used this “interruption” as another teaching opportunity: we’re to receive the kingdom of God as a little child with trusting simplicity and unassuming humility (Mark 10:15).