The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:14
My mother has been committed to many things over the course of her life, but one that has remained constant is her desire to see little children introduced to Jesus. Of the few times I’ve witnessed my mother display disagreement publicly, all were when someone attempted to cut a children’s ministry budget in favor of what they felt were more “serious” expenditures. “I took off one summer when I was pregnant with your brother, but that’s it,” she told me. I did a little family math and I realized my mom had been working with children in the church for fifty-five years.
Mark 10 records one of the endearing stories in the Gospels commonly titled “The Little Children and Jesus.” People were bringing children to Jesus that He might touch and bless them. But the disciples tried to prevent this from happening. Mark records Jesus as “indignant”—and rebuking His very own disciples: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (v. 14).
Charles Dickens wrote, “I love these little people; and it’s not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” And it’s not a slight thing when we, who are older, do all we can to make sure the little children are never hindered from the ever-fresh love of Jesus.
If you were introduced to Jesus as a child, who were the supporting adults in that memory? What kind of impression does Jesus being indignant in this story make on you?
Jesus, help me to reveal Your love and presence to all people, including children. Make me mindful of ways to ensure that they can always come to You.
In Mark 10:16, we read that Jesus “took the children in his arms . . . and blessed them.” The word used here for blessed is kateulogeo. It appears only in this passage in the New Testament and means “to bless intensely; to confer what is beneficial.” Jesus’ blessing was intense and fervent. He wanted only the best for these children.
On a number of occasions, Jesus described those who are considered “blessed” (makarios). This word means “to pronounce as blessed; to receive God’s favor.” After Peter acknowledged that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Jesus told him he was “blessed” (Matthew 16:16–17). This same word is used when Thomas recognized the risen Jesus as his “Lord” and “God.” Jesus told him that those who’ve not seen and yet believe are “blessed” (John 20:28–29). In these passages blessed means receiving God’s favor in response to trusting Jesus.