“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14 ESV)
Mark continues his report of Jesus’ teaching on self-denying discipleship. To follow Christ is to have a radical, sacrificial view of all that hinders true devotion. The tenth chapter of Mark highlights three of the things that Christ followers encounter in this world: marriage (1-12), children (13-16), and possessions (17-31). This Sunday we will consider this second component, children.
The old hymn says it well: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” During his ministry on earth, Jesus continually showed God’s love and concern for the ostracized, the marginalized, and the weak. In a recent previous episode in Mark, Jesus likened his own disciples to “little children” (9:36-37).” That God cares for children is indisputable.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Jesus was irritated when the disciples refused to let children come to him. The Bible uses the term “indignant” to describe Jesus’ reaction. Want to make the Son of God mad? Turn away the children. Prevent them from coming to him. Refuse to help the weak and vulnerable.
Rather than stop the children from coming to him, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Do not hinder them! Bring them! Why? The kingdom of God, as Christ just finished teaching, if filled with children. That is, Christ-followers are to be the most childlike, most humble people in the world; if such people will fill the kingdom, why would we shut out actual children?
Brothers and sisters, the world will always war for our children. This passage reminds us of God’s heart for them. Whether or not you are directly involved in children’s lives, we all have a part to play in teaching the next generation about Jesus Christ. Let us examine ways in which we might be hindering this from happening, and determine to let the children come to Christ!