Mark 10:13-16 (ESV)
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.
All sorts of people were bringing their children to Jesus, hoping he would touch them and bless them. But the disciples weren’t happy about this. In fact, they rebuked those who brought their kids to Jesus. Children were not seen as important, so the disciples must have thought this was a waste of Jesus’ time. Yet verse 14 says that when Jesus saw what was happening, he was indignant. Jesus was filled with anger at the unjust actions of his disciples. He spoke clearly to them and said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them.” Then Jesus explained why the disciples were to let the kids come to him by adding, “To such belongs the kingdom of God.” Jesus went on to say, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” These children didn’t feel entitled to Jesus or his time. In humility, they approached him, having been brought to him by others. We too must come to Jesus as these children did. We must be totally dependent upon the grace of God and not presume that we have anything to offer him beside our sin. Only then can we fully trust in God’s provision for our moral failure through the person and work of Christ, resting in the blamelessness that he provides for us. None of us has earned our relationship with or right to God.
Jesus’ attitude toward children was not normal in the first century. This is hard for us to picture, as our culture loves babies and children. But again, this wasn’t the way people viewed young ones in the time of Christ. Children were seen as a drag, and boys were prized above girls. We can easily overlook the radical way Jesus responded to people society frowned upon. Whether they were Gentiles, women, or even kids, Jesus valued all human life and even took time from the “religious leaders” to invest in the outcasts and unwanted. What person or people are you neglecting to spend time with because you feel they aren’t that valuable? Every human has tremendous worth in God’s sight, from the greatest to the least. If you want to be like Jesus today, take time out of your busy schedule to invest into someone “less desirable.” In doing so, you will be living according to the pattern Jesus set for his disciples.