Mark 10: 13 – 16 The little children and Jesus
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
* * *
As soon as babies (we’ll call them Janet and John) start to crawl, we, as parents (or grandparents) go, “Uh-oh. Now we must be extra-careful to make sure Janet and John stay safe.” We are constantly on the look-out for situations that might be risky, and we move the children away from danger.
As we move them to safety, we usually explain what we’re doing, and gradually Janet and John learn to look after themselves.
It’s the same with other skills. Right from birth we talk to Janet and John. We introduce them to the objects, first in their home, then in their neighbourhood; to their family, then to their school.
And Janet and John learn. They learn the skills that they need for life as grown-ups. They learn trust.
Often and often and often they do the wrong things – not because they don’t trust, or don’t understand, but because the world is full of wonderful distractions, bright and shiny and tuneful. And we work hard to stay patient and make sure they learn the important skills.
Small children are fashioned to learn. They are pre-disposed to trust.
I think this is what Jesus is talking about in this passage when he says, ‘Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’
We have to be ready to learn. We have to be humble enough to recognise that we know very little of God’s plan. Humility is difficult; it involves acknowledging weakness. Obedience is difficult; it involves paying attention to God rather than to the bright, shiny, tuneful distractions of this world.
But just like parents – in fact, better than human parents – God himself oversees our learning, pointing out the dangers, teaching us all we need to know to be able to live in his kingdom.
What a message of hope that is!
Thank you for your love in teaching me how to live in your kingdom. I’m sorry when I get it wrong and will try to do better in future.
In Jesus name, Amen