The crowds were pressing in as Jesus was teaching that day. It would have seemed difficult to hear and probably even harder to see. Seemed like everywhere Jesus went there must have been a crowd that gathered.
Amidst the usual religious teachers and traveling followers, there was a quiet group following that day.
They were parents. Parents with children, pressing in against the crowds to get a glimpse and touch of the Messiah.
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked him. 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. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16, ESV)
Jesus was the bridge between the young and the old. He was the one that could touch the infirmed and bring sight and raise the official’s dead daughter to life. Christ could take food from a small boy and feed 5000, and raise a weeping prostitute to her feet.
He knew His place when not many others did.
The disciples were struggling to understand why in the world children would be allowed at these “adult” conversations. Children during that time were often to be seen and not heard.
Often thought of as a nuisance and annoyance, children were rarely the center of conversation or discussion.
However, at this moment, Christ breaks all traditional barriers. Not only does He welcome them, but He also touches them and blesses them.
These sweet little faces got a chance to connect with the “One” that they heard parents and grandparents murmuring of. They got to get up close with a teacher that they had only seen through the back of heads.
I often wonder if they chattered with questions and squeals of delight as He bent and looked into their deep curious eyes. Did they smile and stroke His beard? Did they cuddle up against His arm and bury their head against His leg as He hugged them?
Not only were the children blessed, but their parents must have been as well.
As they reached forth their precious treasure to this holy God, they too received a deep abiding blessing.
What must those parents have thought at He laid his hands on them? The Jewish custom was that to lay hands on a child was to bestow just this-a blessing. They were going to Him with hope and faith that He would provide something deep and long-lasting.
What parent doesn’t want this for their babies?
I would take it in a heartbeat. These parents were approaching a great big God and believing that to push past naysayers would bring reward. Despite the looks of criticism and shaking of heads and fingers, these parents worked to bring their children to someone who made all the difference.
As I read this story, I am again reminded of the example of Christ to accept all with love and grace, kindness and fairness, humbleness and joy.
Each one created in His image and each with a story that can be changed with just the touch of His holy hand. How those children’s lives must have been changed that day.
May we never forget that
“…for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”