13 Some people brought children to Jesus so that he would place his hands on them and pray. But the disciples scolded them. 14 “Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” 15 Then he blessed the children and went away from there.
Back in the day, when I was a child, I learned about God’s love for me through song. When my children were small, they sang this same song in Sunday School. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so! Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong….”
In Jesus’ day, children occupied one of the lowest social positions. They were weak, dependent and powerless. Infant mortality was very high, and a third of all children died before they turned twelve from hunger, disease and poverty. This is some of the background to today’s story that demonstrates why it was so important to the parents that they get their children to Jesus for a blessing.
Jesus criticizes his disciples for preventing the children from coming near. He then calls the children to him and lays his hands on them to bless them with God’s special favor. Jesus sees that his disciples still have not grasped the message of the Good News and that the kingdom is given not to those with power, but to those who are powerless.
The Kingdom or Kin-dom (family) of God turns the world’s social order upside down. Here is a place with no social hierarchy – or at least not one we would recognize! The powerful are made powerless, and the powerless are blessed. Only our loving God is in control. Unless you are willing to become powerless and loving like a child, you will not enter God’s kingdom.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
The disciples actions, while they may have meant well, were based on their belief that Jesus didn’t need to be bothered by children who were of no consequence. When was the last time you were denied access for your age, race, gender or social status? How did that make you feel? Do you, like Jesus’ disciples, sometimes deny access or ignore others because they are different than you?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to remember that I am your child, to follow you and seek your blessing on my life. Help me to see your children who are suffering because the powerful have shut them out. Let me serve you and seek justice for the powerless, doing the work of your Kin-dom for your glory. Amen.