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“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.”—Mark 10:13–16 (NIV)
Have you ever marveled at the faith of a child? We can describe it as cute or funny, and though these descriptions are often true, we should also remember to call it admirable and inspirational. I think about serving in the children’s ministry and seeing children worship, pray, and memorize Scripture. There’s a purity to their faith that warms my heart. We must be careful to not fall prey to believing that children are only children and can’t really understand Jesus.
This is what the disciples seemed to think. As parents were bringing their children to Jesus in the hopes of Him blessing them, His disciples rebuked them as to steer them away. Perhaps they thought they’d be a waste of Jesus’ time. Perhaps they thought they were acting honorably by deciding who could get access to Him or not. Yet we see Jesus’ reaction was everything but gratitude or tolerance for what they were doing. Today’s verse says He became indignant meaning He was both angry and pained to see these children being turned away.
Only one chapter before this, the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus, already knowing what they had been talking about, sat down with the twelve and spoke to them about the first being last. He used the analogy of children to help make His point clear, and He grabbed a child, held him in His arms, and said “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:37a NIV). Taking what Jesus said in both Mark 9 and 10, that anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it, we can see how Jesus is expanding this counterintuitive idea of becoming like a child to find life in Him.
This is the beauty of the gospel, that “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV). We can’t expect to find Jesus through our own wisdom because the wisdom of God completely flips our own, which means neither can we determine who deserves or has the ability to encounter Jesus.
Perhaps you’ve been labeling someone as “too far gone,” “unable of receiving Christ’s grace,” or even “incapable of understanding the gospel.” That person could even be yourself, but remember that Jesus invites everyone to receive His grace and love. He not only invited the children, but He also exclaimed that “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Therefore, may we pray for more child-like faith and ask God to humble our hearts so we would eliminate the barriers we’ve constructed before Him.
Pause: Take a moment to ponder if you’ve labeled someone as “too far gone” or “incapable” of receiving Jesus, and ponder if you’ve also been lacking in child-like faith recently.
Practice: With that person, or kind of person, in mind, surrender those thoughts to the Lord and pray for them. Ask for forgiveness for not having the faith to believe they are invited by Jesus, and then pray for more child-like faith to be grown in yourself.
Pray: Jesus, thank You for inviting everyone to receive Your love and grace. Thank you for not labeling anyone as unworthy or incapable, though we all are. I ask that You break down the barriers I have built in my mind and heart that prevent me from coming to You. Strengthen my faith, Father, so it may become more like that of a child. I want more of you, Lord, and less of me. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.