To understand a person, it is important to know his likes and dislikes. In Mark 10:14, Jesus is said to be “indignant” (meaning to “arouse to anger, [be] grieved”). By now, the disciples should have known Jesus’s attitude toward those who wanted to know Him. His response reveals His values, His compassion, and His annoyance with their offensive, elitist attitude.
A mute child possessed by a demon was brought to Jesus because his disciples could not cast out the demon. Jesus’s response revealed another value: “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me” (Mark 9:19). Unwillingness to exercise faith to aid a helpless soul was intolerable!
In our text, Jesus gave a sharp double command. First, He said, “Immediately start letting the little children come to me.” The Greek word for children (paidion) has a range of meanings, from “infant” to “teenager,” but the command implies that they were old enough to come to Jesus if not prohibited, and they consciously desired to know Him.
There is no presumption that all children are automatically part of the kingdom, but those who desire to come to Jesus will be warmly welcomed. Second, the disciples were commanded, “Stop trying to hinder them.” Christianity is not just for adults. Anyone who understands God’s truth is a candidate for Christ’s salvation. A child can understand quite early.
The phrase “such as these” refers to all who have childlike characteristics, such as helplessness, insignificance, dependency, and a willingness to trust Jesus’s authority. In fact, the next verse declares that everyone who desires to be saved must come with these childlike characteristics.
Were the disciples still thinking that they were important people, working hard to be worthy or good enough for salvation? Was this why Jesus was angry? They still did not understand the simplicity of the gospel that even a child can understand. How important are children in your life’s mission?
“Dear Lord, may we never hinder in any way a child coming to You. It is Your Spirit who leads another to faith in Your saving grace, regardless of his age.”
For a year's daily devotional of these Bible studies, order a copy of the book Walking His Way at Branches Publications or order the Kindle version at Amazon.com. You can also download the App for Android Smartphones.