I’m sure they meant well, but Jesus has some choice words for His Disciples in today’s Bible reading. Parents bring their children to Jesus and the Disciples try to turn them away. Jesus responds in a way we wouldn’t expect — at least those who see Jesus as only a mild-mannered only-loving Savior.
Mark says that Jesus was indignant, a “strong word of deep emotion”. (Mark 10:14) AT Robertson adds, “Surely it ought to be a joy to parents to bring their children to Jesus, certainly to allow them to come, but to hinder their coming is a crime. There are parents who will have to give answer to God for keeping their children away from Jesus.”
In fact, Jesus said that if someone does not receive the Kingdom of God as a child, they will not enter it. The word Mark uses for child means a child under school-age. There is an innocence in that age group. An innocence that is so trusting, so vulnerable and there’s no pretention.
Children are a big deal to God. In the Bible, children are seen as blessings from God. (Psalm 127:3) The concept of Gentiles as being adopted children of God is central to the Gospel Message. (Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5) Yes, as Robertson points out, parents will give an answer to God for keeping their children away from Jesus.
In contrast, in Western Civilization in the Twenty-First Century, children are merely commodities. Look at the way children are abused and trafficked. Look no further than Hollywood’s Michelle Williams. Last week as she clutched her “Best Actress” Golden Globe trophy, she said “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose. To choose when to have my children and with whom. … I know my choices might look different but thank God or whomever you pray to that we live in a country founded on the principle that I am free to live by my faith and you are free to live by yours.”
Yes, children are a big deal to God. We will give an answer to God for keeping children from coming to Jesus. We will give an answer to God for putting up obstacles in our own lives that would prevent our own children from coming to Him. And we will give an answer to God for the way we have treated children as pawns in our lives.
Everyone who comes into a relationship with Jesus Christ has to do so by laying aside agendas. Laying aside pretentions. Laying aside themselves. Coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ requires that we come on His terms, not ours. (Mark 8:34-36)
Yes, the Gospel Message is about forgiveness. The Gospel Message is about grace. The Gospel Message is about mercy. But forgiveness, grace, and mercy are only available as we come to terms with our guilt as sinners. As sinners, we deserve punishment. We deserve death. We owe a debt we cannot pay. But Jesus has paid a debt He didn’t owe.
Have you laid aside your pretentions? Have you come to God, simply trusting Him at His Word?
 Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933. Print.
This is my mother, Clara Beaman. Her influence and prayers helped to make me the man that I am. This is the twenty-first Mother’s Day that I have been unable to pick up the phone and wish her a “Happy Mother’s Day”.
If your mother is still living, pick up the phone and let her know how much you love her and appreciate all that she has done for you.
Better yet, if you’re able, go tell her in person. Wrap your arms around her and give her the big hug she deserves.
Perhaps like mine, your mother has already crossed over to the other side of eternity. There may be other “mother figures” who continue to speak life into you. Although she may not be your mother, reach out to her today and let her know how much you love and appreciate her influence in your life.
There are probably women in your life who are not mothers. Maybe they chose to not have children. Or perhaps they hoped and prayed to have children, but God, in His infinite wisdom chose otherwise. Don’t let these women go unnoticed. Let them know how much you love and appreciate them today.
I’m very grateful for my mother and the mother of my children. Their influence will continue to grow for generations.
On this Mother’s Day, thank God for the mothers. Pray for the mothers. Pray for those who wish to be mothers. And pray for those who hoped and prayed to be mothers but were never given that opportunity.