Suffer The Little Children

Picture the scene. It's a typical day in the life of Jesus. Word spreads quickly that the miracle worker is passing through town. Inquisitively the buzz spreads.

Could it be? Does he really heal the sick and raise the dead? 
Did he really calm an angry sea? 

The crowds cluster around him to hear his teaching. They listen and marvel. They watch in wonder as he heals the sick with a simple command or a touch from his hand. Hopes abound. Is he a prophet? Or even the long awaited Messiah? Will he use his power to overthrow the Roman legions? 

Caught up in the excitement noisy children laugh and play. Irritated, the disciples shoo them away. But Jesus notices and is more than displeased. He is indignant which can also be interpreted incensed or angry. And the ones on the receiving end are not his enemies, they are his closest followers. Then to reveal how highly children are valued in God's kingdom Jesus says this in Mark's Gospel.

"Suffer the little children and let them come to me."

He declares that the kingdom of God belongs to them.
He states clearly, "do not hinder them."
He takes them in His arms, places His hands on them and blesses them.        
This story is recorded in the hymn, "When Mothers of Salem," which we used to sing in school way back when I was in grade two. On a rotating basis each child had a turn picking their favorite. I recall that the teachers always knew this would be my selection. And for good reason. I was living in a welfare home run by staff who were stern and cold and longed to be embraced by the tenderness of Jesus towards little children.

Here is a picture of three of my grandchildren. If they look mischievous it's because they are. What I am extremely thankful for is they live in loving homes. Their parents not only take them to church and Sunday School they teach them about Jesus and the Bible. And yes, I've told them the story about the Savior who loves them, even when they are noisy and boisterous. 

What about parents today?  The education system is shooing children away from the Bible. Reading it, singing hymns and prayer have been banned from schools. And I believe Jesus is just as indignant with this as he was with the disciples. To navigate through life in a troubled world the most precious lesson they can learn is that he loves and cares for them. And the best way they can learn this is from you.

So when you tuck your kids into bed tonight tell them a story about Jesus. Reassure them about the tenderness of his love. Let them know his arms are wide open, and if they run to him, he will embrace and bless them.

Scripture References


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