The Little Children and Jesus
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Observations & Reflections
Just a few passages ago Jesus issued a stern warning against those who cause children to stumble and lose faith in God (Luke 17:1-4). Now he is using them for an important illustration about the kingdom. This verse should be read in line with the previous parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector. The kingdom of heaven belong to the innocent, the helpless, the humble, the meek, and the oppressed.
Luke’s version of this story also appears to have been copied almost word for word from Mark’s gospel.
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16)
However, the question remains; why were the disciples rebuking people for bringing babies to Jesus to lay hands of them? Many have suggested it’s because the babies were not ill or in need of healing. Rather, the parents were flooding the place with babies because they wanted Jesus to bless the baby. This type of superstition and folk-lore seems to be in most cultures. Even in modern Christian culture it can be taboo not to have a baby dedication which really takes the place of baby blessing and infant baptism. It can be understood that the disciples saw this as a waste of Jesus’ time. However, Jesus was not concerned. Face time with the people was important to Jesus, even if it was inconvenient.
That is how our Lord is. He welcomes all no matter the circumstances.