Let’s read Mark 10:13-16, “Then THEY BROUGHT LITTLE CHILDREN to Him (Jesus), that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME, AND DO NOT FORBID THEM; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’ And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them” (NKJV).

We learn in this simple account in the life of the Lord Jesus how much He loves children. We also learn that His love for them and His willingness to bless them was well-known, so people (fathers and mothers, older siblings, and others) felt perfectly free to “bring little children to Him” in order to receive a blessing from Him (“touching them” would be the outward sign of His blessing). We also learn here how ignorant His disciples were of this love and willingness to bless children. This ignorance led them to rebuke those who were bringing these little children to Christ. They were, in essence, telling them that little children were of no significance to the Lord and that it would be “wasting His valuable time.” Their rebuke caused the Lord to be “greatly displeased” (i.e. indignant) and in response to their rebuke he rebukes them by saying, “Let the little children come to Me.” The King James Version uses the word “suffer” instead of “let” which can be misleading for the word “suffer” today usually has the thought of “feeling pain or distress, harm, or punishment.” It can also mean “To permit; allow,” (which is the meaning of the word in our passage), but it is hardly ever used in that context today. The New King James Version rightly uses the word “let” for the Lord is simply saying to His disciples, “Let (allow) the little children to come to Me.” He was basically saying to them, “Don’t PREVENT them from coming to Me; ALLOW them to come to Me.”

It is sad (but true) that this mindset is still with us today. There are many people (including some Christians) who believe children are too young to understand who Jesus is or to enter into why He came to this earth, so they are also guilty of keeping them from being “brought to Jesus for blessing.” The Lord corrects this line of thinking by saying, “Of such is the kingdom of God…whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” I believe He is stressing the truth that a little child is often known for their “childlike faith” and it is through “faith in Him” that one enters the kingdom of God. So, all who will enter the kingdom must also come to Him with “childlike faith.” They must lay hold of Jesus as the “Savior of sinners” and believe the truth of John 14:6 where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.”

In closing, I will never forget the day when I was passing out gospel tracts to little children in a small town and a man came up to us and exclaimed in anger, “Kids, get away from this man and don’t read those papers he gave to you. They are religious nonsense.” Like the Lord Jesus I was indignant, and I turned to him and quoted the following verses, “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:5-6). The man seemed stunned by these words and he walked slowly back to his home without saying a word. This man was trying to prevent these little children from coming to Jesus but the Word of God convicted him and by God’s grace he withdrew himself, resulting in the children being “allowed to come to Jesus to be blessed.”  (362.1)  (DO)