Daily Devotion 07 November 2020
Mark 10;13-16 ‘Jesus Blesses the Children’
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Our small daughters had been to Sunday School and on the way home they told us about it. One of them said with enthusiasm, “We sang ‘The Garden King’”. It was around Harvest time so the words sounded appropriate but since it wasn’t something we recognized, we enquired a little further. Eventually, impatient at our bewilderment, the girls sang it for us, “Praiso praiso Garden King”, and finally we realized – a hymn we sang often, ‘Praise, O praise our God and King”. In their innocence and closeness to God, children can often teach us, even through their misunderstandings of our words.
The gospel passage above tells us about fathers bringing their children to Jesus, to be blessed and dedicated to God – that’s what the original Greek means. This was a spiritual activity, it wasn’t parents taking their children out to have some fun with this famous man called Jesus. They were bringing their children to Jesus so that they could be blessed and dedicated to a life of discipleship.
But not everyone was happy with the children coming to Jesus. Amazingly, the people who most resented it were Jesus’ disciples, openly rebuking the parents. We’re told that “When Jesus saw it, he was much displeased” and in effect said, “Let the children come to me and don’t stop them, they belong to God, too”.
Jesus is teaching here not just what we can give to our children but also what we can receive from them. It’s not that adults are the teachers and children the learners but, in the Kingdom of God, children are also the teachers and adults are also the learners.
This is a profound spiritual truth. In the Kingdom of God, we must be as willing to learn from our children, as we are willing to teach them. Adults must be as ready to be nurtured in faith by children, as we are to nurture them in faith. Not in some patronizing, shallow way but opening ourselves up to the children and young people and listening deeply to them about their experience of God and faith, and giving them the space to teach us truths that we would otherwise totally miss.
Jesus is absolutely clear when he says “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter therein”. And when we do receive the kingdom of God “as little children”, Jesus will take us in his arms, too, put his hands upon us, and bless us.
Heavenly Father, We are all your children, whether babes in arms or centenarians.
Help us to learn from one another, to share our Christian faith with each other and to be ready to listen to each other, so that we may all come to you as little children. Amen.
Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
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