Exhortation at Holy Trinity Reformed Church (October 4, 2015)

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.  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.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’  And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them” (Mark 10:13-16).        

In the Gospels, we see Jesus angry with the money changers in the temple, we see Him angry with the Pharisees on occasion, but here Jesus is not just angry but “indignant” with the disciples.  Why?  Because they would not let the little children come to Him.   

The parents of these children, it seems, believed that just the touch of Jesus would bless their children.  The disciples did not.  Jesus, they thought, surely had more important things to do.  Jesus disagreed, and it was not the parents who were rebuked for being “superstitious,” but the disciples for their unbelief.  In fact, Jesus commends the simple trust of these children and, I would add, their parents, who believed that their children simply needed to be near Jesus.  “And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”

Having children in the church service is not always easy.  They "whisper" loudly, they fidget, cry, drop things, spill things, and can distract entire rows with their smiles.  But, Jesus wants them near.  Not just in the same building, but near Him, where He may bless them with His Word, His body, and His blood. 

This is the most basic reason, we baptize little ones - because Jesus wants them near Him.  We give little ones communion because Jesus wants them near Him.  And because Jesus blessed the simple faith of both these children and the parents, we cannot take this lightly.  The touch of Christ matters, so may God grant us to “receive the kingdom of God like a child,” for our children and ourselves.