World English Bible translation
10:13They were bringing to him little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them. 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, "Allow the little children to come to me! Don't forbid them, for to such belong the Kingdom of God. 10:15 Most assuredly I tell you, whoever will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter therein." 10:16 He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
In this section of the Gospel of Mark, the author gives us several situations in which Jesus rebukes the disciples for misunderstanding His teachings. They had argued among themselves about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. They had told a man who was casting out demons in Jesus' name to cease. In each of these situations, Jesus became upset with His disciples and used the moment of aggravation as a moment for teaching.
In this situation, people were bringing little children to Jesus so that He would touch them and bless them. The disciples thought that this was a waste of Jesus' time and so they told the people to quit. Mark tells us that Jesus was indignant when He heard about what they were doing. He told them to allow the little children to come to Him. "Whoever will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter therein."
But, what does it mean to receive the Kingdom of God like a little child? Many see a reference to the innocence of childhood in Jesus' teaching. Children can be more trusting and they are certainly more naïve. But, what Jesus most likely has in mind in this passage is the dependence that children have on those around them. Children depend on their parents and guardians for the basic necessities of life. They cannot clothe or feed themselves. They are totally dependent on adults to provide for them.
In the same way we are totally dependent on God to provide for us, whether we understand it or not. We are helpless in the face of sin and death. But, God provides for us in the same way that a good parent provides for a child. When we recognize our dependence on Him, we can live in proper relationship to our creator. We can enter into the Kingdom and become one of the household of God when we recognize this basic parent/child dependency.
Are you prepared to enter into the Kingdom of God like a little child? Are you willing to give up all thoughts of independence and self-sufficiency and allow God to provide for you?
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