13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16

We have already discussed why children are precious to Jesus and why He used a child as an example of what He values in people (Mark 9:33-37). It is obvious that the disciples had not yet got the message or they would not have shown contempt for the children who were brought to Jesus.

Why did Jesus relish “blessing” the children and what was the blessing He spoke over them? There is no indication in the passage of who they were, how old they were, how many there were. None of these details mattered. Every child at every age had value to Jesus. He took the opportunity to intercept any damaging word or experience spoken over any one of those children with His own divine, creative words of affirmation and acceptance that released shalom – peace and well-being – into their lives. He probably spoke the priestly blessing over them.

Jesus did not speak grandiose Ideas into the children of what they would become or achieve. He simply acknowledged their potential as God’s children and spoke affirmation and acceptance into their lives. We must beware, in our “ministry” to people, that we don’t subtly put ideas into people’s heads that lead them away from utter dependence on Jesus for life and fruitfulness.

One of the names of Messiah which Isaiah prophesied (Is 9:6) would be “Everlasting Father”. Jesus was acting in a fatherly role in receiving, affirming and accepting the little ones in order to release them into their full potential in the kingdom of God. It is seen clearly in Jesus’ story of the prodigal son. The father was not offended by his son’s behaviour. He received him back because of who he was – his son. In one act of acceptance and affirmation, he peeled off all the layers of offensive behaviour to reveal the heart of the young man – still his son, no matter what.

This incident is a visual aid of the way Jesus views His children. Our behaviour does not offend Him because He sees the potential and affirms the relationship He has made possible by peeling off all the layers of filthy behaviour that encrust us. He covers us with His own garment of perfect sonship and by His acceptance and affirmation, releases us into our destiny to become what we were created for, without the hindrances of what we think we are or what we have done. God sees none of that because it has been covered by the righteousness of His own Son.

Luella Campbell

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