Let the little chldren come to Jesus

Text Mark 10:13, 14 Time 01 12 08 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
In Mark 10:13-16 we have a fascinating incident recorded for us in the life of the Lord Jesus. It is recorded in just four verses, most of which are taken up with the saying of Jesus that was connected with the incident. However, before we come to the saying we get a fascinating glimpse of Jesus going about his earthly ministry. We learn firstly something of how people in general saw him and reacted to him, then how the disciples reacted to this and finally how he saw it too. After that comes the interesting and important saying and then the moment when he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. 
It is an interesting incident then from many points of view – the insight it gives into Jesus's earthly ministry, the presence of these children, the misunderstanding of the disciples, the saying that the whole thing provoked. 
So let's look at these verses. I want to say two main things 
1. Consider the people and learn from their attitudes good and bad 
1. Consider the people and their desire to have Jesus touch the children 
First we learn that People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them. We tend to think that celebrity is a new thing but that is not really the case. 
For long ages people have become famous for one reason or another and when they become really famous then people simply want to be connected to them in some way. 
When I was a boy back in the seventies Wales had one of the finest rugby teams in the world. The outside half (10) was a man called Barry John. They used to call him the King. He was one of the greatest players ever. However, in 1972 he retired at the remarkably young age of 27. One of the reasons he stopped playing was the adulation from fans. Mothers would send their children up to him just to touch him. One day he was opening a bank and a little girl curtseyed to him, as if he really was royalty! It was the last straw. 
The Beatles saw similar things. Ringo Starr once described how at concerts disabled people would be “brought backstage to be touched by a Beatle. It was very strange. Also some sad thalidomide kids with little broken bodies and no arms or legs and little feet.” John Lennon really hated the fact that such people would be brought to them in the hope they could be healed. 
Or what about the royal touch or king's touch? French and English monarchs from Mediaeval times down to the time of Queen Anne would touch their subjects, regardless of social class, with the hope of curing them from various diseases and conditions, especially scrofula or the King's Evil. The disease rarely resulted in death and often went into remission on its own, giving the impression that the monarch's touch cured it. 
Now something like that may be operating here. Jesus has healed many people. He is a good and gracious man. The Holy Spirit is upon him. And so these good people bring their little children to Jesus to have him touch them. 
2. Consider the disciples and their stern opposition to this sort of thing 
But says Mark the disciples rebuked them. I don't know what their thinking was. Maybe they thought it was rather superstitious, which perhaps it was a little bit. Perhaps they thought it was a waste of Jesus's time. 
These days a lot of people wouldn't mind. In fact there is an expression kissing babies which is what politicians are said to do to try and increase their vote although it usually just involves complimenting parents on their babies these days. 
That is partly because our whole idea of children is different to theirs. We live after the sentimentalisation of children that came largely in the Victorian age The disciples and their contemporaries didn't tend to ooh and aah over babies. In fact, given that many children didn't survive childhood the general attitude to children could often b quite negative. 
They really did feel that Jesus was not making good use of his time and perhaps we have some sympathy with their point of view. 
3. Consider Jesus and his attitude to the disciples and to the children 
It is at this point, in verses 14 and 15 that we read that 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. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. 
So Jesus takes the very opposite view of things to the disciples. In fact he was indignant about the way they were behaving. They must not stop the children coming to him and indeed they must do nothing to keep them away. Rather, they must see that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,and people ought to learn to receive the kingdom like little children. 
4. Consider the children and how they were brought to Jesus and touched and blessed 
We read that he then (16) took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Jesus was happy to welcome them and to touch them as the mothers wished. 

2. Consider what Jesus says and learn about God's kingdom and how to be in it
So at the very least what Jesus says should make us be welcoming to children. We have an important highlight here on what our attitude to children should be. But there is more here. There is something about how we should understand the kingdom of God itself, the rule of God in the hearts of sinners. Three things then 
1. Realise that little children should be allowed to come to Jesus 
1 What that does not mean 
Now our paedobaptist friends would be tempted to say. Look isn't this what we always say. You Baptists won't let people join the church until they are baptised as older people. We are happy to baptise babies and little children. Surely we are right. The trouble here,of course, is that Mark 10 doesn't say one word about baptism. It is not a passage about baptism but about the importance of making children welcome. 
2 What that does mean 
So what can we learn from the passage? The obvious thing here is that though we do not baptise babies we must not, on the other than exclude them from everything so that we give the impression that they are not welcome. No, quite the opposite. Rather, we do everything we can to make the children feel welcome. It is one of the reasons we have a children's talk in the middle of our morning meeting and a Sunday School too. We always want the children to feel welcome, as Jesus himself would. When babies are born we usually give thanks to God publicly for them in order to make this clear. When my first grandson was born his parents were in the congregation and so we got him in front of the people and gave thanks for him. 
2. Understand that God's kingdom belongs to such as these 
When Jesus says for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these it is important that we are clear about what he is saying. Some are tempted to think he might be talking about the innocence or the simplicity of children. In fact what he is talking about is their weakness and their invulnerability. That was the chief thing about a child in those days and it is still an important thing about children today. They are weak and exposed, indefensible and powerless. 
Now it is to those who are weak and poor that the kingdom is accessible. Being strong and powerful is not the way in. Rather, it is meekness and sense of one's own inadequacy that are the key things. 
If you want to know how to become a Christian then the first thing you need to know is that you need to have a strong sense of your own weakness and of your own vulnerability. Without that you will get nowhere. 
Let me ask you that. Do you have a strong sense of your own weakness and need? That is vital if you are ever going to enter the kingdom of God. 
3. See that no-one can enter God's kingdom except by receiving it as a little child 
Think finally of verse 16. Jesus says emphatically I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. 
When we are adults it is hard to remember what it was like to be a child. We an think back then Think of how weak and powerless children are by nature. They need protection. Now to come to Christ we must first see how weak and empty we are by nature. We are absolute nobodies. That is the starting place. Once we see that then coming to Christ for his forgiveness and help should be easy. I urge you to come.