People were bringing little children to [Jesus] in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me…’ (Mk. 10:13-14)
David, a seminary classmate, and I were at a folk mass. As we stood in a circle to receive communion, his little boy, Joshua, was standing in front of him. Joshua kept extending his hands to receive communion, and David kept folding back his son’s arms. David was doing this because, by tradition, children weren’t ready to receive communion until they were older.
After David had put back Joshua’s arms a couple of times, Joshua looked up to his father, with tears in his eyes, and said, “Daddy, I want Jesus, too.”
In today’s scripture little children are coming to Jesus. They simply wanted to be held close in His lap.
Did the disciples welcome the children? No. Instead, they tried to send them away.
We’ve got to wonder why the disciples acted as they did. Did they think that the children would distract Jesus? Did they believe that only adults could understand Jesus? Did they want Jesus only for themselves? Regardless of their reasons, they were, in effect, trying to limit Jesus, protect Jesus, or horde Jesus.
Today I encourage us to not act like those disciples. The disciples tried to keep the children from being with Jesus and they were chastised. My friend David tried to keep Joshua from receiving Jesus in communion and he was breaking his son’s heart.
Jesus doesn’t need our protection, for He can take care of himself. Jesus doesn’t want our limits, because there’s no limit to His love. Jesus doesn’t want us to horde Him, but to share him.
When Joshua looked at his Dad and said he also wanted to have Jesus, David was stunned. I saw the Dad struggle for about three seconds and then he got on his knees next to his son. David and Joshua received Jesus together. It was a picture of what Jesus meant when He said, “Let the little children come to me.”
- Have you ever supported some tradition, custom, or practice in church that now doesn’t make much sense to you? If so, what?
- Have you ever tried to limit, protect, or horde Jesus? Ever acted like the disciples who were trying to keep the children away from Jesus? If so, when?
- Joshua’s grief and desire for Jesus caused David to change his mind and heart. Has anyone’s desire and need for Jesus ever changed yours? If so, who?