Matthew 19:13 – Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples had been having a conversation about importance which got a bit heated and turned into an argument. I have tried to imagine how this particular discussion might have started. Were they just talking in general about how long they had each been with Jesus? Did Simon or Andrew, James or John, feel superior because they had been called first? I can’t work it out, which is maybe because I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would have that debate. It just seems so childish. Maybe that’s the irony behind this event.
Meanwhile, as the debate went on, Mothers were trying to get their children closer to Jesus so that He could bless them. The mood of the disciples flowed over and they took their frustration out on the people coming forward. It was not their place, however, to turn them away and Mark records that Jesus was indignant with his disciples, saying to them, “do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” With this, He took the children in His arms and prayed over them.
Jesus then uses the situation to teach his disciples a valuable lesson. He had heard the argument and knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and turning to the twelve he said, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” He also said to them, “whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Jesus wanted them to be child-like, not child-ish; it was a lesson in humility. The one who was the greatest did happen to be among them – they just lost sight of that truth.
All sorts of comparisons take place when we take our eyes of Jesus, so let’s be careful to keep our focus fixed firmly on Him.
(Ref. are from Mark 10 & Luke 9)