Welcoming the Kingdom Like We Should | Mark 10:13–16
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
Providentially, this passage follows our Lord’s instruction on marriage; first comes love, then comes marriage, and then comes the baby in the baby carriage. We began looking at this passage last time, where we saw that the disciples were forbidding the children from coming to Him. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to teach us a lesson about receiving the kingdom of God—we must receive it as the children did.
God’s kingdom belongs to those with a child-like faith. These were young children, with Luke 18:15 says some were babies and v. 16 here saying that Jesus could take them into His arms. Parents typically brought their children to rabbis for blessing, and such young children would need their parents’ help in finding Jesus. This forms an image of how anyone comes to Christ—helpless, completely dependent, led along through the ministry of the Word, perhaps through an evangelist. Jesus tells us that “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” meaning that the children picture all those who come to salvation.
God’s kingdom doesn’t belong to those without a child-like faith. Some try to make this passage speak of infant baptism, though it’s nowhere mentioned here. Indeed, the idea that one must come to Christ like a child means that one comes impoverished, lacking any means of self-justification before God. If someone doesn’t view the kingdom as God presents it—an unearned gift available to all who believe (cf. Rm 4:4–5)—then there is no way possible to enter into that kingdom.
God’s kingdom blesses those who belong to it. We see Jesus in a tender moment with these children, taking them into His everlasting arms as though they’re His own. This goes beyond the simple blessing the parents requested, as the Greek word indicates a fervency in blessing. How wonderful is it to know that the Lord loves us so—that He not only gives us the life we need, but He came that we might “have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10)!