Jesus and the Children

While rummaging through boxes in the basement, I came across an old issue of the Magnificat. On the cover is a painting by the renowned Russian landscape painter , Vasily Baksheyev, entitled “Christ Blessing”. Looking at this painting, I can’t help but recall the story in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark in which people were bringing children to Jesus that He might bless them.  When the disciples rebuked them, Jesus became indignant and said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14.  Then, in verse 16 we read, “And he took them in His arms…”

Since becoming a parent, I have contemplated this passage at length.  I wonder how desperate the parents must have been just to have Jesus draw near and bless their child, how humiliated and angered they must have felt by the disciples’ rebuke, and how much more they must have loved Christ after He rejected societal norms and the opportunity to exhibit His importance and superiority over them, chosing instead to give His entire attention to their children.

But now what strikes me the most about this passage (and the Bakshayev painting) is the thought of all the little children going into the arms of Christ and how the typical image of a stoic Jesus doesn’t seem to fit into this story.  Anyone who has children can tell you that children do not easily go into the arms of someone who is stern and detached.  Children do not run up and offer flowers to people with whom they do not feel safe and by whom they are not encouraged and loved.  Children are drawn to gentle, fun-loving souls who are affirming of them and enjoy their presence.

There is no sign here of the stoic, aloof and emotionless Christ that so many would have us believe Jesus to be.  Certainly, there are times in which Christ must be stern (Jesus turning tables over in the temple, for instance), but this is not that time.  And if we only envision Jesus as sorrowful and distant we fail to see Him as He truly is.

Author: Rebekah Durham

Rebekah Durham lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her three children.  She is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and has written for numerous publications. She is an avid reader and in particular an admirer of C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, and Dorothy L. Sayers (in no certain order). She'd also blindly follow Miss Marple (Agatha Christie's famous spinster sleuth) anywhere she wanted to go.

9 thoughts on “Jesus and the Children”

  1. Love this post and those verses! What a great point if truth you make here!!!
    I wish I could write this deep in such few words as you do….my post always end up at nearly 1000 words every time!!!!😭

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful picture and wonderful realization! No, children “do not easily go into the arms of someone who is stern and detached”. And neither do we. Thank you, Rebekah, for allowing the children to show us Jesus as he really is.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Exactly how I have always thought of Jesus. My earliest memory in life is standing in a circle of 3-4 years old in the basement of First Baptist Church of Lockney, Texas singing “Jesus loves all the children,, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, They are precious in his sight, Jesus loves all the children in the world.”

    Liked by 2 people

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