Mark 10:13-16 NAS
13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 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. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
As the Lord’s ministry grows, difficulties appear! This is the nature of everything that allows opinion; issues are guaranteed to be ever present. How these are handled can define the character of a ministry. Let me explain. Jesus had just finished an all-intriguing conversation about the subject of divorce and remarriage. Verse 10 tells us a continuing discussion with His disciples had moved into a house. The Pharisees had left some unanswered question and Jesus’ followers were desperately trying to make sense of it all. While finishing up the tête-à-tête, and trying to get a handle on this great theological question of divorce, parents start bringing their kids in to have the Lord lay hands on them.
Can you imagine what this was like? The disciples are trying to get answers on this whole divorce thing and couples keep coming up, bringing their kids, demanding the Lord split His attention between blessing the children and sharing deep biblical insights! Multitasking with the Lord is apparently not a problem, with the disciples it is.
13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.
Interruptions are an annoyance to anyone who practices the art of concentrating. This is what I mean by “People Who Pester”! As the Lord’s ministry grows, so too do the needs of people, and so shrinks the available time for other things. People can be pesky, especially when you’re attempting to listen or communicate about something in more than fragment sentences. I mean, I’d personally like to hear more about this divorce thing too—I’ve got questions about that! However, concentrating on what I want does not stop the needs of people around me. Interruptions will happen and people can become pesky—especially interruptions from those who we think are less valued; like children.
I can understand why the disciples react. Children can be pestering—adults can be pestering. However, the Lord holds “pestering” people in the greatest of dignity and honor. In fact, these pestering children were of such excellent value to the Lord that He stops what He is doing to regain the proper focus of His growing ministry. I don’t understand why pesky children are so important, but nevertheless here it is in the Lord’s rebuke to His disciples:
14 “…Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
Maybe I just need to take a few more moments to digest the needs of others and spend less time worried about my own questions. I know there are people that find my personality pestering. Let me say; I can tell when I’m a pest to someone. It’s written all over their desire to get away. I can sense when someone wants to exit from me as soon as possible. Any conversation or interaction goes real quick. When I see this on a consistent basis, naturally I want to stop making an effort to even be around that person I bother—I give up.
I very much doubt that is what the Lord wants His ministry to be characterized by. He took time with these children. He called them to Himself. He laid His hands on them—most likely to the shear delight of the parents. They were of greater value than the deep theological question of divorce. Kids did not pester Jesus so much as the children were a reminder to Him of the nature of His Kingdom! So, in practice, maybe I can be a little more patient and less hasty with people who pester. After all, I may be the pest problem to begin with and not others!
J. Robert Hanson