In each of the Gospels, Jesus compares little children to those who enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-14; 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16, etc.). He says that unless we are converted and become as little children, we shall not enter heaven. Little children have an innate recognition of their inferior size, strength, understanding and abilities. From birth, they cry, their parents hear, come, and help them. They are comforted. These qualities and more help us understand what it means to be converted, to become as little children. We must see Christ as our all. Like little children, we must never consider God’s grace or our salvation to be the result of our strength, understanding or goodness: indeed, anything found in us. As little children look to their parents, we must look to Christ in humble trust. We call upon Christ because we are needy, because we cannot help ourselves, because we can find no comfort but His comfort, no wisdom in ourselves but His wisdom, no righteousness before God but His righteousness, and no strength but His strength. Oh, what a comfort to my soul that all I need is found in my Savior! He requires nothing from me, in fact, everything that may be called mine must be abandoned and I must come to God only by what is His. I marvel that I may approach God by His own word trusting I will be received because of Christ’s obedience, His satisfaction for sins, His faithfulness, His strength to save, and expectantly hope that I will be kept and brought to glory by His grace alone! Only in so doing will I be enabled, as a little child, to be awe-struck at the greatness of my Savior and His grace to me, a sinful, helpless, foolish man!
On this occasion in Mark 10, those who deeply cared for their children brought them to Christ. But the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw that His disciples turned them away, He was much displeased! I want to know what pleases the Lord, don’t you? We know that the LORD is near the brokenhearted. We know He saves such as are contrite in spirit (Ps. 34:18). We know He saves sinners (1 Tim. 1:15; Matt. 1:21; Rom. 5:6-11). We know the Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). And we know that the Lord Jesus desires children, and those made like little children, to come to Him. And, we know what displeased the Lord Jesus. He was much displeased when the disciples turned away those that brought little children to Him. Why was the Lord much displeased?
- He was much displeased that of all people, His own disciples would think these little ones were of no concern to Him.
- He was much displeased that those who are concerned for their little ones were turned away from Him.
- He is much displeased that insignificant, weak, ignorant sinners, and those concerned for them, were turned away from coming and bringing sinners to Him.
- He was much displeased that those who were unable to contribute, who could only be recipients of His grace, who were unable to serve, who must only be brought and placed in the kingdom of heaven, who could not bring themselves, who were unable to pay back Christ by gift or service or further His kingdom, were turned away from Him. This is the nature of grace. Grace rejoices to save the unworthy, to help the helpless, to give to those who cannot pay back.
- He was much displeased that any would think He considered anything more important, that He would have higher interests, or greater concern, or spend His labor for something greater than saving sinners! From eternity, He made it His chief business to reconcile His people to Himself: little nobodies, ignorant and out of the way sinners.
Therefore, forbid them not! Not only forbid them not, but make this our chief aim and our life’s goal, to seek and to save lost sinners (Luke 15). May the Lord so enable me and you to not talk or teach above brokenhearted, fearful, timid, poor, needy souls, or little children, for of such is the kingdom of heaven!