13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.–Mark 10:13-16
Matthew, Mark and Luke record this event in pretty much the same way. Mark and Matthew sandwich this account between a discourse on divorce and the part about the Rich Young Man. Luke has it in the same vicinity as the Rich Young Ruler comes right after it. Matthew has it pretty much like Luke does but Luke ads that they were ‘bringing even infants’ to Jesus to have them blessed. I know that the infant baptism folks use these passages to beat everyone else about the head and shoulders regarding their practice.
In spite of this I think it has more to do with, well, just what it says. The babies and the children weren’t being baptized, they were getting a hug from Jesus and a blessing and he laid his hands on them. Personally if could have my child blessed by Jesus while he was here and I knew who he was I’d do it in a heartbeat. But it’s Jesus. You know, God. ‘Let the children come to me’ he said. Don’t keep them away. Verse 14 tells us that Jesus was ‘indignant’ because they were keeping them away, something that I’m sure I wouldn’t want to face.
Which brings us to the subject of children’s church. Yes I know what you’re thinking, how can the rest of us tolerate all that racket? All that boisterous energy on Sunday? The truth of the matter is that they wouldn’t be so rowdy if they didn’t get all sugared up in Sunday School, for one thing. Church is for spiritual growth, its for fellowship—Baptists have turned their churches into nutrition centers. (If you consider cookies, punch and donuts nutritional.) I say let the parents take care of nutrition and let the Sunday School class take care of…whatever Bible thing the Sunday School Class is supposed to take care of that day. For another thing, they might know how to be still and worship if parents were willing to take the time to sit with them and show them how to worship. If you don’t as, as a parent, who will? This is one of those things that ‘No One Can Do For You’. You have to train your children to go the right way. You can’t pawn it off on the youth director or anyone else—not without disastrous results.
But most of the time it’s just so much easier to let them go to children’s church and relax.
I just think families should worship together. I’m pretty sure this is biblical—someone help me out here.
Do I want to talk about Baptizing kids? No.
v.15 reminds us that we all must receive Christ in the same fashion that a child would receive something of great value. Humbled, awed, submissive—words that most everyone will have trouble with.