Luke inserts a wonderful two-verse story right here as Jesus is approaching Jerusalem and crucifixion. In the seriousness of the task at hand to not only face crucifixion but to make sure his disciples understood the kingdom of God, Jesus takes time to welcome and bless “babies.” My guess is that the children are being brought to Jesus by women. Children are not being brought to be healed. Mothers are bringing their children to be blessed! This is a unique story! There are no demons, no blindness, no leprosy, and no big sin but just the desire for blessing! Like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet rather than helping Martha to serve in the kitchen, these mothers just seek a blessing – not for themselves but their babies.
Jesus rebukes the disciples who were stopping the women. Rebuke is a strong word. Not only does Jesus rebuke but he continues to say that “the kingdom of God belongs to such s these (babies).” That is a conversation stopper right there. These babies had no testimonies of being saved or even helped. They could not even come themselves but had to be carried to Jesus by someone willing to face social censure. Denominations that practice infant baptism love to point to this lesson of grace. Our salvation comes from God, not from our works. Others focus on the deep desire of parents to have their children blessed. Regardless how we understand this story, we do know this. The source of blessing in our helplessness is Jesus.
So this challenges us to a two-headed reflection today. How are we like those babies? How are we like the mothers? Let’s hope we repent of being like the disciples! Can you name three childlike qualities you desire for your life and can you name three people you long to see growing in their walk with God? Maybe you are the one to bring them to Jesus! Blessings.