“And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. 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. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them” (Mark 10:13-16).
These verses come from the Gospel of Mark, one of the three synoptic Gospels.
The Gospel of Mark is attributed to St. Mark the Evangelist.
“Although he was not a direct disciple of Jesus, Saint Mark is the author of one of the four Gospel accounts and played a vital role in spreading the Gospel as a missionary in the early church,” says the website for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
The verses serve as a message to all believers: The kingdom of God requires “tapping into a place of deep vulnerability and weakness,” Dr. James Spencer told Fox News Digital.
Spencer is president of the D. L. Moody Center as well as host of a weekly radio show, “Useful to God,” and a daily podcast, “Thinking Christian.”
The D. L. Moody Center is an independent nonprofit organization inspired by the life and ministry of Dwight Moody. It is located in Northfield, Massachusetts.
“God’s kingdom does not belong to those who depend on their own strength,” he told Fox News Digital.
In the verses from Mark, Jesus was “indignant” after his disciples shooed away the children, said Spencer.
Jesus insisted the young ones be allowed to come to him.
“The little children provide a picture of what is required to receive the kingdom of God,” said Spencer.
“Is it because the children are innocent, or has their youth somehow kept them from becoming jaded to the ways of the world like adults too often are?” said Spencer.
“That is certainly possible,” he said.
Another narrative from the Gospel of Mark, however, provides a “more plausible” explanation, he said.
The next story in Mark describes the interaction between Jesus and the rich man, whom Jesus then instructs, “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
The rich man was extremely upset by this demand — and “went away sorrowful,” noted Spencer.
“Jesus then turns to his disciples and says, ‘Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God?’” said Spencer.
The rich person, explained Spencer, “has means.”
Said Spencer, “He has something to lose by following Jesus. Entering God’s kingdom would be difficult for the rich because entering the kingdom requires them to recognize the flimsy and fleeting security provided by their wealth.”
“Those who are living comfortably and have the resources to survive, if not thrive, in the world on their own will find it difficult to look beyond their wealth and acknowledge their own fragility,” Spencer added.
“Their dependence becomes a strength because they have nothing to set aside before receiving the kingdom of God.”
Children, he said, are the opposite of the rich person.
“The children are utterly dependent and easily marginalized — even the disciples are prepared to send them away,” said Spencer. “Their dependence becomes a strength because they have nothing to set aside before receiving the kingdom of God.”
“Paradoxically, though the children come with nothing, they have great wealth,” he said.
They belong to the kingdom of God.