“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.” Matthew 19:13–15
I wonder what happened to those children whom Jesus touched. I wonder what his touch meant to them and for them. I wonder how their lives or their paths or their circumstances changed as a result of the touch—the physical touch of Jesus. Were these poor and dirty children? Were they orphans? Were they disabled somehow?
When reading these passages before, I have always pictured perfect parents bringing perfect-looking children to Jesus in order to have them “blessed” by him. Now that I’ve spent time with children who come from neglect, abuse, and abandonment, my perspective is a bit different.
In my current thinking, it seems like these were children of unfortunate circumstances. Maybe someone who was caring for “the least of these” had heard of Jesus. Maybe she made a great effort to get the kids cleaned up as much as possible and hurried them to the place where she heard Jesus would be—not an easy task with little ones in tow. Maybe she felt the disappointment when the disciples said no, rebuked them for coming, and began sending them away. BUT JESUS saw what was happening. He had a different perspective. Don’t stop them; let them come. Don’t get in their way; don’t hinder them. He explained to the disciples the extraordinary value of children—so valuable, in fact, that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like these children. Maybe like some very needy children.
“And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16
I’m willing to bet they were changed forever by that touch, regardless of the circumstances from which they came.