SynopsisIn this passage children are brought to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples try to rebuke the people, but Jesus tells them to let the children come, for “to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (verse 14 (ESV)). He then lays his hands on them, and goes on his way.
ThoughtsI don’t have too much to say about this passage; children are another example of a group of people who wouldn’t be given too much respect in Jesus’ day (or ours), along with women, so it’s not surprising that the disciples would not want Jesus “bothered” by them (my word, not a quote). Jesus has already told the disciples that they are to be like children, in 18:1–6, but apparently they thought he was just being metaphorical and that they could dismiss actual children.
A couple of useful points from the ESV Study Bible notes:
- Laying hands is “[a] traditional manner of blessing children in Israel, especially when passing on a blessing from one generation to the next (cf. Gen. 48:14 (ESV); Num. 27:18 (ESV)).”
- On children, and expanding the discussion from 18:1–6: “Children serve as a metaphor of the humility necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven.”