Some Greeks had gone to Jerusalem to worship during Passover. Philip from Bethsaida in Galilee was there too. So they went to him and said, “Sir, we would like to meet Jesus.” Philip told Andrew. Then the two of them went to Jesus and told him….

Some people brought their children to Jesus so that he could bless them by placing his hands on them. But his disciples told the people to stop bothering him.

When Jesus saw this, he became angry and said, “Let the children come to me! Don’t try to stop them. People who are like these little children belong to the kingdom of God. I promise you that you cannot get into God’s kingdom, unless you accept it the way a child does.” Then Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them by placing his hands on them. (John 12:20-22 and Mark 10:13-16)

Some famous people have “handlers.” Some CEOs are hard to contact, hiding behind a wall of secretaries and assistants. Perhaps you can arrange an appointment for next year. But Jesus didn’t operate like that, despite the best efforts of his disciples to “protect” him. Jesus opened himself to the most unexpected visitors.

Like non-Jews or children.

Only when a child came of age, which in Judaism was at the age of thirteen when they had their bar mitzvah and could be counted as a full member of the synagogue, did children begin to matter to society. Until then, they had no standing. The disciples only naturally assumed that a great man—certainly the Messiah and future king—had better things to do than pay attention to children, therefore.

Jesus became angry when the children were excluded and told his disciples to let them come. The kingdom was open to everyone, even those that seemed not to matter. It fact, it was the weak and lowly, those who lacked power and prestige, who were most reflective of the nature of the kingdom. People entered the kingdom God not based on who they were, where they came from, or what they could do, but based solely on what Jesus did on the cross. So Jesus called the children to himself. He allowed non-Jewish people to talk to him.

Actions, ability, or connections don’t matter. How much money you have doesn’t matter. You’re welcomed into the kingdom of God not because of who you are, but because of who the king is.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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