People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me.” Mark 10
Have you seen this picture or one like it? I’ve seen it in a lot churches – usually in some Sunday school class alongside images of the last supper, Jesus holding a lamp and knocking at the door and the occasional Jesus in the manger with Santa kneeling next to him. It is nice to think that Jesus laughed. The disciples certainly gave him reason. So while it is not really my kind of art I have no real problem with a laughing Jesus.
But you know what I have never seen? You are right! I have never seen a picture of the indignant Jesus as he faced his wild and crazy disciples who would keep the children from him. One of the many online dictionaries says that to be indignant is to be angry at something unjust or wrong. So where are the pictures of the angry Jesus? There are pictures of Jesus with charming children surrounding him looking up at him. But where are the pictures of the indignant Jesus? Where are the pictures of him pointing his finger – eyes ablaze – forcefully telling those goofy disciples to let the children come to him?
Quite frankly, I don’t think Jesus would be all that jolly if he were to show up and see how we are getting in the way of the children today. I think he would be quite indignant (read angry) over how we are failing to create for them the realm of God he called us to build on earth. I would imagine he would be quite disturbed over how we are spoiling the world they are supposed to inhabit in the future. I have this feeling he would not be pleased at all over how, by word and deed, we often reduce his mandate to feed the sheep into spiritual pabulum.
And you know what? Yep, you are right. We should be indignant as well. We should be angry at the way we are getting in the way of the children. It is often said that the children are the future of the church. No argument there, at least in terms of who might be around in the future. It may have been too much coffee, but the other day it struck me that the children are really not the future of the church or the world for that matter. We adult types (young, mid and old) are really the future of the church and the world. We hold the fate of that future and if we want our children to have a blessed future then we need to get indignant. We need to get angry and work to remove the barriers – physical and spiritual – which stand in their way.
by Peter Wells
Consultant – Center for Progressive Renewal