In all the gospels, there is only one time that Jesus is described as “indignant.”
Indignant is a strong word. The dictionary defines it as “a feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base.”
The Pharisees’ self-righteousness and exclusion of others was condemned by Jesus, but it wasn’t the Pharisees who made him indignant. The behavior of some of the crowds pressing in on him and pushing and shoving didn’t make him indignant. He was not indignant with the rich young ruler who was so attached to his wealth that he couldn’t follow Jesus. He wasn’t even described as indignant when he threw the money changers out of the temple or when he was unjustly nailed to a cross.
So, who made Jesus indignant? It was his closest followers — his disciples. What did they do that would cause such “strong displeasure?” What did he consider “unjust, offensive, insulting, or base?” It was the way his own followers treated the children. This is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
People were bringing little children to Jesus so that he could bless them, but the disciples “spoke sternly” to them. (Mark 10:13) When Jesus saw his disciples’ treatment of the children and their parents, he was indignant and gave them a clear command that we repeat to this day when we baptize a child: “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” And just to make sure they got the message, he said, “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” Then, he showed them what he meant when he “took the children up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:14-16)
When Jesus lifted up the children as the example of being a part of the kingdom of God, surely he was pointing to their sense of wonder, their curiosity, their excellent questions, their openness to learning new things, and their innate desire to help. This past Sunday Mister Mark found a note left behind by a child that expresses this desire beautifully: “I wut to help hoostin.”
This Sunday we are welcoming our children back into our 11:00 am worship service in the Sanctuary. Every Sunday we will be blessed by the presence of our children as they worship with us. They will have their own worship bulletins and backpacks of items that will help them engage all their senses during worship.
When we all get together how happy we’ll be!
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday in worship.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.