Mark 10:13

Some of the people were bringing little children to Jesus, for him to touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who had brought them.

healthy families
still have children
who need blessing

orphaned children
officially family-less
look for their blessing

disciples to this day
exhibit their privilege
blocking another’s blessing

all that is needed
is to stay out of Jesus’ way
until it is our Way

Faced with a tsunami of caregivers bringing child after child, any aid agency, much less a small group, will eventually come to a point of compassion fatigue. Having done all they can do and faced again with healings, blessings, they are not up to, the disciples move to triage.

With the potential of generous donors, one cut line is that of the poor. Children don’t have pocketbooks and their caregivers have probably exhausted other options before coming with no resources to a promised-to-be free clinic.

In 9:33–37 the disciples were caught arguing about which of this set of great disciples was the greatest. In response a child was brought forward to teach a lesson. As a continuation of that previous episode, the shown-up disciples have another opportunity to get some of their own back. When we contend over our greatness, it is usually those designated as the least that bear the brunt of our desire.

As a reader might well expect after a teaching regarding divorce and an ostensible setting of a hardline, the disciples strengthen their own rules about gatekeeping. At a minimum a quota of caregivers and children needs to be set. Blessings are rare and beautiful and must be protected.

Readers can not only catch the disciples out one more time, but begin to ask how it is that readers have caught on to Jesus’ teaching about powerlessness and begun to see themselves moving in that direction? When Mark’s narrative begins to take effect within his readers, if not the characters, life becomes more intense and interesting.

Readers can begin to feel an anger rise within against the disciples who are, again, missing the point. They only seem to want to catch big, lazy fish. These little ones don’t measure up and are being thrown back. This will not do!

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