Verses 15–17

This passage of story we had both in Matthew and Mark; it very fitly follows here after the story of the publican, as a confirmation of the truth which was to be illustrated by that parable, that those shall be accepted with God, and honoured, who humble themselves, and for them Christ has blessings in store, the choicest and best of blessings. Observe here, 1. Those who are themselves blessed in Christ should desire to have their children also blessed in him, and should hereby testify the true honour they have for Christ, by their making use of him, and the true love they have for their children, by their concern about their souls. They brought to him infants, very young, not able to go, sucking children, as some think. None are too little, too young, to bring to Christ, who knows how to show kindness to them that are not capable of doing service to him. 2. One gracious touch of Christ’s will make our children happy. They brought infants to him, that he might touch them in token of the application of his grace and Spirit to them, for that always makes way for his blessing, which likewise they expected: see Isa. 44:3. I will first pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and then my blessing upon thine offspring. 3. It is no strange thing for those who make their application to Jesus Christ, for themselves or for their children, to meet with discouragement, even from those who should countenance and encourage them: When the disciples saw it, they thought, if this were admitted, it would bring endless trouble upon their Master, and therefore they rebuked them, and frowned upon them. The spouse complained of the watchmen, Song 3:3; 5:7. 4. Many whom the disciples rebuke the Master invites: Jesus called them unto him, when, upon the disciples’ check, they were retiring. They did not appeal from the disciples to the Master, but the Master took cognizance of their despised cause. 5. It is the mind of Christ that little children should be brought to him, and presented as living sacrifices to his honour: “Suffer little children to come to me, and forbid them not; let nothing be done to hinder them, for they shall be as welcome as any.” The promise is to us, and to our seed; and therefore he that has the dispensing of promised blessings will bid them welcome to him with us. 6. The children of those who belong to the kingdom of God do likewise belong to that kingdom, as the children of freemen are freemen. If the parents be members of the visible church, the children are so too; for, if the root be holy, the branches are so. 7. So welcome are children to Christ that those grown people are most welcome to him who have in them most of the disposition of children (Luke 18:17): Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, that is, receive the benefits of it with humility and thankfulness, not pretending to merit them as the Pharisee did, but gladly owning himself indebted to free grace for them, as the publican did; unless a man be brought to this self-denying frame he shall in no wise enter into that kingdom. They must receive the kingdom of God as children, receive their estates by descent and inheritance, not by purchase, and call it their Father’s gift.