Tuesday, April 2, 2013


 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

We were discussing this passage during a Lent Bible Study. The Bible study leader pointed out that, according to some commentators, children in Jesus’ time and culture were considered non-persons. Then he asked us to name some non-persons in our time and culture. 

My immediate answer was, “The unborn”. 

What people are thought of as not being people more than the unborn?
In the First Century A.D., when Jesus Christ walked the earth, the dominant culture in His part of the world and well beyond was that of the Romans, who dominated other cultures and peoples with their mighty empire. 

Apparently the Romans considered children to be the property of their fathers. The father got to decide whether or not his children could even exist as part of his family. A newborn would be laid on the ground and if the father did not pick him or her up, they were left abandoned on the ground to die or taken in by someone else. If allowed to live, children were still considered property, like servants or slaves. 

Jewish children, as a rule, seem to have received better treatment. However, the idea of children as property was not absent, and Jewish families, especially poor ones, still sometimes abandoned their children, though usually making sure there was someone nearby who might take them in.

In any case, the way Jesus treated the children even His disciples wanted to turn away as unworthy, or at least nuisances, was radical. He declared and demonstrated that children were not only worthy, but that they were people that we could learn from and whom we should be more like.

Today, in most cultures, including much of the institutional church in those cultures, unborn children are considered the property of their mothers. Unborn child are seen as non persons, body parts that have been added through conception to their mothers’ body. These spare parts may be removed from the mothers’ family at any time for any reason, destroyed and disposed of before they can even be born. 

It is not natural for mothers and family members to turn their children over to death. This is something they have been taught to do by an abortion industry fueled culture of death that is over a generation old. Our culture has taught us to be silent about this and even to shout down opposition. We have learned the lesson well, even in the institutional church. 

Now, as in the First Century AD, Jesus Christ rebukes us when we treat children as non-persons and property. Likewise He rebukes us when we treat children as less than human or even as lesser humans. Jesus rebukes us when we directly abandon unborn children to death, when we give approval to those who do so, and yes when we fail to speak out and stand up for “the least of these”.

In the United States of America and in many other countries, we think (or we try to tell ourselves) that we are a civilized society because of form of government, our “education”, our technology.

But a society in which people will in any way participate in abandoning the most helpless among us to death is not a civilized society.  The fact that those people call themselves Christians makes them not more civilized, but less civilized. 

As Christians, Christ calls us to be more than civilized, He calls us to be Christ-like, to be like Him. He welcomed children and held them up as models of faith and what it means to be a part of His Kingdom, The Kingdom of God. Jesus calls us to do the same.

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