When Kathleen’s teacher called her to the front of the grammar class to analyze a sentence, she panicked. As a recent transfer student, she hadn’t learned that aspect of grammar. The class laughed at her.
Instantly the teacher sprang to her defense. “She can out-write any of you any day of the week!” he explained. Many years later, Kathleen gratefully recalled the moment: “I started that day to try to write as well as he said I could.” Eventually, Kathleen Parker would win a Pulitzer Prize for her writing.
As did Kathleen’s teacher, Jesus identified with the defenseless and vulnerable. When His disciples kept children away from Him, He grew angry. “Let the little children come to me,” He said, “and do not hinder them” (Mark 10:14). He reached out to a despised ethnic group, making the Good Samaritan the hero of His parable (Luke 10:25–37) and offering genuine hope to a searching Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:1–26). He protected and forgave a woman trapped in adultery (John 8:1–11). And though we were utterly helpless, Christ gave His life for all of us (Rom. 5:6).
When we defend the vulnerable and the marginalized, we give them a chance to realize their potential. We show them real love, and in a small but significant way we reflect the very heart of Jesus.
Father, help me recognize the people in my life who need someone to stand with them. Forgive me for thinking that it’s “not my problem.” Help me to love others as You do.
It is impossible to love Christ without loving others.
Jesus rebuked the disciples for seeking to sideline children. He actually welcomed open access to those who sought contact with Him. The rationale given was that “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). What could Jesus possibly mean? most likely went through the disciples’ minds. Our Lord then qualified what He said: “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (v. 15). A child is more likely to express faith than a skeptical adult is. We are to follow their example and believe and rely on the promises of God. After this explanation, Jesus physically showed His acceptance by taking the children in His arms and blessing them.