I get why they got it and continue to still get it. The story of the children coming to see Jesus in Em’s Bible is great. For theological sticklers, it’s not an exact translation, but I believe the guys at Gold’n’Honey didn’t read too much into the scenario. They were able to see the overall picture and shed light on the circumstances and the setting of the day. Here’s how it reads in her Beginner’s Bible by James R. Leininger (sorry, you’ll just have to miss out on the pictures…):
“Mothers held their babies as they walked. Boys and girls skipped and hopped down the road. They were happy. They were going to see Jesus. But when they got to the place where Jesus was, Jesus’ friends told them to go away. ‘You cannot come to see Jesus,’ they said. ‘He is too busy for children. He has important things to do.’ Now Jesus found out what his friends were saying. He was angry. ‘Do not stop the children,’ He said. ‘Let them come to me.’ So they came: little boys and little girls, and even babies. They came to Jesus. And Jesus took them in His arms. He was not too busy. He held them. He blessed them. He loved them. Children are important to Jesus.” Taken from the Scriptures in Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why Emily and her friends are wired the way they are, why children are so precious to the Lord and why they were excited to go see Jesus. You see, when Jesus was a kid, hey, and even before that, there weren’t televisions. I know it’s shocking to some…no ‘Einstein Baby’ or ‘Veggie Tales’, not even ‘Sesame Street’. No, parents told stories to their children throughout the day. Children used their imaginations…They also didn’t have shelves packed with books, not even ‘Seuss’ (although I think this is a great thing as we read several books throughout the day). So, anyway, parents told their children stories by word of mouth as they went about their daily life. There weren’t 10 Bibles in a household (actually, that would be the Torah, or the first 5 books of the Bible, the 5 books of Moses, also called the Pentateuch) but instead, children would learn at the Temple and also from their parents who learned at the Temple. Jewish children had the 5 books of Moses MEMORIZED by the time they were something like 8 or 10 (the age I can’t remember).
So, it occurred to me that since all these children had memorized God’s word and ‘written it on the tablets of their hearts’, trusting that the grown ups (dads, moms, grandparents, teachers or ‘rabbis’) that had taught them weren’t lying or trying to lead them astray, when they heard that Messiah would come, they recognized Him. They anticipated Him and then were excited to see Him. He wasn’t complicated to them. He was approachable and Someone they knew they wanted to meet. Unfortunately, many scholars did not recognize Him. Unfortunately, many of Jesus’ own followers, namely His disciples, thought they had a corner on the market of how He worked. Thankfully, the kids had the ‘in’ with the Lord, and were welcomed into His arms.
The kids really had to exercise faith because there is no record of major miracles happening here and there during the 30 years of Jesus’ life prior to His 3 year ministry. God wasn’t splitting seas at that time or saving folks from fiery furnaces. Therefore, every story they heard about God, faith, trust, and hope were from years prior of ‘Superheroes’ like Moses, Noah, Joshua, King David, Sampson, King Nehemiah, Job, Daniel, Jonah, etc. Their faith wasn’t contingent on Jesus performing miracles or healing sick people, it came through hearing the Word of God. And, I must say, I am grateful that the accounts of Scripture were properly passed on over the generations to these precious children or else they would not have recognized Messiah. Thank You, Lord, that ‘Telephone’ was not the popular game at the time, but that their parents shared Your Word as it was written on their hearts. As a result, the children ran to You. Let us write it on ours…
(As far as how angry Jesus got when His disciples told the kids to ‘take off’, well that’s subject for another post…)