Someone once told me that when it comes to our children, more things are caught than taught, meaning that we can teach all the right things, read our Bibles, pray with our children, and take them to church, but in the end the way we live our lives in front of our children will have a much more profound impact on them than all the words we speak or the lessons we teach.
Jesus was greatly displeased that His disciples were blocking the blessing of these children, so He addressed their attitudes, and then, "He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them" (v. 16). Jesus refused to allow His disciples to stop the parents and their children from getting their blessing. Instead, Jesus did four things: He picked them up, He held them in His arms, He touched them, and then He blessed them.
Jesus had been teaching His disciples for over a year at this point, and by all accounts, they were zealous for Him. Yet, surprisingly, even after all their time with Jesus they still had much to learn. Even Jesus seemed shocked at times that they were so slow to understand (Mk 8:17). For example, in our text, we see that they were quick to condemn those who were not members of their cadre of disciples. However, Jesus pointed out that they should not dismiss or condemn others that are ministering in His name.
I’ve found that there are times in my life when I know God is trying to teach me something, but at the time nothing makes sense to me. What I thought I knew about God does not fit within the framework of what is happening to me, in me, or around me. I examine myself, I question my motives, my thoughts, my actions, and still can’t comprehend why I’m going through a situation, or why circumstances are unfolding as they are. The truth is that sometimes our preconceived paradigms have to be shattered, or at the very least radically shifted before we are ready to hear God or to learn the lessons God is trying to teach us.
The relationship between children and their parents, and especially between a father and his children is a key characteristic that differentiates between the evil end of days when God will pour out His wrath, and the restoration of all things, when God “will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” In Romans 1:30, apostle Paul speaks of the decline of civilization, which will result in the wrath and judgement of God upon the earth, and among the list of things he mentions are that men will be “backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents”
In our text we see a Gentile mother going to a man from Galilee named Jesus—a man some were saying was the Jewish Messiah. Only a mother desperate for her daughter’s deliverance would presume to go to person from an ethnic group who considered her to be an unclean dog. Yet, before this encounter was over, Jesus said this Canaanite woman had “great faith.” This is significant, because only two times in the Bible does Jesus call someone’s faith “great,” and in both cases they are Gentile.