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'Let the children come to me' 

Home                                                                Hidden meanings                                                                What the gospels say


 

People brought their children to Jesus, for a blessing. The disciples did not approve, and tried to prevent it. Jesus was indignant: 'Let them come. They are closer to God than you', he said. Or words to that effect.

Jesus and the Little Children, Vogel von Vogelstein

Jesus and the Little Children, Vogel von Vogelstein

 


 

Christ Blessing the Children, Nicolas Maes, 1652-3

Christ Blessing the Children, Nicolas Maes, 1652-3

 


Christ Blessing the Children, Benjamin Robert Haydon

Christ Blessing the Children, Benjamin Robert Haydon

 


Suffer the Little Children, Fritz von Uhde, 1884

 


Jesus with the children, stained glass, painter unknown

esus with the children, stained glass, painter unknown

 


Jesus and the Children, artist unknown

Jesus and the Children, artist unknown

 


Suffer the little children to come to me, Lucas Cranach the elder

Suffer the little children to come to me, Lucas Cranach the elder

 


Christ with the Children, Carl Bloch

Christ with the Children, Carl Bloch

 


Suffer the little children to come unto me, James Tissot

Suffer the little children to come unto me, James Tissot

 


Christ blessing the children, Van Dyck

Christ blessing the children, Van Dyck

 


Suffer the little children to come unto me, Jacob Jordeans

Suffer the little children to come unto me, Jacob Jordeans

 


Christ Blessing Children, Charles Lock Eastlake

Christ Blessing Children, Charles Lock Eastlake

 


Suffer the little children to come to me, James Wills, 1746

Suffer the little children to come to me, James Wills, 1746


Michael Belk, photograph

 


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Hidden meanings   in paintings of Jesus and children
  • Jesus was a rabbi, a respected teacher, and was treated with great deference by his followers. If Jesus was acting playfully with children, the disciples may have felt this showed a want of suitable dignity.

  • The characteristics of small children were openness, low status and a lack of high achievement; they were more likely than adults to be receptive to any new idea, because their characters were not fully formed.

  • Children are symbols of innocence and lack of guile; the message was that Jesus valued these qualities and wished his disciples would value them too. It also shows Jesus' sense of fun, and his disciples' over-emphasis on dignity and correct behaviour

The Bible text - Jesus and the little children

Luke 18:15-17

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."

Matthew 19:13-15

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; 14 but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

Mark 10:13-16

13 And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.

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Bible Art: Paintings and Artworks from the New Testament:  Suffer the little children to come to me... Jesus and the children

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Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Fletcher