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’ genuine love of children can only be properly appreciated within the context of the callous attitudes toward children in Hellenistic society in the 1st century. We can see this in a papyrus sent from Alexandria, dated June 17, 1 BC. It is a letter from a husband to his expectant wife, who he thinks may have had her child. He says: “if it was a male child, let it live; if it was a female, cast it out.” Jesus’ action in honoring the children was a direct challenge to this attitude.