Questions for Bible study groups
- Look at the paintings of Jesus with children, below. Which one appeals to you most? Why?
- How is Jesus portrayed in these paintings?
- What message is the artist sending, in the way he shows Jesus, and also the children?
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 are’, 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.