Margarida F. Sarli works at the Ministerial Association as researcher and assistant at Shepherdess International.

"And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16.

This incident is recorded in the Scriptures by three of the evangelists. This is evidence of the great impression that it must have made upon the early Christians and of the importance that they attached to it.

To many persons children are "only children." They are often "in the way." They are "out of place." They are to be "out of the way.

But our Lord when on earth had no greater favorites than children. He set them in the midst; He laid His hands on them; He blessed them; He invited them to His presence; He welcomed them to His person; He folded them lovingly in His arms.

To Him they are the "lambs of the flock." He said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not...

In those days it was customary to bring young children into the synagogue to be blessed by the elders. How eagerly the parents must have brought them to Jesus! And how lovingly Jesus must have received them!

Notice that these little ones at times were infants, just babes. Luke recording the story says, "And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them" (Luke 18:15).

From Mark we have already read, "He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them." Moffatt's translation reads, "He put His arms around them and blessed them."

"Let mothers now lead their children to Christ. Let ministers of the gospel take the little children in their arms, and bless them in the name of Jesus. Let words of tenderest love be spoken to the little ones; for Jesus took the lambs of the flock in His arms, and blessed them."—EGW., Evangelism, pp. 349,350.

We should bring our little ones to Christ, dedicating them to His tender care and guidance. Christians must not keep them back, nor rebuke those who bring them, as did the disciples of old. The little ones are very dear to Christ. He cares for them all; the Father cares for them; for it is said, "It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."

It is important that we bring our children to Christ in their infancy, or childhood, dedicating them to Him, asking Him to embrace them with the arms of His mercy, and put His hands upon them and bless them.

Jesus' Dedication

When Jesus was just a baby, about forty days old, His parents took Him to the temple at Jerusalem to be dedicated, according to the custom of the times.

Of that experience we read from Desire of Ages, page 52, "The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar.

After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name 'Jesus' on the roll of the firstborn. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory.... He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest's arms; and when he enrolled the child's name he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy."

So with us, we cannot read the future. We cannot know what awaits these little ones. But we can know that by dedicating them to the Lord, asking of Him special blessing for them, and by cooperating as parents with the work of the Holy Spirit in their behalf, their possibilities before God are measureless. So let us thus give them to God; and as parents, let us renew our consecration to faithfully fulfilling the trust placed upon us in rearing them for Him.

Margarida F. Sarli is a researcher for the Ministerial Association and an assistant to Shepherdess International at the General Conference.