I expect we all like singing the song “Our God Is a God Who Saves! Let God Arise!” Most of us often pray and some cry for God to return and put things right again (His justice) when calamity and corruption abound. In our country we have been hearing months of horrendous testimony at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. There are many crying for justice. We are living in a society that has gone astray which has allowed unimaginable evil to be done to our children both inside and outside the church, both by wilful neglect and by ignorance. Zecharaiah 10 deals with such a society that has gone astray – God’s flagship nation that has become lost and afflicted. However when God returns to save them it is not all happiness and singing! Well yes for the oppressed but not for everyone. God has reserved massive judgment for the leaders who neglected His flock. He calls the leaders literally ‘billy-goats’ (v3). Woe betide anyone who is God’s enemy when he returns, because he will smash all that they place their pride in (11:1-3). So there is victory and children will see it, live well again and return with their parents from exile (v7,9)… but there is also judgment and therein lies one of the tensions of this present age.
Jesus is indignant here for the only time recorded in scripture. Why? It might have been because his disciples were buying a narrative about power and status that limits ordinary people from coming to Jesus. There is nothing you need to bring when you come to Jesus. You do not need to be a so-called ‘good Christian.’ Just come with full submission and open hearts like children. Then He will open his arms and hold you close. If you refuse to let go of your adult pretences and religious pride then he warns that you will never enter the kingdom! Notice his love for children. There were probably many high-standing, intellectual socialites waiting in line behind the children for their time talking with Jesus. I am sure they were surprised at the very least that Jesus was making time for the little ones ahead of them, the scruffy kids who lacked significance in the eyes of proper society. God is overjoyed to bring his caring presence to children (9:37). More than that when we do likewise it brings a special kind of joy that I suspect is what he must have felt too. We need to stand up and be good caring shepherds that eschew silly adult hang-ups.
Reference – A Ransom for Many: the Gospel of Mark Simply Explained (Welwyn Commentary Series); Wilmhurst, Steve; © 2011 EP Books.