Parallel passages: Matthew 19:9, 13-15; Luke 16:18, 18:15-16
11And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her;
12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
13And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them.
14But 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.
15Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
16And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.
Interpretation by the Church Fathers
The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Mark
How great is the faith of the multitude, who believed that Christ would bless those brought to Him just by laying His hands on them. But the disciples thought that it was beneath Christ’s dignity to have children brought to Him, and they tried to stop those who were approaching. What does Christ do? To teach them to have more humble thoughts, and to trample down worldly arrogance, He not only receives the children, but He gathers them up in His arms. He shows that He welcomes those who are guileless by saying, “for of such is the kingdom of God.” See that He did not say that the kingdom is “of these” but “of such as these”; that is to say, the kingdom of God belongs to those who labor and struggle have acquired that guilelessness which little children have by nature. For a little child does not envy or hear grudges, and even when he has been disciplined by his mother, he does not stand off aloof from her. But even if she is wearing rags, he would rather have her than a queen. Likewise he who leads a virtuous life holds nothing in higher than he does his Mother, who is the Church, not even pleasure who reigns as queen over so many. Therefore Christ gathers up in His arms all such as these, saying to them, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden” [Matthew 11:28]. And He blesses them, saying, “Come, ye blessed of My Father” [Matthew 25:34]. The kingdom of God is both the preaching and the promise of good things, Christ is here saying. Therefore, whoever accepts the preaching of God as a little child, that is, without any doubts or unbelief, enters into the kingdom of God, and into those good things which he has even now accepted by faith.