1. Mark 10:13–16 (ESV)
  2. Structure and outline

Considering whether Mark 10:13–16 is relevant to the discussion on infant baptism

Mark 10:13–16 (ESV)

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.

Since early times this pericope has been used as defence of children’s baptism (see already Tertullian, De baptismo, 18:5). But since the subject is not baptism, there is also not a direct indication about children’s baptism. Jesus’ blessing by itself does not have to lead to baptism. It is important, of course, to realize that grace is so truly the gate to the kingdom of heaven that little children can already receive Jesus’ blessing. When baptism is a sign of God’s grace (and not of our works or faith), then, because of the generality of this grace as mentioned in the text, indirectly a conclusion can be drawn in favour of baptism. In the matter of exegesis, however, there is always the disadvantage that the interest in baptism moves the emphasis from general statements (10:14b–15) to the special words and events (10:14a; 16).1