During the Galilean ministry of our Lord and Savior, the disciples came unto Him, saying: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” (Matt. 18:1–5.) …
[On another occasion,] when the disciples of Jesus attempted to [stop] the children from approaching the Lord, He declared:
“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 10:14–16.)
What a magnificent pattern for us to follow. …
Several years ago, I received a letter from a woman who … was ever so anxious for her husband, who as yet was not a member of the Church, to share the joy she felt.
She wrote of a trip which she, her husband, and their three sons made from the family home to Grandmother’s home in Idaho. While driving through Salt Lake City, they were attracted by the message which appeared on a billboard. The message invited them to visit Temple Square. Bob, [her] husband, made the suggestion that a visit would be pleasant. The family entered the visitors’ center, and Father took two sons up a ramp that one called “the ramp to heaven.” Mother and three-year-old Tyler were a bit behind the others, they having paused to appreciate the beautiful paintings which adorned the walls. As they walked toward the magnificent sculpture of Thorvaldsen’s Christus, tiny Tyler bolted from his mother and ran to the base of the Christus, while exclaiming, “It’s Jesus! It’s Jesus!” As Mother attempted to restrain her son, Tyler looked back toward her and his father and said, “Don’t worry. He likes children.” …
As I read this account, I thought of the statement from the book of Isaiah: “And a little child shall lead them” (Isa. 11:6).
The words of a Primary hymn express the feelings of a child’s heart:
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear,
Things I would ask him to tell me if he were here.
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
Oh, let me hear how the children stood round his knee.
I shall imagine his blessings resting on me;
Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
All in the lovelight of Jesus’ face.
(Children’s Songbook, page 57.)
I know of no more touching passage in scripture than the account of the Savior blessing the children, as recorded in 3 Nephi. The Master spoke movingly to the vast multitude of men, women, and children. Then, responding to their faith and the desire that He tarry longer, He invited them to bring to Him their lame, their blind, and their sick, that He might heal them. With joy they accepted His invitation. The record reveals that “he did heal them every one” (3 Ne. 17:9). …
Concluding this magnificent event, Jesus “wept, … and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. …
“And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
“And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven … ; and they came down and encircled those little ones … ; and the angels did minister unto them” (3 Ne. 17:21, 23–24).
Over and over in my mind I pondered the phrase, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15).
(See Ensign, June 2002, pages 3–6.)