Mark 10:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:14, NIV: "When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Mark 10:14, ESV: "But 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."

Mark 10:14, KJV: "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."

Mark 10:14, NASB: "But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, 'Allow the children to come to Me; do notforbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Mark 10:14, NLT: "When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children."

Mark 10:14, CSB: "When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

What does Mark 10:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the Beatitudes, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). The "kingdom of heaven" and the "kingdom of God" refer to the same thing: any manifestation of the glory, power, sovereignty, and authority of God over His creation. To be "poor in spirit" means to be spiritually bankrupt. To have no spiritual currency, nothing to recommend you before God.

As we become more spiritually mature and biblically knowledgeable, we tend to overestimate our standing and abilities before God. We see those who are not as far along and try to use the Bible to control them into right behavior—behavior more in line with what we think is appropriate in the kingdom of God. Too often, we build a kingdom of our own with half-understood truths and pressure others to fit our expectations, much like the Pharisees.

Soon, James and John will ask for positions of authority in Jesus' kingdom. The disciples expect Jesus to restore the kingdom of Israel with Himself at the head and themselves in appropriately grand positions. In their minds this kingdom certainly doesn't include giving deference to the powerless. Jesus compares their attitude to that of the Gentile rulers who lord over their subjects (Mark 10:42). He tells them, once again, that He is there to manifest the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of Israel. He is certainly not there to manifest the kingdom of John, or of James. In the kingdom of God, the powerless are the most welcome of all and the leaders are not gate-keepers but servants (Mark 10:43–45).

"Indignant" is from the Greek root word aganakteō, which is used for irritation or exasperation. In modern terms, it refers to someone who is "irked." Mark uses the term two other times. First, in the disciples' response to James and John's request for positions of authority in Jesus' kingdom (Mark 10:41). Second, of observers of the "waste" of the expense of the perfume Mary of Bethany used to anoint Jesus (Mark 14:4; John 12:3). Jesus gets indignant when children are kept away from Him; the disciples when someone threatens their power or even money.

This is not to say all expressions of anger or annoyance are acceptable. Many years later, Jesus' half-brother James will write, "For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20), using the Greek term orgē.