Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.Mark 9:36-37
The opening words of this passage follow a pattern that emphasizes our Lord’s actions. Mark’s gospel is known to be a fast-paced gospel. Most of the time, events happen immediately or suddenly. Mark makes tremendous use of the word, “and,” that links one scene to another in succession. However, every now and then, Mark uses a series of words together that, in my opinion, is something of a slow-motion effect. This effect is all the more dramatic when it takes place within the Mark’s normally fast-paced account.
If you will bear with me for a moment, I want to show you something beautiful. I am going to try and describe these opening words according to their grammar. The two words translated “taking” in verse 36 are different words. The first means to take or to receive. The second means to embrace. The verb in between these two is a simple past event. Here is what you and I are to understand when we read this passage. Jesus, the LORD SABAOTH received this little one into his arms. Jesus, the LORD of Glory, embraced this little one. Jesus, the LORD GOD did this in the midst of all who were watching. All who were standing there saw ALMIGHTY GOD willingly and lovingly receive this child into his arms and EMBRACE HIM.
It is true that children of grace are to be taught by the Great Teacher. We are to be disciplined by the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR. We are to be sent into the world by the RULER of the nations. But I want to remind you on this Monday, that children of God are embraced before the whole world by the same arms that were nailed to the Cross for them. It will not be long before the very arms that wrapped that little one would be stretched out and nailed to Calvary. Three days later, the strong right hand that held that little one will conquer death, hell, and the grave.
These are the arms that receive the children of God. These are the arms that embrace the children of God. Even in your darkest moments, dear Christian, these are the arms that embrace you.
Soli Deo Gloria.