Current Western society has experienced a juvenilization of culture in recent decades, and perhaps the past two hundred years, in ways that would seem strange to ancient people. In the biblical world, children had no rights. Life did not revolve around them whatsoever. They were looked upon more as potential adults, and were expected to conform to family, synagogue, and society. So, it was quite understandable, within such a society, that Christ’s disciples were perturbed with people bringing their children to Jesus – this was adult business, and not for kids.
But Jesus would have none of this from his disciples, and he said something which was a jaw-dropping shock to them: “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” The upwardly-minded disciples did not have this as their strategy for taking over the world. It was not even close to being on their radar because the worldly tools of power, influence, and position were their ambition.
Citizens of the kingdom of God, in-other-words, enter through sheer humility and remain through complete dependence. Like little children, they have nothing to offer and no rights to claim. It would all have to be given to them. Ah, now we are not far from the kingdom! A life of faith and entrance to God’s kingdom is a gift of grace. We cannot enter through superior skill or intelligence and not by hard work or savvy insight to the system. None of that stuff neither impresses nor influences Jesus in the slightest. Rather, the subjects of his kingdom need the king, and the realm of King Jesus is wherever the will of God is done. And the will of God cannot be done apart from the spiritual virtues of humility and trust. Will you become a little child and embrace a life of humility and dependence?
King Jesus, I forsake all pride and selfish ambition and come to you with all the humility I can muster. I need you for all things, and trust in your grace and compassion to gently and mercifully guide me into a life of faith that pleases you and blesses the world. Amen.