“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
The scene in our reading today is not just a sentimental picture of Jesus hugging children. This is a radical statement about the kingdom of God. To the scheming adults who are debating divorce and trying to test him, Jesus points out that they should consider the children who have just approached him. Unless you receive the kingdom of God like they do, he warns, you will remain outside of it.
These words of Jesus pack a punch that should shock us when we hear them. Are adults not welcome in the kingdom of God?
Jesus is not saying that only children are welcome in God’s kingdom, but he makes clear that we must receive the kingdom of God with childlike trust, wonder, joy, and love.
If you want to be a part of the kingdom of God, then come to Jesus. There is no other way to enter God’s kingdom than by coming to Jesus. Stop standing at a safe distance. While a crowd of people hang back and question Jesus or listen to him teach, it is only the children who approach Jesus and linger in his presence. They are not interested in debating Jesus or in luring him into a trap. Their agenda is simply Jesus.
The good news of salvation is that if we come to God through Jesus, he will always and completely accept us.
Father, we want to live eternally in your kingdom. Grant us the simple faith to trust you and to embrace the for-giveness and acceptance you offer us in Christ Jesus. In his name, Amen.
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