Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
At the time of Jesus’ teaching ministry, children had little status. They were often pushed aside as second-class citizens. So Jesus’ words got the attention of his listeners when he invited children to come near. This wasn’t the first time his disciples had heard Jesus’ teaching on this—and it wasn’t the last time they tried to prevent access to Jesus. But Jesus would have none of that. He drew close to people whom society tended to cast aside.
Some Christians have an attitude of pushing away people who are poor or who are different from them. There are many ways that we can tend to huddle close, excluding people who don’t fit our standards. Yet we don’t see that attitude in anything Jesus did. In fact, again and again Jesus reached out to the marginalized.
To enter into the kingdom of heaven, Jesus says, we must receive it with complete dependence and trust—like a child. Children are at the mercy of their caregivers. They cannot protect themselves, defend themselves, or provide for themselves. They have to rely on and trust their caregivers for everything they need.
God wants us to see that we have the same kind of dependence on him for life and salvation. Trusting in him, relying on his power and mercy and grace, we can receive these wonderful gifts and enjoy full life forever.
Lord Jesus, we are glad for the gift of salvation. Make us generous in sharing the gift of your love with others, inviting them to believe and trust in you too. Amen.
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