Jesus not only loves the little children, He also demands that all of His followers be just like them…
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 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. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. Mark 10:13 – 16 (ESV)
So if we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom, what does it mean to become like a little child?
Of course, little children will generally believe whatever you tell them, so many people think that to become like a little child is to simply trust. And I’m sure there is an element of that in Jesus’s word. After all, trusting is key to eternal life. But I think there is another trait of children which is even more in view.
It is the trait of dependence. Little children are nothing if not dependent.
They need someone to feed them, and they need someone to clothe them. Someone else provides their shelter. They speak because someone teaches them to speak. They need someone to teach them right from wrong. They are desperately, totally, needy.
And so are we. We are all needy, but only some of us recognize it. And that’s what Jesus is looking for – followers who recognize their dependence on Him. In fact, I think we can say that recognizing our dependence is the great trait of godliness. Consider that dependence is not only the way to become a Christian, but also the way to live the Christian life.
You become a Christian by renouncing independence, that is, renouncing dependence on your own works, and declaring that you need Jesus’s works. And you continue in the Christian life by daily declaring in prayer that you need Him. In fact, prayer is the great act of dependence. Therefore, the Christian who spends very little time in prayer is not being child-like. And the Christian who spends much time in prayer is honoring God who loves to be depended on.
The facts are this – we are all like little children, that is dependent. But some people act like they’re all grown up. This is a foolish plan. So today…if you are under the impression that you are “good enough” to one day be granted access into heaven, recognize that your righteous deeds are like a filthy garment (Isaiah 64:6), and act like a little child by declaring your dependence on Christ’s work at the cross for your salvation. And if you have become a Christian, then today…and all days…crawl up on your Heavenly Daddy’s lap and show Him that you need Him…by setting aside time to seek Him in prayer.
April 24, 2015 at 6:59 am
I focused on verse 50: “And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.” And I wondered why Mark put in that part about throwing aside his garment. You made it clear when you tied in Isaiah 64:6. Every Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit has meaning if we’re searching and that meaning will be revealed to us in one way or another. Thank you Roger. Your comment “They speak because someone teaches them to speak.” is what I have said about parents who say that they are not raising their children in a Christian family and will let them decide what they want to believe when they get older. It’s like saying “we’re going to let them decide for themselves what language they want to speak, so we don’t talk to them!” Foolish!
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April 24, 2015 at 7:18 am
So true, about parents letting kids decide what they believe on their own, Tom. One of the things that Proverbs so carefully teaches about kids is that they are fools and need to be taught wisdom.