In this passage of Luke we read about Jesus interacting with a group of children. In this scene, we see that there were many parents bringing their children to Jesus for blessing. Were some of the children sick and needed healing? Did the parents want a blessing for some superstitious reason? Were they just impressed because Jesus was a great teacher, and wanted a blessing for that reason? The reasons are not disclosed.
(Note that two different words for kids are used in this passage: one for infants or babies, and one for children up to teenage years.)
The disciples didn't want Jesus bothered by this situation. But Jesus overruled them. He told them not to forbid them, to let them come. The Kingdom of God belongs to such as them. There are two areas of encouragement here. First, parents are encouraged to bring their children to Jesus. We do that when we bring our children to the worship service, the place where we expect to meet Jesus. We do that in our prayer, in our Bible studies, in our times of family devotions. Second, Jesus gives encouragement that He will not turn them away.
What is the thrust of Jesus' teaching? Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God like a little child shall not enter in. All, regardless of age, must enter into the kingdom in the way of a child.
What is the way of a child? This is a simple description of faith. A child can come, because a child can exercise faith. And children, in their relationship to their parents, are examples of faith.
- A child is dependent on the resources of another. So are we, as Christians, and it does not change as we grow in Christ.
- A child has complete trust. In the same way, we put our total trust in God.
- A child has complete sincerity. Their deepest relationship of trust and dependence is with their parents. Likewise, we have many relationships with those around us, but only one relationship of trust and dependence -- with the Lord.
- Children naturally love their parents. They delight in the child-parent relationship. They want to be cared for. Likewise, we should delight in our relationship with God.
- It's not a one-time thing. A child is continuously dependent and trusting. Likewise, our relationship to the Lord is a continual thing, not a one-time event.
Although we are all imperfect, and often fall short, these items above are what we strive after, what we are called to in our faith.
So we see that the kingdom of heaven is made up of childlike people. Also, we read here that it is received like a child. What does it mean to "receive" the kingdom? The kingdom is Christ; receiving the kingdom is the same thing as receiving Christ, and being in Christ.
Have you received Christ? If not, humble yourself as a child and receive Him? If so, follow Him with childlike faith!