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
Children have a precious home in the heart and eyes of God. So precious, that when the disciples rebuke people for bringing Children to Jesus to touch and bless, Jesus becomes extremely displeased. As proud and crusty adults, its far too easy to look at the children as an irritation, a distraction, an inconvenience and annoying. This is something that I struggle with. We look at children as they are sticking legos down the toilet, putting their boogery fingers into the birthday cake, running around chasing the cat and get irritated. Now while God has commanded us not to be childish, He has also shown us that we must be child like in our receiving of the Kingdom of God if we are to enter it. In Jesus’ time, children were not in a high place in society. There were expected to be seen and not heard. Children really had nothing to offer and were looked at as a nuisance. This was an important teaching moment for the disciples. When Jesus saw the disciples rebuking the people, who were most likely the parents, Jesus was indignant. Not often was Jesus moved to this level of emotion or disapproval.
Jesus teaches the disciples not only does the kingdom of God belong to those who are like children, but if you do not receive the Kingdom of God like a child, than you will not enter it.
What does it mean to “Enter the Kingdom of God”?
-Be A Christian
-Have Jesus be Your King
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.- Matthew 7:21
And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown in hell- Mark 9:47
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”- Matthew 4:17
We want to enter the kingdom of God! Some people may disagree with the meaning of entering, but regardless of what “Entering the Kingdom of God” means, we can all agree that we should all enter the Kingdom!
When it comes to being child like in faith, here are 5 ways we can be like children.
Children are incredibly humble. Though children have their moments of pride and selfishness, children have a spirit and demeanor of humility.
Not concerned with what others think
Walking around with boogers hanging out their nose, chocolate all over their faces all while their shirt is inside out.
As adults we come home and see a giant zit on our face or rip in our pants and we are horrified! Did I walk around like this all day? Oh no!
Don’t be consumed with what other people think of you. Be concerned with what God thinks!
Willing to learn and listen
Kids love to ask questions! What is that? How does that work? Where do babies come from? Why is that lady crying? Why is your hair grey? How did the ark fit all the animals on it?
Have a poor in spirit attitude of listening and learning. Always be learning!
Children are much more correctable than adults!
“Woah Woah, be careful not to spill the paint on the floor”
Correct a child:
Correct an adult:
“Ugh, I’ve painted before.
Be open to correction and guidance from others. Even if they are less experienced or younger
This is why we love our Christian school and our Children’s & Youth pastors. They help teach and shape our kids before they grow up to be adults who know everything and are hard to teach.
Children are unbelievably trusting.
There was something about trusting in mom and dad. The situation may have been really bad, but children don’t understand that, they just trust that mom and dad will make it better. They don’t understand what it’s going to take to change the tire, they just trust that the car will drive again.
Some of us need to STOP worrying and start trusting that God us going to take care of everything. See adults look at the circumstances of the problem and analyze and think about the situation. Kids just see dad get out the wrench and think “I don’t have to worry, God’s gonna fix it. He knows what to do”
-How am I going to pay the bills?
-What’s going to happen to my sick family member?
-What’s going to happen in the future.
Kids don’t spend their time worrying about bills, family, the election or the future of the country. They simply trust that God will make everything better. To human eyes, their trust might seem naive, but to God, it’s childlike trust and faith. This is the faith that we have in Jesus. This is why the Bible calls the cross foolishness, because it seems foolish! Stop thinking like an adult and just trust the Lord!
Children are the most forgiving people on earth.
I see it at school all the time. Some one walks up and trips another kid and laughs when he falls in the puddle. That kid is very mad when they both come into my office for some “discipleship”. But about 5-10 minutes later, they are best friends again. How many of us are like that? Or do we hold on to grudges, offenses, chips on our shoulders for years. We can carry an offense about something a family member said at thanksgiving 5 years ago but Ethan can forgive another kid for smacking him in the face and taking his swing in a couple minutes. THAT is the child like receiving of the kingdom: child like forgiveness.
How many of our lives are being held back by unforgivneness? Can’t move forward in life because of what we are holding onto in the past. I’ve never heard a kid say: “Wow, look at the way they just waltz here into church like nothing happened. Typical. They don’t care AT ALL about my feelings. This is just like them. You know my friend was right about them, they are so inconsiderate about other people’s feelings” NO! They say “Wanna go play on the swings?”
Let go of unforgiveness and move on from offense and hurt. Give it to God and remember how much he has forgiven us!
I love how willing Kids are to give to others. I remember growing up always wanting to give to the homeless people, begging on the streets. I didn’t have the thoughts of “They’re just going to buy beer/drugs.” I just wanted to give.
Adults are skeptical
Children are freely giving
To operate like a child in the kingdom of God we must be giving in everything that we do.
5. Seek Jesus
In this text we see these children openly running to Jesus to be with him. This is the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees. We don’t read anywhere in scripture where it says the kids flocked to this Pharisees! The Pharisees were old crusty religious people who the were not appealing to any children. Jesus on the other hand was a natural drawer of children. Jesus had the natural spirit of the kingdom of God which drew the children to him. They wanted to be with Jesus. Jesus was their friend and they wanted to sit on his lap and talk with him.
Question: Are children drawn to us? Are we good with kids? A great indicator of how we are operating in faith is how well we do with children. Children have a great fake alarm. They have an amazing religious adult alarm.
A Christian will seek after Jesus like a child, if he is operating in child like faith. As adults, often times you might run to other things instead of Jesus. You might hit the bottle, or a burger or a cigarette instead of to Jesus. It’s as if as we get older, running to the arms of a Jesus becomes more of a childish thing. We don’t really need to run to Jesus, we’re ok, we’ll make it through. NO! Jesus is the one we should seek and run to. When we are tired and want to flip on the tv and zone out from our problems, RUN TO JESUS.
We see the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and with the costly oil. She didn’t care about what people thought of her. She crashed the Pharisee’s party so that she could get to Jesus. What does it mean to run to Jesus?
What do you do when times are tough?
Do you spend time in prayer? Do you worship by yourself?
Do you talk with Jesus and look to him for your help like a friend?
Do you look forward to spending time with him?
He wants you to run to him! He’s waiting for you to sit on his lap and talk to you and bless you!
That is the kingdom of God.
Lord show us how we are lacking in receiving the kingdom of God like a child
Lord we ask for your spirit to give us the power to receive the kingdom
Lord help us to be humble, help us to trust, help us to be giving, help us to be forgiving and to seek you more diligently like a friend.