Matthew 18:2–3 (ESV): 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
The time when Jesus was to be betrayed, beaten, and crucified was coming soon. In Matthew 17 Jesus again foretold his death and resurrection.
When Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum, tax collectors challenged Peter about Jesus paying taxes. Jesus intimated that he should not have to pax tax as the Son of God, but in order not to cause an offense he told Peter to go fishing. The first fish he caught would have enough money to pay the tax both for Jesus and for Peter.
At that time, the disciples questioned Jesus about who was the greatest in God’s kingdom. Jesus answered by taking a small child and putting him in the midst and saying the words of our highlight.
The rest of the chapter is Jesus’ teaching that flows from this question and object lesson. Those who receive children in Jesus’ name receive Jesus. Those who cause children (whether in age or spiritual maturity) to sin will be greatly judged by God.
Indeed, no one should despise a child (whether in age or spiritual maturity) for God does not desire any of them to perish, but will leave the ninety-nine in the mountains to find one lost sheep.
In times of conflict in the church, every effort should be made to reconcile, and God would bless those efforts. In contrast, the one who has received God’s undeserved grace but refuses to forgive someone for an offense will be judged harshly.
The word pictures of this chapter are beautiful, but I think we find it difficult to practice. Not many truly want to be seen as a child… physically, emotionally, or spiritually for long. Indeed, we pride ourselves in our sophistication.
How might our lives and our churches be transformed if we truly adopted the posture of children?
Heavenly Father, help me to regain and maintain the posture of a child – trusting, willing to learn, following eagerly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.