Strange Way to Qualify for the Kingdom
Scripture Reading — Luke 18:15-17
"The kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
Picture a little girl sitting contentedly on Jesus' lap. She's smiling shyly as Jesus speaks to her. Picture grubby hands smearing Jesus' clothes as another little one tries to climb onto Jesus' lap. Picture parents looking nervously but happily at their children, hoping they'll behave while they're with the rabbi. Picture the disciples, stunned at something Jesus has just said.
The disciples had been chasing these parents and their little ones away, assuming that Jesus had more important things to do than hang around with little children. But Jesus had rebuked them for rebuking these parents; he had opened his arms wide to the children; and he had said that the kingdom of God belongs to people like these little ones! That left the disciples scratching their heads once again.
What did Jesus mean when he said this about children? Was he talking about innocence? No. If you have children of your own, you know there is no such thing as an innocent child!
What Jesus loved about children was that they are especially good at needing, asking, and receiving. Jesus loves that! He loves people who have no illusions about self-sufficiency, who instead know they are absolutely helpless and need the Lord. They are the kind of people who are welcome in his kingdom!
<p>Lord, kill off my self-sufficiency and self-importance. Make me like a little child in all the right ways so that I too may find a place on your lap. In your name, Amen.</p>