At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all .”
Jesus employed many teaching techniques during His ministry. He utilized devices such as imagery and parables to communicate with simplicity, but His words were characterized by unmatched authority. His truths and the outcomes of those truths are inevitable.
In Matthew 18, Jesus initiated a discourse by pointing to the dependent disposition of children. Matthew 18:3 conveys, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Dependence on the Lord
Christ’s statement relates to being born again (John 3:3) and relying only on the Lord. His analogy demonstrates that the true believer will develop childlike dependence on Yahweh. The implication is that those in Christ will not place their trust in earthly resources or in the temporal environment. Instead, Christ-followers rely on the Lord’s grace and sovereignty in life’s journey. They believe in His word without question.
Children of God
This type of “childlike faith” in the Lord can also be connected to the Beatitudes taught by Christ. The blessings are linked to the humility and trust required to enter the kingdom of heaven. However, these are not works-based propositions, they are characteristics of true conversion, the results of a born again nature generated by the Holy Spirit.
Dependence on the Lord will not point to personal status or accomplishments, but it will credit everything to Christ. Likewise, it will drive obedience; it will generate prayer and repentance; it will produce praise to Him; it will spawn the desire to serve others; and it will bring joy. In Christ, the believer will bear fruit.
Ultimately, Jesus’ description of godly humility and trust will never be understood by the world. It judges such attributes as being unsophisticated. They are upside down from society’s values. However, those who are children of God understand their Lord and His worthiness.…and they look forward to eternity with their Savior.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”