A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Matt. 18:1 ¶ At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Matt. 18:2 He called a child, whom he put among them,
Matt. 18:3 and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 18:4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 18:5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
The idea of greatness and power was consuming the disciples as well as those surrounding Jesus. Their image of power and leadership came from the world and they were trying to imagine what this new kingdom was going to look like. It just didn’t make sense to them.
Jesus decided to show them what the kingdom was going to be like and the picture was a bit stunning. Instead of someone like Caesar with all of his power, wealth and might Jesus, called a child over and had this child stand in the midst of them. One can imagine what this child may have looked like. The child may have been dirty and sweaty from running around and playing and was certainly not dressed in any kind of finery. Just an ordinary child — and this was Jesus’ picture.
That picture was worth a thousand words because as much as Jesus could have preached about the kingdom his followers kept trying to figure that out in their minds. But here, before them stood a simple youngster, and people knew what they were like. This was the picture that the people were to understand — that this is what it’s supposed to be like in the kingdom. God’s children, all of them as humble loving children, enjoying the love and fellowship of the Father, humbly serving in the kingdom.
This was also a picture of himself. The people may not have understood it in this way, but he had come as a child to bring about the redemption of humanity. He had humbled himself and as his life was preparing the way for his followers, so was his humble childhood.
The call is now for us to be a reflection of him and if he came in the form of a humble child, then our reflection is of a humble child in the kingdom.
And all around us we see the children, and they are a reflection of Christ. If we are to welcome Christ into our lives, we must welcome the children, for in their midst, he is there. The needy, hungry, and stranded children of this world. This is where we find Jesus and this becomes, for us, the picture that should move us. We try too hard to figure it all out. Jesus made it simple. He brought the child and they saw what he meant. It’s time to open our eyes and see the children for they are the picture which leads us to Jesus.
Lord, open my eyes today to see with your eyes, the children and you. Amen.