An Invitation to Childlikeness
Mark 10:13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
The reputation of Jesus had spread and now, parents of young children wanted to bring their little ones to Jesus, that he might touch them. This would not have been unusual as the mortality rate of children in that era would have been about 50%. Can you imagine the hope that Jesus would have brought to these children and parents? They wanted him to touch their babes, hoping against hope that this would be a form of protection against anything that might cut their lives short. The parents’ hope was that life would be found through Jesus.
The disciples saw the children as more of a nuisance; that they were getting in the way of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus saw them in a completely different light. They represented the hope of new life which could be transformed in the presence of the Messiah. The children were also symbolic of all people who come to Christ. With the hope that Jesus can provide eternal life all people are to come to the Messiah and ask for his hand of blessing on their lives. Without this attitude of childlikeness we will fail to receive what Christ has for us.
The seriousness of life has a way of creeping in on us and taking away the joy of childhood. Remember when we were young and the simplest of things brought us great pleasure? I think about being enthralled at the flicker of candlelight during the Christmas season. Listening to the music my mother played on the grand piano would make my heart soar. The smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven and the anticipation of dad coming in the door at the end of the day with his joyful greeting heightened my senses. In fact, as a child I seemed to be aware of so much that was happening around me. Sadly, the older I get the more that I take these things for granted and I fail to see what is really happening around me.
The kingdom of God is happening around us and God is at work in the smallest of details. When we look up into the skies, seeing the stars, planets and moon do we see the hand of the Creator at work? When the birds begin the day with their morning song do we recognize that all of creation is awakening to praise God? To become like a child is to slow down enough and to allow God to awaken our spiritual senses that we recognize that he is at work in and around us every single day.
The invitation to childlikeness does not mean that we are ignorant adults, but that we live our lives in union with Christ who is actively engaged in kingdom business. It’s as if there is another world at work, on a different plane, but we won’t see it or participate in it if we fail to become like a child. As our sensitivities to spiritual matters increase, the more that we are able to gaze into the kingdom and Jesus’ work in his realm. It takes childlike faith and awareness to actually see the kingdom at work.
Jesus is not only the hope of parents desiring a long life for their children, but Jesus is our hope. The child who was born at Christmas invites us into the mystical majesty of eternal life in the kingdom. We must be willing to step with faith into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and allow him to lead us in our naivety into kingdom life. It’s a leap of faith to respond as a child and yet it is in this action that we find our hope in Christ. It’s time to relax in the arms of the Savior, have our senses awakened to, and live in the kingdom.
Lord, please help me to live with childlike abandon and trust in you. Amen.