Jesus loves kids! He encourages us to change and become like little children. But what did Jesus mean when He said this?
In this passage, Jesus is answering His disciples’ question as to who is the greatest in the kingdom. His disciples were learning what it meant to be Jesus’ disciples and were wondering how they could work their way to greatness. In response, Jesus called children to come to Him as a way of illustrating His answer—whoever takes the lowly position of a child is greatest in the kingdom.
While the disciples concentrated on who was greatest in heaven, Jesus turned their perspective upside-down. He said that those who willingly take the lower position are greatest.
Young children are often void of pride, hypocrisy, and haughtiness. They are teachable and humble, unlike the disciples who were competing to be the best. Jesus taught that a humble spirit has a way of reversing a competitive mindset.
The humility Jesus referred to in this passage is not a self-loathing or devaluing of yourself. Instead, it is a vulnerability to God. We don’t need to compete to be the greatest or aggressively desire to improve our own status. We can humbly come to Jesus like children.
Jesus calls us to have a humble and unpretentious faith in Him and the salvation He offers. Think about how a child receives a gift. They love to open gifts with eagerness! In contrast, adults often want to earn what they get. Let’s open Jesus’ free gift of salvation with openness, honesty, and unbridled joy…just like a child!
To help you connect with God's heart for children, we have compiled this list of Bible verses that speak to children as a blessing in our lives and to how God asks us to relate to and regard children. Learn more!