We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. In chapter 18, we come to an event in the life of Christ that’s largely overlooked. However, I think that it’s important to understand its significance to us.
People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:15-17 NIV
In this passage, three groups of people were coming to Jesus. There were parents, infants, and children. These parents simply wanted the Lord to declare a blessing over their children. However, the disciples weren’t too happy about this.
Jesus tells them clearly that this isn’t an annoyance. Receiving the children was a wonderful thing to the Lord. We can learn a lot from this encounter.
First of all, the Greek word for baby in this passage is very important. Its primary meaning is an unborn child or fetus. That tells me that, in the womb, a child is capable of receiving a blessing. Of course, we know that’s true because when Mary visited Elizabeth, John the Baptist leapt for joy in her womb (Luke 1:44).
Jesus had no problem holding the infants and blessing them. He used this opportunity to teach the disciples some important truths associated with life in the spirit.
Jesus went a step further. He started calling the other children who were standing nearby. “Hey kids! Come over here so I can bless you!” I’m sure the disciples felt a little embarrassed because of this.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting. The Lord begins to use this situation as a teaching moment for the disciples.
He tells the disciples not to stop them from coming. This is because these infants and children are the sort of people that make up the kingdom of God.
I’ve heard a lot of sermons preached about this, but in my mind, they fall short of what the Lord was saying. He’s talking about receiving the kingdom. You can’t receive something unless it’s given.
So, to understand how to receive, we need to see how the kingdom is offered. Jesus was clear about this throughout His ministry.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
John 3:3 NIV
If you think about it in the natural, it should become pretty obvious. What’s the easiest way to become part of a kingdom? The simple answer is that you’re born into it.
What’s the easiest way to become a United States citizen? It’s to be born in the United States. That may sound too simple, but the greatest truths usually are.
Jesus makes it clear to the disciples, the only way in, is to be born into the kingdom of God. You have to be willing to start from infancy – spiritually speaking.
Our problem is that many of us were already indoctrinated in the world system before salvation. We think that we know how things work. Unfortunately, the kingdom of God works on a whole different level.
We must start from a position of infancy. We must leave everything behind that we thought we knew.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV
Life in the kingdom of God requires a whole new mindset. That’s why the first order of business is to renew our minds by the Word of God. Only then can we truly begin to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom.
Question: Where are you along your spiritual journey with Christ?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi