The Invitation - Day 3

Luke 18:15-17

15 One day, some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.

16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

This text is quoted often at baby dedications and in many sermons. It speaks to the importance of our kids in church and shows a God who loves the little ones around us as much as he loves us. It also demonstrates how Jesus often pushed back on conventional wisdom regarding who gets access to the Kingdom of God. Children are not excluded but encouraged and celebrated.

In a time and environment plagued with infant mortality at 50% and death, parents brought their kids to Jesus to see and heal. But the disciples thought they should keep the kids away, as many adults needed the attention of the great healer as well.

Jesus put a stop to their action. He wanted the kids close. He held out his hands and let them come to him.

If you have a child or a niece or a nephew who loves you, you know there is nothing better than when they see you, their face changes to a grand smile, and they come running, arms stretched out wide to give you the most tremendous hug you have ever had!

This text speaks to the accessibility of Jesus to those around him. He did not hide himself from them but made himself available to all those who needed a savior. In the same way that he made himself available to those kids, he also makes himself available to you. This is especially true when we realize how much we need a savior.

But here is the thing: Jesus went one step further, and what he said was shocking. He said you must be like a child to access the kingdom of heaven. Childlikeness is not just one way to gain access to the Kingdom but the only way to get access to Jesus.

If you cannot get rid of your pretentious nature, claims of fame, greed, need to control and dominate, and your grasp of power and identity, you will not be able to find your way into the kingdom of heaven.

Christ seeks those who understand who they are. Tax Collectors, not Pharisees, children with open minds, not adults with closed hearts, and those who recognize their need for a savior.

  1. What category do you fit into? 
  2. How can you become more childlike? And what does that mean? 
  3. Why do you think Jesus was so open to children? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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