Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
All four Gospel writers record the third reference Jesus uses to show the way to be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 18:3: And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Then, again in Mark 10:15 Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”Luke repeats Jesus’ words from Mark: “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Then, in the Gospel of John, in a very familiar interaction with Nicodemus, Jesus uses a little different metaphor to say the same thing. He says in John 3:5: “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”He goes on to say: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” Jesus is referring to being “born again” and means something different than what is normally believed. Being born again is not a salvation experience-a special faith event where a person passes from death to life. Being born again is just what it says. You are born all over again, so that you are like a little child again with all of the purity and simplicity of being this childlike person.
What does that mean to be childlike? A little child naturally trusts, knows very little, and is eager to mimic what he or she sees. In a very real sense, for an adult to become childlike is to be willing to unlearn and start over again with respect to what it means to follow Jesus and not remain dependent upon the religious system from which he or she originally came.
So, in the case of Nicodemus, who was probably the head of a rabbinical school, Jesus was challenging him to rethink his entire spiritual education-to start over and learn the ABC’s of what it means to grow up spiritually into a personal relationship with God through His Messiah Jesus. Once a person turns from his ways and begins to act as a little child, then he is being born again.
Becoming as a little child with Jesus means the following: 1. You don’t know everything. 2. All that you have been taught needs to be stripped away.
- You want to learn all you can about this new life with Jesus. 4. In order to learn more about the ABC’s of walking with Jesus, it’s most helpful to watch him carefully and mimic what you hear and see. 5. Learn to simply trust Jesus for your life-your strength, direction and future.
Adults think they know everything and have the ugly habit of trusting themselves. Children know they don’t know everything and therefore gladly develop the beautiful habit of simply trusting.
Do you want to enter the Kingdom of heaven? Become like a little child!