“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 18:3 (NASB)
In the verse prior to this text, the disciples approached Jesus with the question about greatness. We can see from their question it shows their pride. Their idea of greatness seemed to be on the basis of leadership and knowledge.
Jesus takes this opportunity to underscore the nature of true greatness, He answers them by saying that they are to become ‘like children’. He emphasizes the point that the greatest in the kingdom will be those who humbles himself like a child. He reiterates The Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Kingdom” (Matt. 5:5)
Like a child, it is a matter of being humble and honest, admitting that we are weak and sinful and always in need God’s help. Children desperately need and rely on their parents as we should on our heavenly Father. We rely on His mercy for our salvation and for our every need.
Finally, humility means being teachable. Children are curious, they are constantly learning new things. Similarly, there is no end of learning about faithful discipleship and the greatness of God.
Today we can see many falling into a similar situation of the disciples when we allow our knowledge of scripture and our influence over others to be a measure of our greatness. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Let us ask ourselves: are we willing to come before God as children? We take words from the Hymn written by Augustus Toplady, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling; naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, look to Thee for grace.”