In Matt 18:3, Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus made this significant remark to answer the question raised by the disciples, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus could have simply pointed out the disciple and explained the criteria of becoming the greatest, but the issue at stake was more than a simple resolution of the dilemma among the disciples.
The issue was about the indulgence that would prevent human beings to enter into the Kingdom of God. Jesus wanted to make it crystal clear that these sins are more developed in adults than it is among the children. These developed sins actually prevent the adults from reconciling to God or from entering into the Kingdom of God. These sins are pride and the absence of humility (v.4); strong resistance to any change (v. 3); easy proclivity to manipulate the weaker section (v. 6); greater influence of the fallen values of the world (v. 7); and indulgence into sinful habits (v.8-9). These sins are the primary reason why most adults resist against the lordship of Jesus Christ more in comparison to the children.
However, a child does not usually suffer with pride and arrogance. Unlike adult, they are dependent on their father. They do not seek independence from their father. They trust their mother who is a primary care provider. In fact, right from the infancy, they recognize the warmth of their mother’s bosom and hands and they enjoy them. When the mother spreads her arm toward her child, the child smiles and she comes to her arms happily.
Jesus wants adults to become like children in their relationship with their Creator God. He wants them to enjoy a relationship that has no place for pride and arrogance, no place for independence, and no place for any distrust against their heavenly Father.
Like children, adults need to humble themselves. Like children, they must show their absolute dependence on their heavenly Father. They need to trust God for good times as well for bad times. Like children crying for their mother, they need to cry out to God, in their repentance of their sin. Like children turning to mother’s arm they need to turn to God for forgiveness and the ultimate shelter. Surely, then, they can enter into the Kingdom of God. May God help adults to be like children.