Speaking to the Soul – April 1

Like a child

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15

It isn’t at all surprising that there were parents who wanted Jesus to bless their children. But it was surprising that Jesus made time to do so. We need to remember that, at this time, he was on the way to Jerusalem. He knew that within a few days, he would be crucified. The disciples were concerned that Jesus shouldn’t be bothered by such matters and so told the parents off. They were acting in the way that any considerate person would have done, but they were absolutely and completely wrong. Even though they knew Jesus well and had spent much time with him, they completely misread the situation.

Not only did Jesus welcome the children, but he went much, much further. He insisted that the only way to enter the kingdom of God was by becoming like a child. As was the case so often, Jesus turned the disciples’ thinking upside down. They saw children as being a noisy distraction for Jesus, but he saw them as the perfect illustration of what they all needed to be.

I am sure that Jesus had many things in mind when he encouraged his followers to become like children. He was aware of their humility and urged his disciples to come to him with empty hands, ready to receive his gifts. But I am sure he was also deeply aware of the trusting nature of children. Children very quickly learn who they can trust.

I remember with pleasure the times when my children would leap into the air, certain that I would catch them. And now that they are adults I am equally grateful that they don’t still do so! But when a child leaps into their parent’s arms they are expressing total confidence. They know that they will be completely safe.

As adults, we are wonderful at making everything extremely complicated. The previous verses tell us of Jesus being challenged about his views on divorce. I think he pointed to children by way of contrast. It was as if he was saying: “Stop making things so complicated. Just trust yourself to me.”

In what ways do you need to become more child like?
Lord God, thank you that you are a loving father and that I can always place my complete trust in you. Amen