Faith Like a Child


Matthew 18:1-5 “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

It has always been interesting to me to see the method Jesus uses to make a point.  In Matthew 18, the disciples are trying to discern who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  We know from other conversations that they were most likely trying to see which one of them would be the greatest in the kingdom.  While Jesus could have simply rebuked them for their questioning, he instead took a child and stood them before the disciples. 

Notice what he says. 

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18

Jesus is saying to the disciples and those hearing that without faith like a child, one will not even enter heaven much less be the greatest in heaven.  He goes on to say that to be humble like a child demonstrates the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and gives a warning against causing a child to fall into sin.

What does it mean to be humble like a child?  What is childlike faith?  Children are blessed with the ability to trust and believe in a way that is often lost as the ability to do critical thinking increases.  Children are more prone to listen to those in authority over them because we tell them it is for their good.  They see the world in a much more positive light. 

My son still will say that I know everything about everything.  And my heart hurts even now for the day that he sees just how wrong that is.  But because I can fix the television or give him a random fact about bicycles, he is convinced that I will always have the answers he needs.   

Jesus is calling us to trust God with that same level of love and innocent understanding.  For unlike my fallible ability and knowledge, God does know everything about everything.  And more than that, God wants us to trust him completely.  It is only by fully trusting in Him and His word that we can enter the kingdom of heaven. 

Too many times, we as adults get wrapped up in theological discussions and debates.  We believe that if we prove our point intellectually, others will concede, see our superior argument, and believe.  Has that ever worked for any of you?  Have you ever argued anyone into belief?  Why is it that we make gospel matters more complicated than our savior did?  I believe often it is out of a love for God that we get into this mindset.  It is out of an understanding of just how precious the gift is that we convince ourselves that it cannot be so simple.  It is the greatest gift of all, therefore it must be complex and weighty.  But that’s where we get ourselves into trouble.  It is the greatest gift of all.  It is the gift of salvation, the forgiveness of sin.  And it is simple.  Have the faith of a child in God, who he is, and what he had done for you, and you will enter into his kingdom.

My prayer for you today is that you will humble yourself like a child and trust upon the Lord.  For it is only by trusting and resting in him that you will enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus was talking to the very people he would later use to grow the church and spread the gospel.  They were chosen and set apart by Christ himself.  But in that moment, they needed to see it is all about simple faith.  The faith of a child is more than enough to be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven. 

“Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

In Christ,
Pastor Aaron Suber