The disciples, after hearing Jesus speaking of His impending death on the cross, began shortly thereafter to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest. It was as if they didn’t fully understand what He was telling them and continued to focus on their future stake in His soon-to-come kingdom. No wonder they were shattered after He was crucified and buried! He was talking about His death, and they continued arguing about who was the greatest.
Jesus knew what they were thinking and took a child and brought him close and sat him on His lap. He said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). In that culture, children had no status and absolutely no power. They were the lowest rungs of the ladder, often equated with slaves. Jesus was trying to tell His disciples that worldly measures of success were not the key to entering His kingdom; rather, humility and simplicity are more valued in the spiritual realm.
Often as church members we have that same tension among ourselves as the disciples did—always trying to promote ourselves, our positions, and our agenda. We still need to hear Jesus’ message to grow up spiritually—and be like little children.