Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
The proud Pharisees surely thought they were marching right into the kingdom of God. They looked at themselves and added up all their righteousness and thought they had it made. They kept track of their good works and how closely they followed the law and how many of those traditions they kept, and it sure seemed like a lot. Surely they had earned something by doing all of that.
But a better candidate for God’s kingdom is not someone who thinks so highly of himself, but someone who has a little lower view of himself, someone who knows how to live by faith, someone who is not trusting in himself at all and sees no way of getting where he wants to go on his own. The Pharisees had been trying to do everything a certain way and follow all those rules, and then they felt entitled to something from God. But really it’s all about accepting a free gift from Him without having to do anything ourselves. All we really have to do is take God’s word for it and let Him lead us into righteousness and into His kingdom.
Everyone was always trying to shoo away the children—the disciples here and the Pharisees as those children sang praise to Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem. But Jesus always accepted them with open arms and even used them as an example for these grown men to strive for. Those children come as they are, with no pretense and no agenda. They come joyfully, rejoicing simply in who God is. Those children accept His love freely and take Him at His word. They are willing to open their hearts to Him, and that’s really all He wants from us.
So how do we see ourselves? How are we approaching Jesus? Is it with the childlike faith that understands its need for Jesus or the pride of the Pharisees? Is it with the understanding that we can’t earn God’s favor, but He gives it by His grace? Because when we change our perspective just a little, when we shift it from what we’ve done and who we are to what God’s done and who He is, our whole vision of everything else changes. And with that simple faith, God grants us entrance into that special place close to His heart.