LOOK at Jesus here with his arms around the little boy. You can tell that Jesus really cares for little ones. The men watching are his apostles. What is Jesus saying to them? Let’s find out.
Jesus and his apostles have just come back from a long trip. Along the way the apostles had an argument among themselves. So after the trip Jesus asks them: ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ Really, Jesus knows what the argument was about. But he asks the question to see if the apostles will tell him.
The apostles don’t answer, because on the road they were arguing about which one of them is the greatest. Some apostles want to be more important than the others. How will Jesus tell them it is not right to want to be the greatest?
He calls the little boy, and stands him in front of them all. Then he says to his disciples: ‘I want you to know this for certain, Unless you change and become like young children, you will never get into God’s kingdom. The greatest person in the kingdom is the one who becomes like this child.’ Do you know why Jesus said this?
Well, very little children do not worry about being greater or more important than others are. So the apostles should learn to be like children in this way and not quarrel about being great or important.
There are other times, too, when Jesus shows how much he cares for little children. A few months later some people bring their children to see Jesus. The apostles try to keep them away. But Jesus tells his apostles: ‘Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to persons like them.’ Then Jesus takes the children in his arms, and blesses them. Isn’t it good to know that Jesus loves little children?
Jesus views young children very differently than his disciples do. Why?