The star barely makes it to the top of the Christmas tree as the small child strains to reach it, lifted by the strong arms of her father. This heartwarming scene, common on Christmas cards, could be a picture of you and God.
Open your Bible and read Luke 18.
Receiving Jesus Like a Child
Jesus said in verse 16-17, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it (NLT).”
What does it mean to receive the Kingdom of God like a child?
Have you ever spent time with a child that did. not. stop. asking? Children can be exasperatingly, adorably persistent. I confess there were times I gave in to one of my children’s requests simply because I got tired of them asking about it.
Luke 18 begins with the parable of the persistent widow (v.1-8). She had a need that could only be met by the judge, and no matter how long it took, she kept seeking his help.
Children are smart. They know when something is beyond them. Like driving a car, for example. The fact that they’re only three feet tall and can’t even tie their own shoes doesn’t stop them from asking for the impossible. With eyebrows raised and eyes wide with anticipation, they ask, “Dad, can I drive?!” They know they’re too young. They know they’re incapable. But it’s worth asking, just in case.
In verses 9-14, we read about the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee was self-righteous, proud of his ability and accomplishments. In contrast, the tax collector recognized his unworthiness of God’s mercy, yet asked for it anyway.
A child often thinks her parents are superheroes. They trust that Dad and Mom can do anything. That’s why they have no problem asking for things like a new sibling or an exotic car. They simply can’t fathom that it’s not possible.
At the end of the chapter (v.35-43), a blind man recognizes Jesus as the Son of David (the Messiah) and asks Him to restore his sight. He has no doubt that Jesus is able to do it – and He does.
The Impossible is Possible with Faith Like a Child
- recognizes their need,
- knows their dependence on others and surrenders to authority, and
- constantly and persistently asks for help.
The rich ruler in verses 18-23 wasn’t like a child. He believed he could earn eternal life through his own merit. But Jesus showed him it was impossible.
The Good News is that:
“The things that are impossible with people are possible with God (Luke 18:27, NASB).”
Turning to Jesus as our Savior requires us to become like children. When we acknowledge our need for help, when we admit that we’re sinners and cannot save ourselves, and when we repent of our sin and surrender our lives to Jesus as Lord, the impossible is possible. Jesus saves those who are humble, like a child.
“I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted (Luke 18:14, NLT).”
A Reason to Celebrate This Christmas
May you be encouraged that coming to Jesus doesn’t require you to clean yourself up, get all your ducks in a row, and figure out how to be perfect first.
Unlike the judge in the parable of the persistent widow, God wants to save you. He loves it when you come to Him and ask for His help. Because He loves you (1 John 4:19).
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, ESV).”