At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus called a little child to stand among them. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.”
The Kingdom Jesus administrates, the Kingdom over which Jesus is King, is a Kingdom full of innocent, blameless, holy, tender-hearted, forgiving, gentle, compassionate, life-giving children of God. Jesus is the chief Child of God, and He is leading all of God’s children deeper and deeper into the fullness of God’s love. Just like Jesus came to earth as the full incarnation of all God is, so He comes into our hearts as the full incarnation of all we are called to be. In His first incarnation, Christ came to embody God’s qualities in human form; in your new birth, Jesus came into your heart to infuse your humanity with His divinity, so that you would become fully human. In Christ, God is fully visible and humanity is fully realized.
The incarnation of Christ 2,000 years ago was the greatest miracle of all, and it is the foundation for the miracle of the new birth—and the “new birth” is a continuation of the incarnational miracle, for now Christ arrives in you to heal a broken world with the wholeness He brings. To become like Him, and to enter His kingdom, you had to become like a child. To stay in His kingdom, to stay under His gentle and loving rule, you have to stay childlike. Think of it this way: your eyes will only ever be opened, and only stay open, when you become like a child—humble, small, in need of His help.
We came to Him like children when we first discovered faith in Christ, and we keep coming to Him like children to keep growing our faith in Christ. We will never “grow up” past our need for Him, but we will grow up the more we realize our need for Him. The greatest in the Kingdom are those most in tune with their need for Him, who come to Him confessing their humble desire for Him in every area of their lives.
The Christ the world is waiting to see is in you, in your heart, so let this verse be true of you, for the sake of the world: “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.” If we would be as children before the world, perhaps their eyes would see in our childlike hearts the Christ they seek, the Christ they await to save them from their pain and darkness. And perhaps we’d stretch out our hands and invite them into their own new birth, into the Light, into Christ.
Let’s go on being as children, let’s go on getting better at being childlike and humble. Let’s greet others with childlike hearts, welcoming them as if we were greeting and welcoming Christ Himself. Let’s be children who see childlike hearts in others, ready to welcome them into the Kingdom. Let’s get ready to welcome the Christ Child into our lives, whenever we meet our neighbor and wherever we have the privilege to love our neighbor as we love Christ.