In Matthew 18, 1-5 Jesus gives children as an example of what people should become like if they want to enter the kingdom of heaven: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+18&version=NIV

In the verse 3 Jesus said "become like little children".

In the verse 4 Jesus points out the "lowly position of this child".

I heard that it could mean: follow the intuition, have no fear, be spontaneous, be open for new things, follow your master without doubt, do not analyze to much and much more.

My questions: What is the meaning of Jesus statement? Why did he use children as a reference?

1 Answer 1


Become like little children - the meaning of child in Jesus statement

In Matthew 18, 1-5 Jesus gives children as an example of what people should become like if they want to enter the kingdom of heaven:

Matthew 18 :1-5 (NIV)

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

1 "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."

To be an apostle of Jesus ,and thus a candidate for the kingdom of heaven , one needs to exhibit the qualities of a young child, so the term "like a little child" means to have such qualities that children usually exhibit,humility, innocence ,teachable, trustful, and inquisitiveness.

Jesus stated the rule:

Luke 14:11 (NIV)

11 "For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Jesus make his point clear to his disciples , they must all cultivate child like humility , there is no room for pride, or competitiveness for those that want to enter the Kingdom of God. Paul wrote :" Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." (Galatians 5:46 NIV) Such qualities are extremely rare in grown ups today, Paul characterizes today's generation as follows:

2Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV)

1 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

  • I wonder what was the position of child in society in the times of Jesus. The relation to the children and their position in the social hierarchy generally differs in many cultures and countries and has changed since Jesus made this comparison. Jan 17, 2020 at 10:07
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    @ Marcin Sanecki fisherpub.sjfc.edu/cgi/… Jesus becomes indignant with his disciples from preventing children coming to him,according to the article from the above website,(that mentions Mark 10:13-16) children were considered to hold the lowest status in the ancient word. Jan 17, 2020 at 17:08

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