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."