And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:13-15
There is only one place in all 4 gospels where the word translated into indignant is used referring to Jesus, and it is in this passage right here. Jesus was indignant that the children were being hindered from coming to Him because it is to the children, He says, that the Kingdom of God belongs.
He further tells us that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will be unable to enter into it. In our world we are very much focused on teaching children and molding them to become capable adults - both good things - but if it is to these that Jesus's Kingdom belongs, perhaps we should flip this around and try seeing what we can learn from them.
Small children embody the essence of so much of Jesus's teaching. They do not worry about tomorrow, they are fully engaged in the present. Their hearts are pure, and their words come from this purity. They do not hold grudges or lust in their hearts. They are able to find joy in the most simple of circumstances.
Children recognize their inherent need for a provider. They do not hesitate to ask for help. Only when we grow up do we think we can do it all on our own. A small infant's reliance upon its mother is an image of our reliance upon our Heavenly Father. It is obvious by looking at the life of the infant that it owes its survival to her. Is it obvious by looking at our lives that we owe our survival to Him?
When Jesus tells us that we must become as children to enter the Kingdom, one of the things He is talking about is acknowledging our complete and utter dependance upon Him. Unless we come to recognize our experience of reality in this way, we will be unable to recognize the Kingdom of God.
Our world focuses so much on maturity - and it is true we must be mature in our thinking - but maturity that hardens our hearts is no maturity at all. True maturity is recognizing, as Jesus teaches, how to become once again as children.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. - Matt 18:3