In Mark 10, people were bringing young children to Jesus, but His disciples didn’t like that. They rebuked the people for their apparent lack of understanding. Jesus, on the other hand, quickly corrected the error. He welcomed the children and told the people, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15).
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word for “like” in this verse is an “…adverb of comparative… i.e. in that manner.” In other words, how we receive the kingdom of God must be similar to the way a child would receive the kingdom of God. I purposely chose the word “must” in that last sentence because that’s the emphasis Jesus gives. If you don’t receive it this way, then you won’t enter it. That’s pretty strong language.
Odd, though, that Jesus never explains exactly what that should look like. Yet, I’m pretty sure I can tell you what it doesn’t look like. It’s not some stuffy, pompous attitude of, “I suppose, if that’s what is necessary, I’ll receive the kingdom of God.” It’s certainly not a haughty, looking down the nose at others’ excitement and zeal. Kids don’t have those I’m-too-mature-for-that sort of attitudes.
No, young children—in any culture—are far more carefree and excitable than adults. They are grateful for gifts and kindnesses. They are genuinely enthusiastic about new adventures and even old routines.
I think that’s what Jesus is getting at here. The kingdom of God is not to be some boring, dull, blah sort of concept. Instead, there is a freshness that should be received with the wholehearted enthusiasm of a child.
I challenge you to embrace the fullness of God’s kingdom—brought to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus—like a little child: full of zeal and wonder and genuine enthusiasm.