Children are blessed with a natural ability to believe in themselves and to imagine great accomplishments for their future lives. They have not had enough bad past experiences to limit their belief in what they are capable of achieving. Their future is not limited by their past -- only by how far their imagination can take them.”(Yaakov Lieder)

Reading this explanation by a Jewish educationist immediately opened up clear understanding of the important message Jesus was giving the multitudes and most certainly the religious leaders of His day too.

Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. "I assure you,’ He said, ‘unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven". (Mat 18:2, 3).

What was Jesus saying?  I have no doubt He was addressing the power of religion in the Jewish people - something a little child was without! They were in such bondage to the Mosaic Law and the power of the man-made traditions that they were not able to perceive or see the kingdom of God in action in their midst.  And is this not perhaps true of many in the Christian church today, leaders included?  They are in such bondage to denominational and other religious traditions that they battle to understand the kingdom truth.

I was reminded of this while reading newspaper reports of the umpteenth debate in the synod of a South African church on whether women can become elders and ministers of the church. The synod decided ‘on Biblical grounds’ that they could not.  But, interestingly, no attention was given to the fact that the New Testament provided absolutely no example of paid, full-time ministers of the Christian church - that was a creation of Roman Emperor Constantine. I am not noting this to reflect badly on anyone in that position, but simply to point out the complete lack of biblical consistency in the deliberations.

Oh, I know there will be all kinds of explanations and twisted interpretation of Scripture in answer to my statements.  In the end it will amount simply to the justification of man-made traditions. The time has perhaps come for Christian leaders throughout the world to take heed of the message of Matthew 18:2 & 3 again.  Maybe, just maybe, the Christian community will be able to rid itself of all the theological, philosophical and traditional doctrinal baggage that so heavily weighs it down.

And just maybe, the power of the kingdom will return to the religious club or society so much of the institutional church has seemingly become! Then it might be heard again of the community of believers in the Christ, that they had favour with all people (Acts 2:47).  The world today holds just the opposite view.  And let’s face it - it’s not just their fault!


[Published 29 August 2014]

Picture of Jesus with children:


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