God is like a child?

It was Jesus who first shocked people by comparing God to a child.

In Mark 9:37, Jesus took a child in his arms and told his disciples that loving a child was the same as loving him, AND loving the Father too. That’s like a boy saying to his girlfriend, “If you love golf you love me, because golf is me, it’s my life, it’s what makes me tick.” Likewise, to love a child is to love God because the heart of a child is what makes GOD tick.

Mark 10:14 backs that up too. “Let little children come to me,” Jesus told his disciples, “for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Or as The Message phrases it, “Children are at the very centre of life in the kingdom.” The heartbeat of God and his world is the heartbeat of a child. It’s hardly surprising, then, when Jesus says in verse 15 that no one enters that world who ISN’T like a child. But how CAN anyone enter the kingdom without being childlike when the kingdom of God operates on childlikeness? It’s the engine that drives it.

This was radical stuff for the disciples, who’d just told a group of parents – hoping to have their children blessed by Jesus – to push off. In their minds Jesus wasn’t the least bit interested in children, because the culture of the day didn’t think much of children either. The idea that God was like a child, therefore, seemed ludicrous. How could God be compared to a child when the Scriptures clearly pictured him as a great ruler and mighty majesty on a grand throne before whom every knee must bow?

Jesus, however, was sent by the Father to show us what the Father is really like, and in terms that we can understand too. He was quick to grab a teachable moment, therefore, when he overheard the disciples arguing among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. That’s when Jesus picks up a child, and holding the child in his arms he turns to his disciples and says, “If you really want to know what God and his kingdom are like, this child is the perfect picture.”

So here we’ve got Jesus, who actually WAS the greatest in the kingdom of God and Lord of all, illustrating to people who WANTED to be the greatest and lord it over everybody, pointing to this child in his arms and saying God is like that. He’s like a child. At the heart and centre of God’s kingdom, of God himself, and of Jesus himself too, is the childlikeness of a child.

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