Compare Mark 9:33-37 and Luke 9:46-48. The disciples are concerned with an issue naturally prominent in status-conscious Mediterranean antiquity: who will be greatest in the kingdom (v. 1; compare 5:19; 20:26; 23:11). Jesus declares that the kingdom belongs to children (compare 19:14). This paragraph urges at least two lessons.
Kingdom Status May Be Inverse to Worldly Status (18:1-4)
Ancient moralists regularly trotted forth models of heroes and statesmen for their students to imitate; Jesus instead points to a child. More so then than today, children were powerless, without status and utterly dependent on their parents (Harrington 1982:74). Yet we must imitate such people of no status, people who recognize their dependence (compare France 1985:270). To "turn" (NIV change) reflects the Jewish concept of repentance (as in Jer 34:15); compare John 3:3, 5.
Embracing the Weak, We Embrace Christ (18:5)
True disciples are "little ones who believe in" Jesus (18:6; compare 10:42), out to make Christ great alone. In Jesus' day parents loved children, but children held little status. Jesus calls us to notice and welcome the "nobodies," to esteem those without status or social respect.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience!
Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible. There's no software to install; it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!