JOHN 1:9-13: “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Do I have the faith of a child? Is my heart open to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ each day? As we approach the Christmas Season my thoughts are turned toward to first advent of Jesus Christ. He was the true light of the world that came to give light to all men and women. However, when He came it said that His own people did not receive Him. The sobering reality is that many do not see or recognize Jesus.
Jesus, in teaching His disciples, took a small child into His arms and said,
- “…Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Luke 18:15-17 NKJV)
Immediately following this a rich young ruler approached Jesus and asked Him – “…Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18 NKJV) Jesus replied by reciting many of the commandments, “…You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.” (Luke 18:18, 20 NKJV) The rich young ruler was proud to tell Jesus – “All these I have obeyed from my youth!”
Jesus response caught the rich young ruler by surprise. Jesus did not commend him, as the rich young ruler expected. Rather, Jesus challenged him – “…You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Luke 18:22 NKJV) What did the rich young ruler do? He left Jesus with sorrow, for he had great riches and was not willing to give them up. The words of Jesus are drawn in sharp contrast to His words about the small children who clamored to climb into His lap. Jesus said – “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:24-25 NKJV)
What is the difference between the heart of a small child and the heart of the rich young ruler that “did not receive” Him? The child is completely open and transparent. The child is completely willing to lay down everything for the chance of being with Jesus. The rich young ruler was not. The very things that he held as most important in life kept him from seeing Jesus. “He came to His own (the rich young ruler), and His own received Him not.” Yet, “…to all who received Him (the heart of a child), who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
This wonderful truth was amplified to me this past Sunday through the heart of a child. In Children’s Church the Scripture that was being studied was Romans 10:8-10. The lesson was about the importance of believing in our heart, and confessing with our mouth Jesus as our Personal Lord and Savior. One of the children said, “I have never asked Jesus into my heart”. The teacher asked, “You have never asked Jesus into your heart and confessed Him as our personal Lord and Savior?” The child answered, “No, but I love Him!” Then the teacher asked, “Would you like to ask Jesus into Your heart?” Without hesitation the child responded – “YES!” A new child of God was born, not by the will of man, not by the leading of a teacher, but by the Spirit of God!
Jesus disciples were having trouble understanding the teaching of the small child and the rich young ruler. They asked, “Who then can be saved?” A child responds in faith with their heart, and their mind rejoices in the truth they have found. An adult many times struggles with their mind and misses the joy their heart can find. Jesus assured His disciples – “The things that are impossible with man, are possible with God.” There is nothing outside of the realm of possibility for the heart of childlike faith and trust. When we come to the Lord as a child we enter into all the possibilities of faith and promise that heaven has to offer. It is not discovered by power, nor by might. It is revealed in our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the wonder of childlike faith!
Lord, give me the hear of a child as I come to You this morning. Help me to receive You and Your Word with an open and transparent heart. Let me respond in faith – so that my heart may discover the reality of Your truth, and my mind may rejoice in the wisdom it brings. Grant me the grace to surrender all – that I might receive the fulness of You and Your Kingdom!
In Jesus Name!