Trust like a Child

Read: Luke 18:9-17

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (v. 17)

In our Bible reading today, Jesus was teaching an audience of people “who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else” (v. 9 NIV).

First, those present that day are described as “confident of their own righteousness” (v. 9 NIV). No mention here of being confident in God’s righteousness. In other words, confident that their strict adherence to the letter of the Law (never mind the spirit of the Law) justified them with God, at least in their own eyes. I’m guessing the eyes of the Almighty saw something else.

In any case, justified in their own eyes, they used those eyes to look down on everyone else. Self-righteousness will do that to you. Perhaps to get them to “see” a little differently, Jesus told them the parable of the arrogant Pharisee and the humble tax collector and their rather different prayers. Whether or not this parable helped them “see” a little differently is unknown. Based on what happened next, my guess is probably not.

Jesus wasn’t willing to let it go. Certainly, he wanted to teach the self-righteous listeners a lesson. Not because he desired a “gotcha” moment, but because he loved them. And so he called the children who were present to him, despite the disciples’ objections, and made this declaration that was true then and is true now: let go of your self-righteousness and humble yourself, following the example of the children who came to Jesus.

As you pray, approach the Lord with a child’s wonder.

About the Author

Lou Bury is the pastor at Downers Grove Community Church in Illinois. He has the pleasure of serving the Lord alongside a congregation committed to being “the hands and feet of Jesus in the community.” He and his wife Judy have two adult children and two granddogs.

This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series Truly, Truly: Paying Attention to Jesus