This morning my Bible reading took me to Mark 10. It was one of those times when something ‘hits’ afresh. “I tell you the truth, anyone who does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Matthew 18:16 has been the text for this “Like a Child” series. There, Jesus says that we must “change and become like little children.” But the emphasis in the Mark 10 verse is different. It speaks of receiving the Kingdom of God.
How does a little child receive the Kingdom? How would a little child receive anything? It made me think.
Young children don’t receive information about their environment by remembering it, but by absorbing it. It is called implicit memory, or unconscious memory. None of us ‘remember’ being born, or remember our first birthday. In fact, we might not remember anything about the first several years of life. Yet, those years have shaped us and largely influenced the persons we are today. The experiences of a young child are not received by rote memory, but are incorporated into his very being.
What does this mean for us and the Kingdom? Yes, we need to learn about the Kingdom of God. But perhaps Jesus is saying here that we need to do more than that — we need to become the Kingdom. The ‘upside-down-ness’ (or is it right-side-up-ness?) of the Kingdom should be our norm. The values of the Kingdom should be burned in our soul. The Kingdom principles should be those that we naturally live by. That is, the Kingdom should be part of us. The Kingdom of God is who we are.
Maybe that is why we must be born again — so that we become infants in the spirit and receive, then grow into, the Kingdom of God even as a child would. Otherwise, according to Jesus, we can never enter.