Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. — Mark 10:15
A hairnet is such a little thing — if put on a postage scale it would not move the pointer to the first mark. If placed in an envelope, it would require only minimum postage. Even though years have passed, I still marvel that so small a thing could bring such weight to a young woman’s conscience. This young lady had been required to have a hairnet for a class at school, and she had, in her words, “stolen” one from me. When she learned about restitution, her childlike response was to seek my forgiveness. Of course, that forgiveness was instantly granted. Had I known she needed it, I would have gladly given her a whole package of hairnets!
This young lady’s quick and wholehearted response to what she learned from God’s Word continues to be a lesson to me. Today’s verse reminds us that God’s children of any age should have a tender conscience, an ear tuned to His voice, and a willingness to obey quickly. Children have a marvelous capacity to do as they are directed without considering every detail or angle. It is a childlike trait that we should emulate. We also want to be teachable and quick to obey when God gives us instructions.
As His children, God does not expect us to have perfect insight or judgment in every situation. He understands our spiritual growth rate just as parents understand that their children will mature over time. The crucial issue is our response to what we do comprehend. When we grasp a new aspect of a spiritual concept, do we immediately and willingly take the action God wants us to?
My young friend could have reasoned away the necessity of asking me to forgive her. That would have been the response of many adults. But she would have missed a stepping stone in spiritual growth. We do not want to let our physical maturity hinder the childlike qualities that Jesus commended. We want to cultivate a heart that is sensitive to God’s Spirit and quick to obey His instructions. The reward Jesus promised is the Kingdom of God.
Today’s text shows Jesus interacting with children and then a rich young man. As was often the case, He used these situations to instruct His disciples.
When the disciples rebuked those who brought children to Jesus, no doubt they were concerned about conserving Jesus’ time and energy, but their actions caused the Lord to be “much displeased.” He took the children in His arms and told the disciples that those with childlike traits — such as trustfulness, receptivity, quick obedience, and dependence — would enter God’s kingdom.
As Jesus set out to travel again, the rich young ruler came to Him. The young man wanted to qualify for eternal life by doing something. However, Jesus let him know that goodness is not earned; it comes from God. Jesus addressed the second portion of the Ten Commandments, which deals with how a person treats others, and in these areas, the young man’s life had been exemplary.
Jesus loved the young man, and therefore went straight to the heart of the matter. The one thing he lacked centered on the first of the Ten Commandments: loving God above everyone and everything else. Jesus gave direct instructions on how the problem could be remedied. The young man needed to go and sell what he had, give to the poor, and follow Jesus. Sadly, the price looked too large, and he went away grieved.
The Lord’s statement, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” shocked the disciples. Jewish people of that time thought that wealth was an indication of God’s special favor, yet Jesus knew that many people trusted in their riches instead of God. The reference to a camel going through the eye of a needle was a common illustration method of the time; Jesus used an exaggeration to illustrate a point — what was humanly impossible was possible with God.
The disciples had “left all,” and Jesus promised a gracious reward (with persecutions) and eternal life for those who had sacrificed with the correct motive: “for my sake, and the gospel’s.”
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V. The instructions of the Son of God
K. Instructions concerning children (10:13-16)
1. Rebuke by the disciples (10:13)
2. Reception by Jesus (10:14-16)
L. Instructions concerning wealth (10:17-31)
1. The rich young ruler (10:17-22)
2. The disadvantage of riches (10:23-25)
3. The reward for following Christ (10:26-31)
Are you demonstrating the childlike qualities that Jesus commanded?