Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for January 24-25 are provided by Jabez Yeo of TRPC, NYC.
Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
Matt. 18:1-5 (NIV): “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them. And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me.”
Karl Barth (1886-1968) was a Swiss Reformed theologian who is regarded as one of the greatest Protestant theologians of the twentieth century. Though he grew up influenced by liberal theology that was predominant in 19th-century European Protestantism, God eventually gave him a firm conviction about the victorious reality of Christ’s resurrection and this greatly influenced his theology. Out of this conviction emerged The Epistle to the Romans and Church Dogmatics; some of the most widely acclaimed theological works ever produced. Yet when asked on a trip to America to summarize his many works, Barth replied “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”
Indeed, one of the many beautiful things about the Gospel is that it is profound enough to study for one’s lifetime but simple enough for a child to understand. And this fact is important as in this passage, Jesus instructs His disciples to become like little children, lest they find themselves outside the kingdom of heaven. When we think of children, many character traits might come to mind (especially for parents or babysitters!) but one appropriate trait is this: vulnerability. Children are vulnerable because they are weaker (physically, spiritually, mentally, etc.) than they will be in the future. They are vulnerable because most of them are dependent on their parents for their sustenance and survival. And they are vulnerable because of their innocent faith; rarely do children refrain from trusting others, even those whom they have just met.
So when Jesus tells us to become like little children, it is most likely the case that He is instructing us to acknowledge our vulnerability: our vulnerability that stems from our limited strength and our dependence on God for everything we possess. In addition to that, Jesus is most likely instructing us to have faith like that of a child, a faith that may question but not distrust our Abba father. Oftentimes, the blessings and resources we receive from God Himself prevent us from developing this child-like heart. But whether we are AMI pastors, students or (un)employed professionals, we all depend on God for our daily bread. We are all beggars at His table of grace and this truth alone helps us put Jesus’ instruction in perspective.
So today, let’s come as children to the Almighty God, to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let us remember who we truly are in His eyes and thank Him for His provision in all things; His provision that works through our innate vulnerability and dependency.
Prayer: Abba. I thank You for choosing me and loving me before the foundation of the world. I thank You that I am Your beloved child, no matter where I am in my life. Help me to follow You as Your Son Jesus did. Help me to do nothing by myself but only what I see You doing. Help me to always remember my need for You. In Your Name, I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 27-28