In this chapter, Jesus begins a new block of teaching on marriage and children (today) and possessions (tomorrow), all of which could be seen as earthly ties which might have an impact on discipleship.
This incident is another one where the Pharisees try to test or trap Jesus. If we recall what happened to John the Baptist who commented on the marital affairs of King Herod, it may well be that the intention of the Pharisees was to entrap Jesus into saying something which could be seen in a similar light and end in the same way!
Nonetheless, Jesus’ response and teaching is extremely radical – he gave women and children a status which they did not have at that time. Only men had the absolute right to divorce a wife and children had no legal or social weight with which to make claims for particular treatment.
So, for Jesus, if we are to be like a child, then we are unable to make demands – we are solely dependent on the good pleasure of God. But, if we imagine we are somehow worthy of God’s favour, that we have a certain status, we will not receive the kingdom of God.
How do you and I see ourselves?
Today’s Thought for the Day for Lent is from Derek