16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
In Jesus' day children were to be seen and not heard. That is why it was so counter cultural when Jesus says that the kingdom belongs to those who receive it like children. On the contrary those who don't receive it like a child, will never enter it. So what is about children that Jesus uses them as an example?
Children trust in others, until they are given a reason not to. Children trust those in authority. We call this child-like faith. It is as we grow older and more calloused, that we start to distrust others in authority. And this leads to self reliance and a need to control. Unfortunately this was how the religious leaders had become.
Jesus exposes their control and self reliance and show how it blocks God's kingdom from coming. God's kingdom is where God is in control and not us. But God's kingdom cannot come unless we open our hearts and enter into to it.
Jesus brought with him the kingdom and made it available to us. But it would only be available to those who trusted in him like a child does in his parents. Indeed a parent's authority for their children is given to them by God. How a child is treated by their parents will shape their view of authority and their view of God as their Heavenly Father.
That is why some people have a hard time praying "heavenly Father, because they had such a bad experi experience with their earthly father. If they broke their trust it will be harder for them to trust God. Fortunately it is God who gives us faith as a gift.
Where do you struggle to trust God like a child? Is your control keeping you from entering the kingdom? How can you differentiate the earthly examples of authority from who God as our Heavenly Father? Where do you need to completely surrender control in order to let God be in control?