The question was asked Jesus, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" The question was asked by his disciples. The disciples on other occasions in being perplexed about the kingdom; its nature, its coming, and their relationship to it, asked pointed questions concerning it; questions that called for an expressed answer as: "Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). They were looking for an earthly kingdom, as many are today, but Jesus assured them that His kingdom was not of this world and that the Spirit would guide them into all truth concerning these things.
Notice his answer to "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" in Matthew 18:1-4! He calls a little child into their midst and says, "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." The answer is without doubt a statement of fact! The answer is one that Christians everywhere need to consider time and again.
He uses the word "converted" meaning change or conform to. He then uses the word converted in relationship to "being 'as' little children." This then is what the conversion is! We are to become (be converted or change into) little children. Certainly not literally, and the word AS impresses that thought. But our lives, attitudes, and actions are to be AS a little child's. He goes to explain further, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Now we find the answer to the question asked! The lesson taught is humility, which without one cannot live with God.
To become as little children for many adults is an awesome task. Many would rather be like the Pharisee who in Luke 18:9-14 was arrogant and filled with pride in serving God. However another adult was present on that scene and he prayed and lived thusly: "God be merciful to me a sinner." THIS man became as a little child! He humbled himself before God, and we must conclude that he was considered great in the kingdom, especially when Jesus said, "Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
In that same chapter Jesus said, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16).
It is a valuable lesson all Christians, children of God should learn! If we fail to behave in a submissive, humble, pure, way, God will be forced to say, "Depart from me ye cursed…" (Matthew 25:41). Let us in these respects become as little children, that we may see God!
Robert Wayne La Coste