Luke 18:16

ESV But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
NIV But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
NASB But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, 'Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
CSB Jesus, however, invited them: "Let the little children come to me, and don't stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
NLT 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.
KJV But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

What does Luke 18:16 mean?

Luke develops the comparison within this story. Parents are bringing their young children to Jesus so He will touch them. The disciples apparently believe Jesus is too important to waste His time on children; the disciples rebuke the parents (Luke 18:15).

Jesus becomes indignant (Mark 10:14). Whatever motivation the disciples are living out of, it does not reflect Jesus' purpose. He has come that all might enter God's kingdom, including children. How dare they stand in these children's way! He commands them to both let the children come and to get out of the children's way.

The kingdom of God is any situation in which God's attributes—His sovereignty, power, and authority—are evident. With Jesus' birth, the kingdom of God on earth was initiated. Throughout this lengthy collection of lessons (Luke 9:51—19:27), Jesus has been teaching the disciples about what constitutes God's kingdom. The disciples may think God's kingdom is too grand for children; Jesus says children are its natural inhabitants. Their humble, unworldly state means they will enter more easily than adults.

This leads to a second comparison. Luke goes on to record Jesus' interaction with an honorable and wealthy man. The man has obeyed the Law and is good to people around him. Yet he still loves the world. He hopes that if he does enough good deeds, he can keep his privileged state on earth and also inherit eternal life. When challenged, he proves that God is almost his highest priority—but still second to being rich. This man is the foil to humble children who have nothing to lose and so are better prepared to enter God's kingdom (Luke 18:17–25).
What is the Gospel?
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