Matthew 18:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:2, NIV: "He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them."

Matthew 18:2, ESV: "And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them"

Matthew 18:2, KJV: "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,"

Matthew 18:2, NASB: "And He called a child to Himself and set him before them,"

Matthew 18:2, NLT: "Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them."

Matthew 18:2, CSB: "He called a child and had him stand among them."

What does Matthew 18:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The disciples have asked Jesus a very revealing question: Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? The very fact that they are asking the question and some of the events to follow show that they do not yet understand that Jesus has not come to set up His kingdom on earth at this time (John 18:36). It also shows that they do not yet understand how different Jesus' kingdom will be from every other kingdom that has ever existed.

Jesus begins to answer their question by calling a little child to come over to Him. Some commentators speculate this scene is unfolding at Peter's house so, perhaps, this is one of his children. Jesus sets the child in the middle of this group of disciples.

Children are the most powerless members of most societies. This was especially true in ancient times. Jewish people loved their children, but children had no rights under the law of Moses. They had no status in a very status-conscious culture. They were completely dependent on those who cared for them to provide everything they needed and to protect them from harm.

The very fact that Jesus focused the attention of this ambitious group of men on a child may have been remarkable. What He will say about children and the kingdom of heaven will be astounding (Matthew 18:3).