Our next text is actually two texts: Mark 10:14-15. Here it is: “13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ?Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.? 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
1. Jesus says that the kingdom belongs to children who respond to him.
2. Jesus says one receives the kingdom.
3. Those who “receive” the kingdom also “enter” the kingdom.
4. The “futurity” of the kingdom, so it seems from this text, is Everyone’s Future: when one responds to Jesus one enters into the kingdom; when one receives the kingdom one enters the kingdom.
5. Is this futurity the eternal kingdom? It is possible to read these two texts as promising a place in the (yet future) kingdom into which no one had yet entered as Jesus was speaking, but I think this view places too much emphasis on time.
6. The emphasis here again is moral: respond as you are supposed to and you enter into the kingdom of God.
7. Hence, the kingdom here is God’s saving grace, God’s holy grace, God’s will — however one wants to summarize it — into which individuals enter. Thus, kingdom is connected to a people that populates it.
8. Hence, also, the kingdom is experienced (only) by those who receive it, who respond to Jesus as the children responded to him. That is, who respond to Jesus by receiving him or by trusting him or by following him.