A playground in Chicago was called “the tiny tot play lot.” Any child who wanted to enter it could only do so by way of a entrance that was very low and shaped like a keyhole. If the child could walk uprightly through the entrance, he or she was welcome. Any child who couldn’t was excluded.
This illustration reminds us of how Jesus, God the Son, entered the human race. Rather than leave heaven and come down to earth by way of a flaming chariot escorted by 10,000 angels, He came by way of becoming an embryo in the womb of a virgin girl from Nazareth. Let me offer some of the passages that serve as proof texts for this event, and I’ll use The New Living Translation for each of them just to give us a fresh take on them:
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18)
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God…..So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:1,14)
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)
Can you imagine God condescending Himself to the lowly state of an embryo in the womb of a “nobody” teenage girl? And can you imagine Him doing this just so He could become part of a race that He would ultimately die for in payment for their sins? Friend, stupefying doesn’t even begin to do that story justice! No child who ever entered that playground in Chicago through that tiny keyhole entrance ever performed a feat as jaw-dropping as the one Jesus performed in entering the human race.
And yet there is still another application to this illustration, and this one applies not to Jesus but to each of us. Jesus Himself talks about in Luke 18:17 when He says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” (N.L.T.). Concerning this quote, Warren Wiersbe writes:
Jesus wants us to be childlike but not childish. An unspoiled child illustrates humility, faith, and dependence. A child has a sense of wonder that makes life exciting. The only way to enter God’s kingdom is to become like a child and be born again (John 3).
Similarly, Herschel H. Hobbs writes:
So often in seeking to determine if a child understands the plan of salvation, we treat him like an adult. We expect adult answers from childlike hearts. A child’s simple, “I love Jesus and want to live for Him,” may express a profounder Christian experience than reams of theological debate and explanation. Jesus said that we have the whole thing backward. Instead of expecting an adult experience in the child, we should strive to bring about a childlike experience in the adult.
You see, just as Jesus humbly became “small” enough — in His case, both figuratively and literally — to enter the kingdom of men, each of us must humbly become “small” enough to enter the kingdom of God. This means that you must first see yourself as a sinner who stands in need of forgiveness from holy God before you can truly understand your need for Jesus and appreciate His death on the cross in payment for all your sins. This is what Jesus meant when He said that one must receive the Kingdom of God like a child.
No matter how old you are, if you want to experience the forgiveness/pardon/salvation offered by placing saving belief in Jesus, you must lose your stature of self-righteousness, abandon your efforts at a works-based religion, and make yourself “small” enough to fit the keyhole of coming under conviction over your sins and realizing that Jesus is the only way that those sins can be made as white as snow in the eyes of God (Isaiah 1:18). As Jesus said of Himself in other passages, He is the “door” through which all who enter will be saved (John 10:9), and He is also the “way” through which all who want to come to God the Father must come (John 14:6). Summing all this up, Jesus has done His part to provide you with salvation. The only question left to be answered is: Have you done your part by becoming childlike enough to allow Him to save you?