Jesus makes a strong point, illustrated with sitting an actual child beside Him, about grown people “becoming childlike” in order to experience the kingdom of heaven.
The occasion affords us some insight into the revelation. The disciples were reluctant to have children “interfere with important matters,” parents were bringing them to Jesus so He would lay His hands upon them. They urged parents “to move on down the road.”
Jesus stops response because it misrepresents His heart, and misrepresents the priorities and values of the kingdom.
“Take note: unless you look at the kingdom with the eyes of a child, you cannot enter. Don’t get between Me and these children. The kingdom puts high value upon children.” [Conversational representation of Luke 18 Scripture.]
One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. 16 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 such as these. 17 I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.”
This discussion of experiencing kingdom as children differs from others in which the point of emphasis is humility and teachability. Here Jesus emphasizes that kingdom requires a level of childlike wonder and curiousity to be experienced properly. No one can experience kingdom with a filter of natural world experience and expect to gain the proper “feel of things.”
In the kingdom, experiences do not prepare us in such a way that anything becomes “old hat” and maturity isn’t about how many situations we’ve been through. In the natural, experience is focused upon what the individual has been through; in the kingdom, the focus is upon spiritual reality of infinite shades and meaning so that being through it a thousands times does not to diminish the newness of the next.