At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
A hallmark of a great culture is the way that it treats children. They are the most vulnerable of all humans.. they are the most innocent.. their faith is simple.. they have a genuine trust of others.. they are humble.. their faith in God is something to be emulated.. and how we treat children says much about us. So Jesus speaks directly to the severe consequences of causing such children to stumble or to sin.
In contrast, adult human beings, like the disciples, are all about "who is the greatest". The demeanor of pride filled adults is in stark contrast to the humility of children. Perhaps pride is the sin that Jesus warns his disciples about.. perhaps the exodus from childlikeness is all about the road from humility to pride? Jesus instructs us and tells us that the road to greatness is childlike humility.
I repent of pride Lord. Help me to be like a child.