In all three synoptic gospels Jesus’ blessing the children is followed by the account of the “rich young ruler”. Noticing that these two incidents are paired is both helpful and hurtful. It is helpful in that it makes you look for a connection. It is hurtful because you prematurely label this man. Matthew wants to grab you with something easily overlooked, “behold, a man.” You don’t learn that this man is young and rich till much later. You only learn that he is a ruler from Luke. You have just seen children brought to Jesus, and now you see a man come.
The other gospels are helpful in creating even more contrast. In Matthew Jesus says, “little children;” how little are they? In Mark He takes them in His arms (Mark 10:16). In Luke it is said that they are “bringing even infants to Him (Luke 18:15).” These children have to be brought to Jesus, they cannot come otherwise, and the kingdom is made of such.
Critically dependent children are brought to Jesus and are blessed. A self-reliant man comes to Jesus and is cursed. If you are truly blessed it is because you were brought.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:44).”
When Jesus says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom note carefully the disciples question. They don’t want to know how a rich man then can be saved. They want to know how anyone can be saved. Jesus says that man cannot act; man must be acted upon. Man must be brought. God, by the Spirit must bring you to His Son, and then in the Son, you are brought to God as Father.