It’s ironic that Jesus’ primary teaching, the one that defines his ministry and on which he spends nearly all his time, is the one we most misunderstand. Jesus is always talking about entering Kingdom, and of course we’re thinking about entering Heaven. Entering some Place. Or Space.
Entering kingdom is a metaphor. A physical image for a spiritual realignment. There is no place or space to kingdom. We don’t enter it. We become it. Pointing at the children Jesus’ friends were shooing away, Jesus instructed to let them through, for such as these are kingdom. The littlest ones, whose egos have not yet formed, are kingdom—have not yet learned not to be kingdom so have no need to re-become it.
Kingdom is a shift in identity. Or better, kingdom is the realization of our true identity, the recapturing of who we really are—were at the beginning and still are underneath. The children running at our feet are kingdom because they haven’t yet learned to believe they are not. But it won’t be long before their minds take hold, telling them they must think about who they are, to hold that thought and defend it as they work to make it so. Whatever we think we are nothing without, lost without, is what we identify with. But anything we can lose is not who we are, and everything we think, will eventually be lost.
The freedom of the truth Jesus offers is that who we really are can never be lost. Ever. Not even in death. Any identity imagined as separate from any other identity, God’s identity, is illusion, so to strip the illusion is to see that we and the Father are one: true identity. Jesus’ Way is relinquishing everything that can be relinquished until only that which can’t be relinquished remains. The point of any spiritual journey is to arrive at the ground of this irreducible presence, an identity that can’t be lost, but costs us everything to which we cling.
The first responders to a message like this are those who are already close to the ground. We call them humble. Jesus calls them children, for such as they are kingdom.