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Verses 2-3. Except ye be converted. The word "converted," means changed, or turned. It means, to change or turn from one habit of life, or set of opinions, to another, Jas 5:19; Lu 22:32. See also Mt 7:6; 16:23; Lu 7:9, etc., where the same word is used in the original. It is sometimes referred to that great change called the new birth, or regeneration, Ps 51:13; Isa 9:5; Ac 3:19 but not always. It is a general word, meaning any change. The word regeneration denotes a particular change—the passing from death to life. The phrase, "except ye be converted," does not imply of necessity that they were not Christians before, or had not been born again. It means, that their opinions and feelings about the kingdom of the Messiah must be changed. They had supposed that he was to be a temporal Prince. They expected that he would reign as other kings did. They supposed he would have his great officers of state, as other monarchs had. And they were ambitiously inquiring who should hold the highest offices, Jesus told them they were wrong in their views and expectations. No such things would take place. From these notions they must be turned, changed, or converted, or they could have no part in his kingdom. These ideas did not fit at all the nature of his kingdom.

And become as little children. Children are, to a great extent, destitute of ambition, pride, and haughtiness. They are characteristically humble and teachable. By requiring his disciples to be like them, he did not intend to express any opinion about the native moral character of children, but simply that in these respects they should become like them. They should lay aside their ambitious views, and pride, and be willing to occupy their proper station—a very lowly one. Mr 9:35 says that Jesus, before he placed the little child in the midst of them, told them that "if any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." That is, he shall be the most distinguished Christian who is the most humble, and who is willing to be esteemed least, and last of all. To esteem ourselves as God esteems us, is humility. And it cannot be degrading to think of ourselves as we are. But pride, or an attempt to be thought of more importance than we are, is foolish, wicked, and degrading.

{v} "ye be converted" Ps 51:10-13; Joh 3:3 {w} "little children" 1 Co 14:20; 1 Pe 2:2

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