It's actually pretty funny, if you think about it. Yeshua, the Master, was right there! But, they were talking among themselves as if, maybe, He wasn't. They didn't ask Him for resolution. They didn't force Him to take sides. They huddled in their own little counsel, alienating the One with all the answers... because they had vested interest in the outcome of the conversation, and, let's face it, an authoritative answer would just get in the way.
Yeshua understands what's going on. He doesn't condemn them or answer their speculation. He takes some kid, somewhere between the age of crawling and shaving, and plops him down right there on the seat next to Him.
In English, it's kind of a mysterious event, and we've sat around speculating for, well, centuries, as to what He meant when He said, " Whoever receives this little child in My Name receives Me: and whoever receives Me receives Him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same is great."
When we take a look at the Greek language, and the Hebraic context, there's not so much mystery.
The world around them, that day, was a bustling place. There were people talking, doing, and being just normal Jewish folk in what was probably the local marketplace, maybe the courts of a synagogue, or by a well (the civic center of the community). Anyway, there were obviously kids there, doing what kids do, normally at full speed.
So while these various conversations are going on, including the one between the disciples, Jesus literally reaches out and snatches this poor kid as he's running by, minding his own business. The word Greek word "epilombominos" describes Yeshua as, literally, snatching or seizing a child, kinda like catching a fish, or rescuing a cup that was about to tumble off the edge of the table. It's a fierce and sudden action. Then, Yeshua sat him down. The implication, in Greek, by the word "estaysin" is that the kid stayed sat. I mean, can you imagine it? You're five, maybe six years old, running past, minding your own business, and suddenly, the most honored big person you've ever heard of grabs you by the waist and plops you down on the seat next to Him. You don't move. You wonder what it was you must have done wrong. You try not to breathe. You've forgotten everything other than the fact, "Great! Now everybody in the whole world is looking at me. If I don't do anything, maybe I'll become invisible."
When God commanded Abram, to leave his land, his country and his kindred, He didn't use the Hebrew word, "bo." "Bo" simply suggests relocating: transferring your body from point A to point B. The word describing this pivotal instruction is "lech Lecha." It suggests becoming something else, someone else, a completely different person than you were before. It was a command that insisted that the man who would become "The Father of Faith" ironically assume the faith of a little child.
The Hebrew word for faith "emunah" is sorely misrepresented by the English idea of "believe." It is better understood in the concept of "trust"; but it is best described with the idea of parentage, fostering and developing a relationship based on honor and security. It's never a "blind faith" but a rational trust, based upon reason and experience.
If you want to be great in the kingdom of God, you have to stop trying to be great in the kingdom of God. You have to stop being great, period. And, suddenly, forcefully, find yourself sitting next to Him, wondering why it is that everyone is looking at you.
Columbus, who was willing to risk his life and the lives of his crewmen on a scientific theory, is a great demonstration of faith; but not child-like faith. Our faith that God asks of us is not impulsive or dramatic. It is simply being okay with the idea of being picked up, sat down, and totally changed.
When God moves me, as an adult, I get a little irritated. I want to get back the really important stuff that I was trying to get done. I pull away. I think angry, aggressive four-letter thoughts. When God moves me, as a little child, I think, "Okay, what just happened? This must be important. I wonder why?"
I go back and forth. I have good days and bad days. And my faith response to the Heavenly Father is as precarious as the Fall weather. But, I think God knows that.
When we look at Abram's life, he demonstrated some of the most faithless responses as any of us, even after God called him to leave everything and follow Him. But, at the important moments, God never put old Abram in a position where his doubt and pride would, well, undermine the course of human history. There's hope.