At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
(Matthew 11:25-27 ESV)
In today’s passage Jesus explains God’s strategy to bring His message of salvation through forgiveness to the world. This will explain why some who hear His message will reject it, as Jesus mentioned yesterday.
Jesus tells us, via a prayer to His Father, that God has hidden these things from the wise and instead revealed them to little children. By “these things” Jesus is referring to the truth mentioned yesterday [Matthew 11:20-24]. The word “wise” refers to those who think they are smart; those who adhere to worldly wisdom. “Little children” refers to those who are humble and who are nothing in the eyes of the world.
Jesus is saying that humility is a prerequisite to having a relationship with God. He told us the same thing in the first beatitude [Matthew 5:3]. But notice that God intentionally prevents those who are arrogant and filled with pride from understanding Him. This is huge. God discriminates by withholding understanding from those who think they already know the truth.
God is sovereign. He is Lord of heaven and earth. He can choose to whom His message resonates. And while He desires everyone to be in heaven with Him, He makes it clear that He hates pride. But He loves those who are humble [Psalm 138:6, Proverbs 3:34].
As a result God favors those that the world dismisses – those without worldly power or intellect. God prevents those who are in love with themselves from knowing the truth and instead gives the ability to understand the most important information in the world – how to get to heaven – to those who are the least in the world. This is a gracious act of God’s will. God looks out for those the world does not.
Notice that exactly who gets this ability is decided by Jesus. No one can know the Father except anyone to whom the Son chose to reveal Him. In other words, no one can come to know God through any other means than Jesus Himself. Not through Allah. Not through meditation. Jesus is claiming to be the only way to God [John 14:6].
Jesus is also claiming to be deity by calling God “my Father” and Himself “the Son”. Offspring are the same as their parents (e.g. zebra’s create other zebras). God is deity so His offspring must be deity too. Some will claim that Jesus is simply calling God His “mentor”. But the Greek word Jesus uses here is πατερ (pronounced: pat-ayr’) which is related to our word “paternal” and means “male ancestor”. There is a different Greek workdfor spiritual mentor.
As father and son, Jesus and God have a very personal relationship such that no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son. The Greek word for “know” here is επιγινοσκο (pronounced: ep-ig-in-oce’-ko) which means “to know thoroughly and accurately”. Jesus knows all there is to know about God because He is God’s son.
This is a sobering lesson. Pride is dangerous. It prevents one from knowing God and from entering heaven. But there is hope. Jesus is willing to introduce anyone to God who humbles himself.
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