We are jumping right back into Matthew 11. David gave us a bit of a lead in to this morning’s passage as he talked about the prophetic “woes” proclaimed on those that rejected the message and miracles of Jesus.
The previous sections of Matthew demonstrated the authority and deity of Jesus. Jesus said he forgave sins, which was something only attributed to God.
Remember, in this section of Matthew we are in a narrative that is demonstrating how people are either accepting or rejecting Jesus as being from God, and directly as being the Messiah. In the beginning of the gospel everyone seemed to love him. However, as his claims become more bold and less veiled, people are being forced to make decisions about him. That is creating a following as well as enemies.
AS WE CONTINUE: we should expect to see BOTH the connection of Jesus to Yahweh AND the responses of the people who encounter him.
Today, we look at the end of the chapter. We are going to read the last section but probably only focus on a part of it as this section is packed full of great stuff to meditate on. ⚡
Matthew 11:25–30 CS
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure. 27 All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
In verse 25 we have the phrase, “at that time”. In Matthew’s gospel, this is meant to connect this passage with the previous one. We just went from WOE TO YOU in our previous section to PRAISE YOU FATHER in this section. That is a BIG transition! Obviously, we are meant to see a contrast, but exactly what contrast is in mind?
While Matthew makes the shift from condemnation to hope in a very abrupt way, Luke gives us a bit more context and that context is super helpful for keeping us on track with the theme that is being presented. Let’s read Luke’s account of this event:
Luke 10:17–24 CS
17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing at all will harm you. 20 However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 At that time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure. 22 All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to his disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see the things you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things you see but didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear but didn’t hear them.”
According to Luke, the 72 had just returned from their mission of healing and casting out demons where some of these words were spoken. In chapter 10, Matthew says that Jesus sent out the 72 after giving them authority and instruction. Matthew, never records their return or the effectiveness of their mission.
According to Luke, who was more chronologically oriented than Matthew, these words are given in the context of a successful mission of the seventy-two. The other content of Luke also helps us to understand other nuances of our passage.
In the WOE section and the section before, we were informed of the fate of those that rejected Jesus. There was a large group that rejected him. In CONTRAST, we are now going to see what happens with a group that accepted Jesus, followed him and obeyed him - the seventy-two.
Luke 10:17 (CSB)
17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
From our OT studies we have been introduced to the concept of one’s name. God made his name dwell in Jerusalem. The name represents the authority and power of a person as well as their presence.
These 72 came back declaring that there was authority in the name of Jesus. Even the demons honored the name of Jesus. This is certainly a declaration of deity. The seventy-two that went out in faith and obedience experienced the power of the name of Jesus and gave testimony to it.
This is just a glimpse of what it WILL be in the near future. While the disciples do not know it yet, Jesus will be exalted to a place above the earth and heaven and given a name above all others. ⚡
Philippians 2:5–11 (CSB)
5 Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. 7 Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What we have in the gospels is a sneak peek into what is yet to come. The God-man, Jesus, is not yet exalted to glory, he is humbled. But even in his humbled state he has been given authority from the Father.
We read a bit more about Jesus’ authority as we continue in Luke’s gospel:
Luke 10:18–19 CSB
18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing at all will harm you.
There are several enemies that Jesus highlights in this passage that demonstrate the authority:
Satan - the accuser or deceiver. This is the same character who, in chapter 4, tempted Jesus in the wilderness to try to get him to sin against Yahweh. Jesus said he saw Satan fall from heaven.
Snakes & scorpions. These are both mortal enemies. It would be safe to say that these two creatures represent sickness and death. Jesus says they will not be affected by them.
⚡Yellow Fat Tailed Scorpion is one species that lives in the regions of Capernaum. It is one of the deadliest. While we have anti-venom today, they did not back then!
⚡There are quite a few deadly snakes in that region of the world. I even found a website that had an article dedicated to the deadly snaked of Israel. The horned viper by far looks the evilest!
In upstate NY we do not have snakes that can kill you, or scorpions. I suppose that is one of the things we can be thankful for when the snow falls, eh?
The enemy. This could be another reference to Satan who appears in the gospels as the archenemy of Jesus, or it could just be the people who oppose the gospel. While I cannot pretend to understand all of the statements made in those verses, I believe the predominant message is twofold:
The FIRST message is that Jesus has authority over people, sickness, death and Satan. We saw that in all of the miracles that he performed.
SECOND is that Jesus also had authority to empower others. The disciples were given the authority over sickness, death and demons.
While we want to make the emphasis on what WE have as disciples, the PRIMARY focus is on the authority of Jesus. The sickness, death and demons were subject to the disciples because of Jesus’ name. Jesus was able to do so because authority was given to him by the Father.
The disciples were excited about what Jesus empowered them to do. However, Jesus immediately reminded them that the authority was given by the Father. What we do is not about our credit, but about God getting the glory. Jesus demonstrates this in the next section:
After this report, Jesus breaks out into a prayer. This is identical in both Luke and Matthew’s account:
Luke 10:21 CSB
21 At that time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure.
Jesus began his prayer by acknowledging the Father.
Jesus referred to the Father as “Lord of heaven and earth”. This is the only time this title is given to God by Jesus, so there must be a reason.
“Lord of earth and sky” makes more sense when you read the Luke narrative. The physical belongs to the earth, the spiritual to the “heavenly places” or the sky. The disciples had just returned and were healing people (earth) and casting our demons (sky).
Yahweh is the Lord or all things on earth and all things in heaven - and as such he exercises dominion over everything.
The disciples got to experience an Eden moment where they were truly ruling with God. We we made from the earth to rule over the earth on God’s behalf - as his ambassadors; in his image. However, this level of partnership - casting out demons - is a whole other level!
In reading about the authority Jesus has over death and demons, and claiming his authority is from the Father, it make sense that he refers to the FATHER is the one over all of earth and heaven.
Now we come to part of the passage that makes me struggle. Why is Jesus praising God? Because God has “hidden these things”. So, back to the question, “what has been hidden”? “These things” of course!
What are THESE HIDDEN THINGS? WHAT did God hide?
In context of what we have already studied this morning, these hidden things could be:
All of these were being accomplished through Jesus, the Messiah, and will be consummated at the “last day” but they originate with Jesus and are slowly being revealed through the ministry of Jesus.
Ultimately, these things are a declaration of “life” - life that comes through the Messiah. Freedom from the oppressor, victory over death and a relationship with the Father.
It was God’s pleasure to hide these things. “good pleasure” or “it pleased you” - this is the ONLY place that Matthew uses this phrase.
While I am sure I will not ever understand why it was God’s “good pleasure” to hide certain things, I have a few other questions I need to wrestle with that might shed some light:
WHO did God hide things from?
In our passage it is the “wise and intelligent”. I do not think this means that only ignorant people can follow God! Of course the Apostle Paul would be proof that intelligent people followed God!
It may not be that the issue is educated vs uneducated but rather WHAT we are educated in and WHERE we get that education!
The invitation in verse 28 is for those that want to learn, to become educated and wise, are to follow Jesus and remain under his yoke of teaching. Those that are “intelligent” have chosen to acquire their wisdom from other sources. We will look at that next week, Lord willing.
What are we seeking to learn? This is not a disrespect of gaining knowledge. It is an attack on defining wisdom and knowledge apart from the counsel of God.
Even in religious circles this can be a problem! DO we focus on how to follow certain rules, massive amounts of deep theology, or the practical way of living a life of faith in God? Much reading, study and education does not make you holy - holiness comes from being set apart for God and that is about life decisions and actions every day. Reading, study and education can enhance holiness and they can be a byproduct of holiness, but they alone do not make you holy.
James 3:13–18 CSB
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and deny the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.
At the end of our service we are going to recognize our HS Graduates - as you go forward to learn, whether that be lessons from life or structured education, be careful to make sure you do not define wisdom and intelligence apart from God.
It appears as though God hides his wisdom and plans from those who seek their own wisdom and instruction. That is the reason we are reminded: ⚡
Proverbs 3:5–6 CSB
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.
WHEN are things hidden by God and WHY are they hidden by God?
God has always desired for mankind to derive wisdom from Him. That is why Adam and Even were commanded not to take of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad in the garden. They were to rely upon God to define what is wise and right, and not to make those distinctions apart from him.
One reason God might choose to hide things from the “wise and intelligent” is because they have chosen to define wisdom on their own terms, apart from God.
According to Isaiah, another reason God might choose to hide things from the “wise and intelligent” is because they have walked away from God - their hearts are far from him. They talk about him, make spiritual rites and rituals to honor him, but they do not know him.
Isaiah 29 is a commentary of what we have been reading in Matthew’s gospel, especially chapters 8-11. The amazing thing is that it was written over 700 years before the Messiah showed up! Let’s read that chapter together and as we do, look for how many hyperlinks and keywords you can find in Isaiah that link to Matthew’s gospel: ⚡
Isaiah 29:13–14 CSB
13 The Lord said: These people approach me with their speeches to honor me with lip-service, yet their hearts are far from me, and human rules direct their worship of me. 14 Therefore, I will again confound these people with wonder after wonder. The wisdom of their wise will vanish, and the perception of their perceptive will be hidden.
Isaiah said that he would confound the wise and hide perception from the perceptive because, though they have many rules and a religious order - their hearts are far from God.
This is definitely the case of of that have rejected Jesus in Matthew’s gospel. As we get into Matthew 12 we will see even more of how the rules of the religious leaders lack the heart of the Father.
I want to keep reading Isaiah 29, because it highlights many of the lessons we have learned in Matthew:
Isaiah 29:15–24 CSB
15 Woe to those who go to great lengths to hide their plans from the Lord. They do their works in the dark, and say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” 16 You have turned things around, as if the potter were the same as the clay. How can what is made say about its maker, “He didn’t make me”? How can what is formed say about the one who formed it, “He doesn’t understand what he’s doing”? 17 Isn’t it true that in just a little while Lebanon will become an orchard, and the orchard will seem like a forest? 18 On that day the deaf will hear the words of a document, and out of a deep darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 The humble will have joy after joy in the Lord, and the poor people will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 For the ruthless one will vanish, the scorner will disappear, and all those who lie in wait with evil intent will be killed—21 those who, with their speech, accuse a person of wrongdoing, who set a trap for the one mediating at the city gate and without cause deprive the righteous of justice. 22 Therefore, the Lord who redeemed Abraham says this about the house of Jacob: Jacob will no longer be ashamed, and his face will no longer be pale. 23 For when he sees his children, the work of my hands within his nation, they will honor my name, they will honor the Holy One of Jacob and stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 Those who are confused will gain understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.
The people God has hidden “these things” from are those that:
The Apostle Pal wrote about this in the New Testament as well:
1 Corinthians 1:18–25 CSB
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Those that are “wise” in their own estimation, apart from the wisdom of God, miss out on the true wisdom - that life is found in Jesus alone.
God’s economy is not our economy. What is wise to us is foolish to God and what is foolish to God often seems wise to men and women. In our passage we read that God revealed his power to infants - not the strong, but infants.
In most cases in the new testament, when the word “child” or “infant” is used to refer to an adult, it is not in a positive manner (1 Cor 3:1, 1 Cor 13:11, Gal 4:1,3). However, in this passage it is a positive - kinda. 🤨
Matthew 11:27 CSB
27 All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him.
In this passage, Jesus declares his deity. It is the most direct declaration he has made so far in our account.
He acknowledged the supremacy of the Father.
The father has entrusted certain things to the son.
I was talking to a business owner this past week, and she mentioned that she has turned over her business to her children. She has entrusted it to them - give them all the authority to do what needs to be done to accomplish the mission and goals.
The Father had entrusted the Son with WHAT? What are all things? Those that are mentioned from Luke are death, the enemy, Satan, sickness, etc.
2. HE declared an intimate knowledge of the Father.
Who can really know God? We try but fall short. When Jesus says that no one really knows HIM, it is also a declaration of his deity. Just like you cannot really know the Father because he is so above this world, you cannot know the Son even though he is walking in the world because he, too, is God.
3. Revelation of the Father.
Then Jesus says that HE reveals the Father to whom he pleases.
I want us to notice a few key words:
The Father hides things from whom he pleases.
The Son reveals the Father to whom he pleases.
While not exactly the same words for “pleases”, you can see that there is a connection being made.
Jesus says that part of his mission is to reveal the Father to his followers.
We often refer to God as being transcendent. What does that mean? It means he is not confined to the physical boundaries of this world.
tran·scend·ence [ˌtran(t)ˈsendəns]- NOUN
existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level
When we attempt to define or explain things, we reference our senses - our physical world. It is hard or soft, light or dark, heavy or light. When trying to explain an experience so someone else can relate that was not there, we will connect it to things they are familiar with.
When the prophets defined things they would use phrases “like...” Like fire, like smoke, etc. They often saw things that were hard to describe, but they would use something as a reference to help paint part of the picture.
Check out Ezekiel 1 for a great illustration of someone trying to describe the heavenly realm with early words.
When Jesus was baptized, the spirit descended, “like a dove”. When the disciples received the spirit on Pentecost, listen to the description: ⚡
Acts 2:1–4 CSB
1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.
There was a spiritual phenomenon that took place that was not like anything they had experienced on this earth before - so they used earthly, physical images to help explain the transcendent event.
We use the physical to describe that which is transcendent because that is our reference point.
If God is transcendent, then there are things we simply will not or cannot understand about him. That which we CAN understand must then also be revealed to us, because it is not natural to us. That means that revelation must try to explain that which is not earthly with words that make sense in our physical, earthly context. Jesus was that revelation.
John, in his gospel, it a lot more direct about Jesus being God and also revealing God to us:
When something is revealed it is brought to light and made visible. Luke wraps up his passage with a focus on seeing God through Jesus: ⚡
Luke 10:23–24 CSB
23 Then turning to his disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see the things you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things you see but didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear but didn’t hear them.”
The importance of seeing God and of sight is SO significant in this passage in Luke 10 - check out all of the references:
18 - watched
19 - look
21 - hidden / revealed
22 - reveal
23 - eyes, see, see
24 - see, see, see (hear, hear)
Through the life and ministry of Jesus we get to “see” the Father - his heart, his compassion, his justice, his relentless pursuit of his creation.
As we wrap up our time, that is what I want us to really get from our passage: ⚡
The PURPOSE of the miracles, of the teachings, was to help people return to the Father. To KNOW the Father. The sacrifice of the Son makes that possible, and the life of the Son shows us the Father. ⚡
The conclusion of John’s gospel is very plainly given in the last two verses of that book: ⚡
John 20:30–31 CSB
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.