Jesus Is the Present Savior (11:25–30)
In chapter 11 we studies John and Jesus’ relation to him.
John’s Question to Jesus (11:2–6)
Jesus’ Estimate of John (11:7–15)
The People’s Assessment of Both John and Jesus (11:16–19)
The peoples failed assessment of Jesus resulted in a pronouncement of Jesus as judge (11:20-24).
Although to some he will be a judge, to others he is a savior and that brings us to the current section on salvation based on his sovereign election.
The Sovereign Election of God (11:25–27)
Matthew 11:25 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;
At that time Jesus declared…. At what time? “…‘at that time’ … tie vv. 25–27 with preceding materials, indicating that a line of thought continues.” At the time of Jesus’ discussion about John the Baptist, the unwillingness of the population to respond either to John’s message or Jesus’ one, and the time of Jesus’ comments of the coming judgment on the cities of Israel. This is the time Jesus prays this prayer. At first thought, this time would appear to be a “bad time” to thank God or praise God for anything, things aren’t going well. Yet, at this very time, Jesus thanks the Father.
declaredor said…. From the context we see that Jesus “said” these things to the Father by means of prayer and did so audibly, his disciples could hear him pray.
I thank you …. “I praise you” (HCSB, NASB95, ISV, NIV). “I am grateful” (CEV). Jesus is praising the Father because of something—what?
“When Jesus could have been discouraged, when he had to preach judgment to the unrepentant, when he had to characterize people as childish and had to acknowledge that he was not getting the kind of response—even from John the Baptist, the hardiest of all believers—that one expected a Messiah to get, Jesus gave thanks.” Of course, this serves as an example to us when discouraged; this is how to act under such circumstances, give thanks to God, praise God, for he is in sovereign control of all things.
“Somehow and somewhere, behind and above a discouraging world, stands a poised Father, completely in control and utterly unfrustrated. To believe that human beings are the final arbiters of history is inevitably to become a whiner rather than a thanker because human irresponsibility does embitter. The church needs her Master’s acquiescence in the sovereignty of God if she is to have Jesus’ poise in ministry. Excessive attention to an unresponsive world and insufficient appreciation of the relaxing reality of God’s sovereignty can drive Christians into the slough of despond.”
Lord of heaven and earth…. Jesus’ right and capacity to speak with such certainty of judgment and now salvation is based on the fact that the Father is Lord of heaven and earth. The Lordship of God over the heaven and earth is based on creation, God made the world and everything in it. Creation gives him claim to being its Lord.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,” (Acts 17:24, ESV)
This fact also explains why so many people are radically insistent that he did not make the world and everything in it; otherwise he would be Lord of heaven and earth—and that they cannot have.
And what does Jesus praise the Father for? He thanks God for hiding some things and revealing other things.
you have hidden these things…. What things? Details are not given but it appears that Jesus is here referencing all he has spoken so far in chapter 11. John’s disciples, Jesus’ evaluation of John, Jesus’ criticism of the culture that would accept neither John nor Jesus, and Jesus’ prophecy of judgment on the cities of Galilee. The meaning behind all this is not clear to some but is clear to others. “The things that are both hidden and revealed are presumably the activities of the good news of the presence of the kingdom of heaven that required humble eyes of faith to see God’s hand in them.”
Why would Jesus thank the Father for hiding the Gospel?
“And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”” (Mark 4:11–12, ESV)
It is God the Father who hides from one and reveals to another. This is based on his own sovereign election which itself is hidden in God.
from the wise and understanding…. “The “wise” are various groups in Judaism, depending on the context and the situation: Israel’s wisdom teachers, wisdom’s “pupils,” the followers of apocalyptic groups, the members of the sect and next to them the special class of the wise in Qumran, and above all the scribes. … The term includes all who in Israel are “wise” or who consider themselves to be such, the entire religious aristocracy.” In other words, their title to wisdom and understanding was self-proclaimed; the facts didn’t support it. These arrogant, self-righteous, know-it-alls had no need of Jesus to understand anything about God.
“…therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” (Isaiah 29:14, ESV)
“That wise and understanding people do not necessarily understand what is going on points to insight in this context as something that must be divinely bestowed and cannot be achieved at the merely human level.”
“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”” (Jeremiah 9:23–24, ESV)
“The wise and intelligent foolishly depend on their native insight rather than on divine revelation.”
revealed…. “to cause something to be fully known—‘to reveal, to disclose, to make fully known, revelation.’” Knowledge of these things was hidden from some but here we are told that they are revealed to others.
From this Greek word, we get our English word apocalypse, which to us means coming cataclysmic coming events that are currently hidden. It actually means that are to some degree revealed by God. We find this word in the Book of Revelation as well.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,” (Revelation 1:1, ESV)
tolittle children…. The revelation is not to all; it is to little children. The meaning of this world is that of an infant not old enough to talk yet. The very helplessness of an infant enhances the point. Such a one is not able to obtain anything, let alone the great mysteries of God. If little ones are to obtain this knowledge, it must be a supernatural gift to them from God. Natural ability is not enough. “Jesus will probably be thinking of his listeners: the women, the Galileans, the poor people on the land who have neither the time nor the possibility of going to school….to Israel’s poor, simple, and déclassé.”
“The point of interest is not their education, any more than the point of interest in the “little children” is their age or size. The contrast is between those who are self-sufficient and deem themselves wise and those who are dependent and love to be taught.” Note that they love to be taught, not that they love to be ignorant.
“For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:19–21, ESV)
Verse 25 should remind us of another statement by Jesus.
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” (Matthew 9:13, ESV)
Those that think they are righteous or think they are wise are not the object of Jesus’ call; it is those that know they are sinners and know they are children when it comes to understanding spiritual things; it is the humble, these are the object of God’s love.
What he is saying is that the Father hides his divine revelation from the self-righteous and arrogant but reveals himself to the humble, the poor in spirit. So, why is Jesus giving thanks that the Father hides the truth of God’s revelation about himself to the wise and understanding but does reveal them to children? Because—
“…“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matthew 13:11, ESV)
“…doing such hiding and revealing and reemphasizes the sovereignty of his grace.” He is the Lord of salvation, we are not.
Matthew 11:26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
gracious will…. or “such were your good thoughts.” God’s gracious will or good thoughts are to those upon whom he has fixed his love.
“The reversal of roles set out in v. 25 (the little children receive the truth while the wise and intelligent remain in the dark) is not an accidental exception to the normal order of things; it is God’s “good pleasure.””
“The division in response to Jesus’ message is here unambiguously traced to the will of God himself….” “Any sense that there has been a miscarriage in the purposes of God is robustly contradicted; God is affirmed as the prime mover in the unfolding events.”
The Union of the Father and Son (11: 27)
Matthew 11:27 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.
“Now Jesus switches from talking to his Father to talking about him and their relationship to each other.”
All things…. “In this context “everything” [all things] probably refers particularly to the revelation of truth….” “God has given all things over to Jesus because Jesus is his Son and therefore his heir.” This is also an explanation on how he could legitimately denounce the cites of Galilee. Such authority has been “handed over” to him by the Father.
knows…. To “know exactly, completely, through and through….” “In biblical literature to “know” is more a matter of relationship than of intellectual attainment; it is personal rather than formal.”
no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son ….
“… Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. ….” (John 14:9, ESV)
“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18, ESV)
We learn in John that “the only God, who is at the Father’s side” is Jesus. Jesus is here called God.
“After declaring that the Father gives true understanding of “these things” to “little children” (vv. 25–26), Jesus now adds that he is the exclusive agent of that revelation.” Simply put, access to the Father is through the Son, Jesus Christ. See: John 1:18; 6:46; 7:29; 8:19; 10:15; 17:25.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”” (Acts 4:12, ESV)
This exclusivity of salvation in Jesus only is most distasteful to a culture that delights in “my truth” and “your truth” and demands equal footing of all faiths by all people. The Bible will not countenance this desire to make Jesus Christ simply “a” god or one of many ways to the Father. “This is the scandal of particularity, the affront to other religions, the wound to all other claims of spiritual sensitivity and intellectual power. The Christian church must simply carry this offense as her cross if she wishes to be faithful to the revelation given her by her Lord the Son.”
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, ESV)
and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. It is to anyone, not to everyone. “This combines the two major themes of 11:25–27, election and revelation.”
“…because Jesus shares the Father’s nature as well as ours, he and he alone can reveal the Father.”
the Son chooses…. “…it in effect places Jesus as the indispensable intermediary between God and the “little children:” it is only through him that they have received and can receive their special knowledge of God’s truth.”
“…the knowledge of the Father depends on the “will” of the Son.”
chooses…. “To will, be willing, wish, desire.” It is the Son that does the choosing. Jesus is the only way of salvation. It is he who reveals the Father and no one else. It is not true that there are “many ways” to salvation. There is only one, Jesus Christ. It is the Son who chooses man. It is not man that chooses God; it is God the Father through his son Jesus Christ who chooses sinners—but not all of them:
“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:22–24, ESV)
It is no surprise to hear that God “prepared” us for glory; it is a little startling to read that he has also “prepared” others for destruction. But if one is true, the other of necessity must be true.
“Jesus’ words in 11:27 continue to teach that God alone takes the initiative in the making of disciples, the calling of people to faith.”
A Call to All (11:28-30)
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
In verses 20-24 Jesus threatened judgment upon the cities of Galilee because they did not responded to his message of repentance. In verses 25-27 Jesus stated that the Father can be known only through the Son. Now verses 28-30, extend a direct invitation to find the solution to life’s problems by coming to Jesus, the only one who can reveal the Father to the human race.
Come…. “Jesus does not say “come to God” and receive these promises. Instead, quite in line with his remarks in this chapter and throughout the Gospel, Jesus presents himself as the fully authorized representative of God.” And therefore says Come to me….
Earlier Jesus spoke to Peter and Andrew while fishing:
“And he said to them, “Follow [come to] me, and I will make you fishers of men.”” (Matthew 4:19, ESV)
Later, Jesus expands that call to all to be his disciples.
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” (John 7:37, ESV)
me…. In the grammatical construction of the sentence, there is an emphatic use of me; it is come to ME and no other “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, ESV)
all…. Jesus reiterates his call to all to come for salvation. Who will respond? All “to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27, ESV) This statement is a reiteration of a recent one:
“So everyone [all] who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 10:32, ESV)
labor…. Jesus is not primarily using the words labor and heavy laden in a literal, materialist sense; these words are largely used metaphorically of the burdens of a works salvation. Yet, they do resonate with the fallen condition of sinful man with its material consequence.
“… cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:17–19, ESV)
All such labor is a product of man’s sin; all solutions are found in Jesus’s righteousness.