Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matthew 11:25b (Holman) “. . .Father,. . .”
We witness in our text a remarkable piece of spiritual autobiography. Jesus wanted everyone to know His loyalty to the Father’s will was unflinching. At all times in all situations, Jesus trusted His Father. Even after the blood-soaked plea in dark Gethsemane, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me,” Jesus acquiesced, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (LK 22:42).
In our text, Jesus’ glad assent to His Father’s will was not a rejoicing over being rejected by Capernaum, His hometown. Jesus was instead celebrating His Father’s prescribed method for salvation. It gives everyone a fair, equal chance. The plan is divinely arranged, thoroughly thought out, not a momentary despotic whim.
Though sad at being rejected by His hometown, Jesus acquiesced. He was of the same mind with His Father, satisfied with God’s decisions on how people could be saved. Yielding is the right way, the best way, to process God’s ways.
Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, loved to call the First Person of the Trinity “Father.” It denoted Jesus’ desire to commune as a loving Son, and expressed their sense of connectedness.
The relationship remained strong and intimate, unaffected by difficult days. This Father/Son closeness explains why Jesus was able to worship in dark times. Don’t wait till winds howl, and expect a “quick-fix” with God. Commune always.
Enjoy “Father.” Heaven is in the word. If we can meaningfully say it, we utter one word more comforting than volumes spoken by angels. The Father’s attributes are all wrapped in love. We owe Him the reverence and devotion of dutiful children.
Matt. 11:25c “. . .Lord of heaven and earth,. . .”
“Heaven and earth” was how Jews referred to the whole universe (GN 1:1). God is Creator of, and Sovereign over, the cosmos. He made all and rules all. Our rejecting God did not alter His status as God. We owe Him homage as subjects.
We should bow before His majesty. USA Americans don’t do bowing well. We fought a Revolutionary War to end any obligation to bow before people. This independent mind-set often shades our thoughts about our situation before God.
“Lord of heaven and earth” keeps our faith from hyper-sentimentality. The Father’s love is so precious that we almost forget He is King; His hand so tender that we can fail to remember it holds a scepter. Thinking of His blessed brow, we usually envision thorns, not crowns. Samuel Stennet combined both concepts in a song, “Majestic (Lord) sweetness (Father) sits enthroned upon the Savior’s brow.”
Our loving Father sovereignly governs. Don’t worship second causes. God told oceans where to stop, and tells raindrops where to fall. He kindles lightning and sparks the lightning bug. “From the dazzling wing of the angel down to the painted wing of the fly, all flights of beings are controlled by Him” (Spurgeon).
The doctrine of Divine Sovereignty is given to us as a solace, a wonderful shelter to retreat into during storms. The concept is taught not as much to satisfy intellectual curiosity as to calm our hearts and lift our spirits. If we are frustrated and bogged down by trying to understand God’s sovereignty one hundred percent, and are not fascinated and rejoicing in it, we’re missing the doctrine’s whole point.
Because God our loving Father rules the Universe as Lord, we have security for the present and the future. God is God, taking His God-ness seriously. He will have the final word. We believe His ways are always right and loving. Someday we will clearly see God did all things right. In the meantime we accept it by faith.
God has every right to do whatever He wills with His creation, especially a rebellious one. God is dealing with a race of sinners to whom He owes nothing.
Yet what did He choose to do in His capacity as Lord of heaven and earth? Rather than disappear into heaven and turn His back on earth, God kindly chose to unite heaven and earth, to send love and power from Heaven to help us on earth.
Matt. 11:25d “. . .because You have hidden these things from the wise and
learned. . .”
Jesus was not saying people are excluded from salvation automatically if they are intelligent. The problem is rather an attitude learning often engenders, a pride in intellect, causing scholars to deem a simple childlike faith beneath them.
What is hid? The method of salvation, how to know God and go to Heaven. Where is it hid? In God so that we have to come to Him humbly and directly to find it. If we felt sufficient without God, we would never come to Him at all.
The only way to be saved is to approach God solely via the method He has prescribed. This requires a humility scholars can find hard to display. They often don’t like the fact salvation is not a product of human thinking, but a discovery of truth revealed by God and unveiled only as He pleases in a way He prescribes.
The intelligentsia often keep themselves out of being saved because they proudly want to think they can on their own figure out a way to save themselves. They believe God can be known by human reasoning with no need of revelation.
Many do not appreciate the simplicity of salvation. They want something more complex and difficult. The learned elite often won’t submit to God’s method of saving people by grace through faith. They prefer to devise their own system, to concoct a complicated, more intellectually challenging arrangement to be saved.
Capernaum failed here. They felt they knew it all, especially how Messiah should act. It was their way or the highway, but they were wrong, dead wrong.
Much learning does not help sinners, which we all are, procure faith. Our problem is spiritual, not intellectual. Spirit and intellect are not one and the same.
People mentally gifted, well able to solve problems and analyze situations, are often clueless about the teachings of God. A person as brilliant as Solomon can have absolutely zero spiritual understanding. Solomon himself, despite his vast wisdom as a ruler, brought Israel down due to woman troubles. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. A boy said, 300 cucumber vines. Actually, Solomon would have been much better off with 300 cucumber vines and 699 fewer wives.
“Some of the greatest scholars and the greatest statesmen have been the greatest strangers to gospel mysteries” (Henry). A person can know much about science, yet understand nothing about the Creator. An earned doctorate in math or physics can leave one totally devoid of understanding there is absolute truth.
A zoologist can fail to grasp the concept of a Giver of Life. A medical specialist can be totally ignorant of the fact there once lived a Great Physician.
A political science degree can not ensure a person knows the King of kings. William Wilberforce, the Christian parliament member ultimately responsible for ending Britain’s slave trade, once took to church one of the most astute politicians England ever produced. Wilberforce said the preaching that day was completely enrapturing, maybe the best he had ever heard, but after the service, his brilliant friend said he did not have a clue as to what the preacher had been talking about.
When it comes to knowing God and being saved, IQ is not as important as I surrender. The crux is the heart, not the mind. The old song says it well.
Friend, how would you feel if your heart were made
With a window on each side so that all could see
Not just outward charm, but detected inward harm?
How about your heart? Is it right with God?
That’s the thing that counts today.