Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 11:27d (Holman) “. . .and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal
Jesus, desperately seeking to convince people of His supreme importance in human salvation, here continues some of the boldest declarations any person ever voiced. Christ claimed He alone can reveal God to people. People may dislike or disrespect Jesus, but they will never know God or see Heaven apart from Christ.
This assertion, along with our belief that Jesus is God, is the heart and soul of the Christian faith. Only through a personal relationship with Christ can people know God. Jesus reveals not only facts about the Father, but also Father Himself.
Jesus is what we need to know about God, because Jesus is God. What does God look like? Look at Jesus. What does God want to say? Listen to Jesus.
All true, accurate, and reliable knowledge of and from Father is conveyed to people solely through Jesus. Only as we receive what Jesus reveals about God is the door of grace thrown open for all of Heaven’s blessings to flood into our lives.
To seek God anywhere else than through Jesus is to seek in vain. To seek God in creation is futile. “Supreme Being” is all we learn there. To seek God in human philosophies is in vain. We can learn only people’s best hunches there.
Jesus is God’s authorized instructor, revealing all trustworthy truth with regard to the Father. Being sinners, our vision of God is marred by cataracts of sin (Powell). Jesus, though, is sinless, and has gained by His resurrection investiture as God’s official transmitter of truth. His teaching tenure will never end.
Jesus praised the Father for revealing and concealing salvation matters as He felt right. In return, Father authorized Son to reveal and conceal as He desires.
Jesus did not mean for our text to cause us to lie down in passive despair, fearing we may not be one of the chosen ones. His emphasis is “desires” to reveal. Jesus’ goal was never to paralyze sinners with dread, but to excite them with hope.
Jesus wants to save everyone, and explained to whom salvation is given, to anyone willing to receive it from Jesus with childlike humility (11:25). “Here the bottom falls out of all merit. Christ must do and must give everything” (Luther).
Jesus’ bigger-than-life claims in verse 27 bring us face to face with one of the Universe’s most intriguing riddles. How do God the Father and God the Son interrelate with each other? We at best dabble at the edge of this endless ocean, yet desperately long to better understand God’s nature, to decipher Father and Son.
God’s person, one in three, three in one, ever perplexes us. We believe in, but do not fully understand, the Trinity. Tertullian’s term has endured 1800 years of scrutiny. It is descriptive, but not 100% explanatory. We stretch our brains to create helpful illustrations, such as snow, ice, and water, or mind, body, and spirit.
A helpful diagram is the ancient Trinity Wheel. On a central hub is written “God.” From the hub three spokes emanate and contain the word “is.” At the end of one spoke is written “Father,” a second “Son,” a third “Holy Spirit.” The wheel’s outer rim connects the three titles, and has “is not” written between them.
Father, Son, and Spirit have ever been to each other a holy unveiled secret (Plummer), always approaching one another to know, love, and enjoy each other. This lovely self-enclosed world of the Trinity can be known by humans only by having it revealed to us. We can’t pry our way into it. God has to disclose it to us.
Fortunately, the Trinity opted to reveal Himself to us. Love wants to open itself for investigation, to manifest itself, to invite others to share companionship with it. Parents intentionally have a child in order to share with another their love for each other. God made the same choice with regard to rebels who oppose Him.
Before time, the Trinity planned together, and made everlasting decisions regarding creatures they would create in their own image, watch rebel, and want to reclaim. This tender drama is the seed-bed of exceeding loveliness, a stage on which God’s perfect love is overwhelmingly displayed to undeserving sinners.
By sending His Son, the Father put all requirements for salvation in reach of everyone. Lessons learned scholars can never figure out on their own have been committed to the Son, who in turn is “the” Teacher of infants who hear by faith.
God harbors no reluctance to save anyone. He is ever eager to do so. All barriers to salvation are in a person’s heart, not God’s. He rains grace and mercy.
In all natural manmade religions, sinners strive to reach Heaven. In God’s revealed religion, Christianity, Heaven stoops to reach sinners. With the Father, Jesus is equal. To us, Jesus, with a stunning love, condescends. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Amazing love, how can it be? I stand in awe, so amazed.
Contemplating Jesus leaves us breathless. In fact, we may not understand the Son as well as we understand the Father. The latter is God, a concept difficult enough for our frail minds to grasp, but Jesus is God/man, possibly an even more difficult reality to grasp. His Person is one of Christianity’s most baffling puzzles.
We bow before Him with absolute wonder, and total submission. To us His words are God’s Law. Any who think themselves cleverer than Jesus are doomed.
Many, claiming there are ways to the Father other than solely through Jesus, justify their theory by saying God is love. Where did they pick up such a notion?
Our world, “red in tooth and claw,” yields precious little intrinsic evidence to prove God is love. The idea that God may be love is taken solely from the pages of the Bible, from the fact God sent His Son to die on a cross for sinners.
All who advocate God is love are indebted to the Bible, whether they know it or not. It is a doctrine grabbed from Scripture, jerked out of its original context, and interpreted incorrectly. Scripture is to be taken as a whole, not piecemeal. If we accept Scripture’s teachings on God’s love, we must accept its other teachings about God, including His prescribed method of salvation, solely through Jesus.
God dispenses salvation according to His own predetermined prescribed way. He has no use for public opinion polls. He is not shifting jello, conforming Himself to the latest surveys of what people say He should do. Let me illustrate.
If we see a jar full of golf balls, we all have sense enough to know there is only one right answer to the question, “How many golf balls are in the jar?” No matter how much we fuss or what we think, the answer is objective and absolute, separate from our subjective guesses, unaffected by what public opinion polls say.
On the other hand, if I ask, “What is your favorite color?” any answer would be possible. No one color is everyone’s favorite. The answer is totally subjective. We can give any answer to the question and be as right as anyone else’s choice.
To determine what God is like, which of these two approaches, golf balls or colors, more closely pictures the best way to find the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Is there an absolute, objective standard, like the number of golf balls in a jar, or is deciding what God is like subjective, as in picking a color?
Many say knowing God’s nature is like picking a favorite color, any idea is right. All opinions are equal. Let everyone choose whatever notion they like.
Jesus, though, taught us knowing God is like deciding the number of golf balls in a jar. There is an absolute standard. One choice is right, all others wrong.
These truths tax us mentally. We find our brains wanting to shut down, and feel we need an intermission from the deliberations, a place to let our minds rest.
When it comes to God, we can never know all, but fortunately, despite our limitations, we can know all of God we need to know. We cannot understand Him fully, but can enter in and enjoy Him as much as God meant humans to enjoy God.
Pray often the prayer of McCheyne, “Lord, make me as holy as a saved sinner can be,” meaning, “Lord, give me all of Yourself a human being can have.”
One of my highest honors was repeating McCheyne’s prayer every time I prayed aloud in his homeland, Scotland. For some reason I was deeply moved to stand on the soil of one who wanted all of God that is humanly possible to have.
Due to health restrictions, I cannot eat as much chocolate as most of you can, but this does not mean I do not enjoy it as much as you do. The fact I cannot have as much as another does not mean I cannot enjoy it as much as possible.
Similarly, when it comes to these deep truths of God, we can not have it all or know it all, but we can enjoy it all, we can revel in what Jesus has done for us.