A Study of Matthew 11:25-26
The truths of the gospel hidden from the wise of this world, but revealed unto babes in Christ.
“At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight.”
“At that time” – what is the Lord Jesus here referring to?
Well it may be to several events that have taken place in His Ministry. In the gospel according to Luke we find that it was the time when the disciples had been sent out two by two to preach the gospel and had returned and commented that even the devils were subject unto us.
Also we have the speech here of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Pharisees and Sadducees and of the upbraiding of the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done:
“Woe unto thee, Chorazine! woe unto these, Bethsaida! …and thou Capernaum which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”
“At that time” – It was then when the Lord Jesus had as it were, an audience in front of Him, and especially perhaps to teach the disciples because when they came back from their ministerial tour, they mentioned nothing about conversions or people being drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. They mentioned nothing about the work of the Holy Spirit come in the hearts of one and another, only that the devils were subject unto them. And so to quell the pride of man and to show him that it is the humble soul that will reach heaven at last. The Lord Jesus breaks out as it were, into this spontaneous prayer.
And you’ll notice that we’re told “at that time, Jesus answered.”
We’re not told what the question was, but doubtless it was these events that the Lord Jesus Christ was answering in His prayer. Showing unto the proud Pharisees, showing unto His disciples the need of humility so He brings forth this prayer.
“I thank Thee, O Father,Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
We have been considering various prayers, and various ways in which certain characters are played, we’ve been given throughout this year a pattern of different men and women’s prayers and their petitions that have been put up unto God in heaven.
And one thing noticeable in prayer, is thanksgiving.
Now we often thank God at the end of our prayers for His help given in prayer, for the blessings that He bestows upon us, and all the wonderful things that He has done, especially those who can relate what the Lord has done for their never dying souls.
And here the Lord Jesus Christ begins with thanksgiving, so we realize that it is right for us to give thanks.
But who are we to give thanks unto?
Well especially unto God in heaven.
You know we live in an age, a generation where there is little thanksgiving for anything. You very rarely hear people sincerely thanking others for the benefits bestowed upon them. We have a generation of people who expect to receive of others and are annoyed if they do not receive. They think that it’s a fundemental right to have things given to them although perhaps they have no will or desire to go and earn things for themselves. But how few give thanks unto God.
The Lord Jesus in His prayer that we call “The Lord’s Prayer” brings in thanksgiving. And we too are to give thanks unto God.
What are we to give thanks unto God for?
Well for all His benefits toward us, and especially as we will see later on, when we consider the words “these things”.
Now He addresses the Father. He says “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” So He brings forth that precious relationship which existed from all eternity between the Father and the Son.
And rightly in this His time of humility, even though when He has taken the form of a servant, looking then as a servant unto the master, with much deeper and more precious relationship than that, as the favourite Son unto the loving heavenly Father.
What a beautiful type is given unto us here of that relationship. That the Son is enabled to come to his Father at any time and make request of Him knowing as He says in another place that the Father heareth Him always.
Now that same relationship exists between the regenerated sinner and God the Father through Jesus Christ.
But we can go even further than that, that all those in the election of grace are in this relationship even before they were formed, even when in the womb, even in the days of their unregeneracy, but it’s a blessing when God reveals what that relationship is. That we can come unto God and call Him Father.
My God, my Father, blissful name, oh may I call Thee mine.
We have that blessed right given unto us that we may call God our Father. Because of the Spirit of adoption which is come upon us as we are brought into the family of God and are made partakers of the heavenly blessing.
Oh what a blessing then that God should take the ragged wretch of this world and cloth him with princely garments and bring him into His palace there to feast upon good things.
Such is our relationship with God at regeneration that we may rightly call Him, Father, and He refers to us as sons and daughters.
Now there is a very special relationship between father and son. It is a relationship of love. This of course I’m speaking in a better situation, in a godly household, where the father has that tender spirit, and those good desires from the moment that the child is born from the womb. The father takes pleasure in that child, and even before, it has been the subject of many, many prayers. And so as a child comes forth, there the father, the mother takes the child up into their arms and caresses it, and shows unto the child and the child at a very early age is able to respond to the love and kindness and compassion that is shown unto it.
And so a child of grace is being wrote upon by the Spirit of God that hath Christ revealed as a great mediator. These are able to draw near unto God without fear. See with the unregenerate God is a fearful God, fearful in a sense that they are afraid of Him.
And why are they afraid?
Because deep down they know they have a guilty conscience, all have sinned against God. Guilty fear then comes upon them. If they should consider God at all and to draw near unto God, how solemn a thing for an unregenerated person, for God out of Christ, is a consuming fire. And so there is every reason for the unregenerated character to fear God. And fear his future, the consequences of his lawless sinful life. But as soon as that relationship which was broken is mended, as soon as a child begins to feel the love of the Father, knowing that we love Him because and only because He first loved us, we are able to draw near unto Him without fear. Yes with phileo fear, with godly fear, but not with the horrible fear that a person has of their master who beats them or the person who is an enemy.
What a mercy to be able to say “Our Father.”
Well the relationship then, is a most precious one. Once we’re brought into that relationship, that relationship can never be broken. People often fear that because of their sin, and perhaps some left to open sin. They fear that they have broken that relationship.
But who made the relationship in the first place?
“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”
For Christ has done it all.
The Father sent the Son with His love to repair the damage that had been done when Adam sinned, and to bring the child to God. And so once that relationship is known, then of course that relationship could not have been broken even in the days of unregeneracy. Perhaps we’ve gone to the ends of the earth in our sin and shame. Perhaps we were found in the dens and palaces of eniquity. But nevertheless the Lord delivered us out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay and set our feet upon the eternal Rock of Ages. And so He has established His covenant with us. And we, nor the world, nor the devil can never break that relationship.
Here is our peace and here is our security.
To understand that the Father loves us with an eternal love which can never be broken. And that relationship stands forever and forever.
Yes of course, we want to feel the relationship, which sometimes we do not feel, especially if we are backslidden or our hearts have grown cold, or we become hard in our thoughts or we have left that way in which we once were formed in the early days of our deliverance, those golden hours as it were, where we drew near unto God, but what a mercy when it is the Lord who will draw us back. He will bring us again to feel the warmth of His love. To feel the preciousness of that relationship that He bears towards us and that we have with Him.
The Lord Jesus goes on in His prayer, to speak of the Father as the Lord of heaven and earth. Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.
“Holy and reverend is his name.”
We are always to treat God with due respect and due reverence. He is in heaven, we upon earth. He is much higher than us. We are the poor creatures of the day. He is the eternal God. Then we cannot rush into His presence, we cannot use such language of familiarity as some are disposed to use. No, we must ever have a respect. We don’t see it much today. I remember in my youth, there were families especially where the father was had in certain awe, a certain respect. Yes there was a love, a loving relationship between father and child, but nevertheless, the child knew it’s place, knew that it must respect it’s parents and fear the consequences of any disrespect.
So here is a respectful but also a true title given unto God in heaven, He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the Lord because He is the creator. He has made all things for Himself. And He rules over all.
The angels, the seraphims and cheribums all bow down before Him. They bow their faces in His presence because He is so holy. And He governs over all the heavenly hosts. And they are immediately obedient to the will of their God. He is also the governor of the earth. He holds rule here below.
Oh, there are many today that would never begin to recognize that God has a soverign right over all that is His. And all is His. He is the Potter, we are the clay. He can do with us exactly as He will. He rules, man thinks that he has a rule over certain things.
Perhaps in certain things there is a delegation. That the Lord sends His servants, and the pastor is to rule over the church not in that harsh sense that some would interpret it, but in love being himself the least among the brethren. But he is given the office by God and under God to do the Lord’s bidding, ‘preach the preaching that I give thee’. And we have no license to go beyond what the Lord has instructed us, that is to confine ourselves within the pages of His book. There to preach the whole counsel of God. To make Christ Jesus known as the Saviour of sinners. This is the work that we are called upon to do.
And so the Lord rules over all things. There are powers in the world today that think that they can do whatsoever they like, that they can go outside of God’s license. But they will prove that it is fatal to them, to oppose God and to try and do things opposite to what He has counseled. So the leaders of this earth, whether they know it or not, are subject unto the rule of God. And God will demand of them what they must do.
And so the Lord Jesus answers and says, “I thank Thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth.”
What does He thank Him for?
This is the substance really of the prayer, “because Thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them unto babes’ even so Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.”
We need to understand then, what “these things” are, that are either hidden or revealed.
And the simple answer is the gospel, the good news of salvation, the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, His mercies toward unregenerated sinful creatures. Those that are enemies to the truth.
The Lord will either hide these things or reveal them according to the purpose of His will.
And who can say unto Him “what doest Thou?”
These are the precious things of God. Whether we see them or we don’t see them, yet they’re there. The blind can see nothing. And although you may describe something to the blind man and he may have some comprehension of it, there is a beauty, there is a glory that he cannot begin to know because he cannot see.
Now when it comes to the gospel, there is a beauty, there is a glory which is only known by those that have been born again of the Spirit of God. Ah, we have many, even in our day philosophers, students of religion, doctors of divinity, call them what you like and there are some men who are highly educated, well versed in the scriptures of truth and yet, their eyes are blind. They know about these things but they don’t know them for themselves. How sad it is.
And there may be some in any congregation who have perhaps been from their youth upwards taught the scriptures, have some understanding of those scriptures, and know what’s needed in their lives, but they don’t know the truth as it is in Jesus. It has never been revealed to their never dying souls. They have never come into the beauty and the majesty of the doctrines of Gods wonderful grace.
But these things are revealed unto some. And the Lord in His eternal purposes has revealed them.
Now to who are these things hidden and to who are they revealed?
We we’re told that they are hidden from the wise and the prudent. So it proves to us that education, although valuable in some senses, will never bring us to God. That understanding of some parts of the word of God will never deliver our souls. No doubt He has reference here of the pharisees and sadducees, those that were wise in their own opinion, those that were prudent in themselves. These in reality had need of nothing.
And you get some characters today that know everything about the Scriptures, they don’t need a minister to preach the gospel because they know it. They know every thing about it. They are wise in their own eyes and yet they lack vital godliness. This is a very solemn and sad condition to see men and women like that who think that they know everything that needs to be known and only need to repeat it week by week and God will accept of their persons. This really is no better than a ‘good works’ religion that so many in the churches today are satisfied with.
A religion of the flesh and of the mind, no real religion in the heart. These are proud of their achievments, proud of their wealth, or proud of their fame, proud of something within themselves.
We’re all riddled with pride, what a filthy thing pride is, how it keeps us from the throne of grace. How different when we’re humbled and brought low. And what a difference there is here between the wise and the prudent and the babes.
We’re not to think of babes as natural newborn children, no, these are babes in Christ. These are simple souls, they have a child like spirit, in other words they are willing to learn. They feel their own ignorance and shame, they need an instructor.
“That which I see not teach thou me:”
And they feel to be so ignorant in so many things, and cry out for One to help them. They have no desires for the flesh or the things of this world, for the glory of man, for the prosperity that some that so love to wallow in.
No, they have Jesus, and “He that hath the Son hath life” (1st John 5:12).
By Michael Pickett