The Explanation for This
The Gospels indicate that Jesus divided the children and the elites on Monday of Passion Week. The children loved him, and the Sadducees wanted to put him to death. All of this is incredible, and we struggle to understand what was happening. Thankfully, the historical narrative provides the explanation that we are looking for.
Jesus explained how the babes could have understanding, while the wise were blinded. Early in his ministry, Jesus “began to rebuke the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent” (Matt. 11:20). He pronounced woes upon Chorazin and Bethsaida, and he declared that Capernaum would “be brought down to Hades (Matt. 11:21, 23). Astounding miracles had been performed in all three cities along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, but there had been no response to speak of—no change in their thinking and no correction in their conduct. It was as if Jesus had never even been there. The people continued in their unbelief, indifferent to his message of repentance. Their minds were left without understanding, and their hearts were cold and unfeeling.
They were hearing, but not understanding; they were seeing, but not perceiving (Matt. 13:14). How can we even begin to have some understanding regarding such blindness in the presence of such light?
Jesus reflected upon the root cause of such incredible unbelief in his prayer that immediately follows his rebuke. “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (Matt. 11:28). Jesus uncovers the deepest recesses of the heart. There are people who are wise in their own eyes. They, or so they think, are the wise and prudent ones of this world. Pride fills the inner man and is reflected in the haughty look. God is revolted by what he sees and brings judgment upon it hiding truth from their understanding: “You have hidden these things from the wise and learned” (Matt. 11:28; HCSB).
Blessing though comes to the babes, the humble in heart, people who know that they are spiritually bankrupt and have nothing with which to commend themselves to God. Jesus had made this point in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3). Now on this occasion, he thanks the Father that he is pleased to reveal truth to those who walk in lowliness before God: “You have revealed them to little children” (Matt. 11:26; NIV).
The Instruction That We Need
The lesson is clear. We must not be wise and prudent in our own estimation lest justice be our portion. There remains an enduring moral principle that comes to us in the Word of God: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5). This is not only a warning, but also a word of encouragement. If we take the posture of a child and humble ourselves and sit at the feet of Jesus as his disciples, God will be pleased to pour grace into our lives and to reveal truth to us.
How can you and I become more like Mary who had deep spiritual insight and a heart that cherished her Savior? We need to emulate her conduct. We all remember the occasion when Martha welcomed the Lord into her house (Luke 10:38). While Martha became “worried and troubled about many things” and the serving of her guests (Luke 10:41), Mary decided to prioritize. She chose to do the most important thing in the entire world. “She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word” (Luke 10:39).
May we never forget what Jesus said about Mary who gave herself so completely to Jesus and his teaching: “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42; NLT). When all is said and done, Christ is the indispensable thing. Mary discovered in the Lord the real meaning of life. May we have the wisdom to know that Christ and his teaching is all that really matters about life in this world. Learning about Jesus is the foundation upon which we grow in our love for the Lord.
May we all experience the reality of the apostolic benediction in our lives: “Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 6:24; HCSB).