"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Matthew 11:20-27 -- Knowing God & Revealing to Kids

Thanks to those who offered their insights and feedback on my "what part of 'know' don't you understand" post the other day. I always enjoy other points of view and learning what certain passages convey to you. I couldn't help but also think of "those troubling verses" from Matthew 7 where Jesus is recorded as saying:

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

I never what? KNEW you? Seems like "knowing" is pretty important! Also Psalm 139 came to mind. It's a lovely Psalm of David and I shared part of it in
this post yesterday.

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary has this to say about that puzzling verse:

27"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

'to reveal him-What a saying is this, that "the Father and the Son are mutually and exclusively known to each other!" A higher claim to equality with the Father cannot be conceived. Either, then, we have here one of the revolting assumptions ever uttered, or the proper divinity of Christ should to Christians be beyond dispute.'

In other end-of-Matthew 11 stuff, notice this:

20Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."

Jesus did most of his miracles in this area yet these people wanted the miracles without the repentance. They wanted the benefits and privileges of Jesus' presence - the healings, intervention (e.g. water into wine) - without the responsibility of turning from their wicked ways and walking with God. They didn't want accountability to a Higher Power, I suppose. Just like we often want freedom, but fail to realize with freedom comes great responsibility!

The passage continues,

At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

I wrote in my notes, "I want to be one of the 'little children' - not the 'wise and learned.'" I continued with

hidden from wise & learned (educated and logical?)
and revealed to little children (those gullible and trusting?)

And why would this be? Is it that God likes the gullible types? Does He like those who simply trust and not question or doubt or have to have everything proven logically? Or is there some room for both?

And why would this be for the Father's "good pleasure"?



Amber said...

I had a thought on the Jesus and God knowing each other exclusively commentary.

So, in Orthodoxy, there's a great distinction made between God's essence and His energies. We can only know God's energies (and that in a limited fashion), which are the movements of God on earth, but we can never know His essence. Because to know His essence would be to understand Him completely, at which point we would have to *be* God, and that's not happening...

Anyway. So perhaps the 'knowing' that Jesus speaks of here is the knowledge (and therefore sharing) of the Divine Essence.

And on to the wise v. children bit. So, my thought on this is, the more one learns on any given subject, the more one believes they know, and the more certain they feel that what they know is all that is important to know. What's that saying, 'a wise man knows what he doesn't know'? Well, that level of wisdom is very rare indeed. For most of us, we logic ourselves out of (or into, depending on your perspective) plenty of beliefs. The more learned, we want proof. We want to know how a thing works. A child, you tell a kid something, and they believe. Until later on in life, when learning and logic get in the way. :)

So I think it's 'hidden' from the wise by their own hubris, but kids don't have that problem yet, which is why it's 'revealed' to them.

sarah said...

I'm going to give my 2 pence worth without any kind of knowledge about the passage but only on reading your notes just mentioning the points which spring out to me.

'Knowing and not knowing' - there will always be aspects of God which are unseen. We dont even realise what we dont know. We assume we know but actually we are in ignorance. As such, Jesus may have well had the best 'knowledge' of God.

'Wise and learned' - to me the wise and learned could be the pillars of the Jewish community, the clerics and Saheran. These are the very people who due to arrogance and fear did not accept the Messiahship of Jesus and campaigned to have him crucified. They were too embeded in their beliefs and their position to be open to change.

'Children' - does this mean that the truth of Jesus was open for even a little child full of innocence to see. If looking without prejudice and 'learning' then his position as a prophet was proven with clear signs?
'Good pleasure' - does this mean that God favoured those who accepted Jesus' truth above the learned?

Just some thoughts, not sure about how acurate you think that is.

Angela said...

"Is it that God likes the gullible types?" I don't think so. He knows our hearts after all so He would know if we were just 'believing'. Gullible: easily cheated or fooled.We KNOW that are Father God is not a cheater nor one that is a liar (fooling people would mean lying) Does He like those who simply trust...that is His desire isn't it...TRUST. Trust Him. Trust Him in all things. Trust that He has the best interest at hand for us. As a parent, would I not desire that my children trust me? That they KNOW I will be there for them? Would not my heart ache to think that they believed they could not rely on me? and not question or doubt....as for questioning and doubting. Again He knows our hearts, our human frailness. He knows we will question and have doubts and would rather we admit them and move forward than denying they exist,,and He knowing all a long they are there in the deepest recess of our hearts. or have to have everything proven logically? His ways are not our ways,, and this walk of faith, seriously,,,does it ever make logical sense?

Great questions girl...thanks for sharing this powerful devotional

Susanne said...

Amber, wow, great comment! I haven't heard as much about God's essence and energies so that was very helpful. Yes, maybe this is what Jesus meant...hmmmm. Good stuff.

Also I really appreciate your explanation of the learned/child question.

"The more learned, we want proof. We want to know how a thing works."

How true. Is this why scientists often are atheists? Because they cannot prove God, therefore, they cannot accept Him?

Thank you for your helpful comment. I enjoyed that!

Susanne said...

Sarah, I really love reading your perspective as one not as familiar, yet sharing how you see it. Really loved your comment.

This was great: "there will always be aspects of God which are unseen. We dont even realise what we dont know. We assume we know but actually we are in ignorance."

and I liked your thoughts on the wise and learned being the ones who rejected Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Good thoughts about Jesus' clear signs being simple enough even for a child to accept.

Thanks much for your comment. I really appreciate your feedback. You add a unique perspective and I enjoy what you have to say!

Susanne said...

Angela, I love your sweet comment. I have a friend who said one time, "There is no real friendship without trust." and I have often related this as well to our relationship with God. That whole "without faith it is impossible to please God" thing. And it DOES make sense just as the examples you gave.

We like people to trust us so why would God not want the same? If He is good and loving and faithful, why would He not want us to realize this and rest in His care?

Loved your thoughts! Thanks much for sharing! :)