“Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! For if the miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment, than for you. At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants.”- Matthew 11:22 – 25
Jesus has just finished condemning three towns in Galilee where He has performed miraculous works and powerful preaching. Despite seeing the power of God on display with their own eyes, the people of these towns failed to repent of their sin and to believe that Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 11:20–24).
Why did these people fail to believe in Jesus? A possible clue comes in what Christ thanks God the Father for in this verse. In the middle of talking to the crowds, Jesus turns to His Father, “the Lord of heaven and earth,” and thanks Him for having hidden “these things” from the wise and understanding. In other words, Jesus thanks the Father for actively participating in keeping the truth from those who are thought to be smart according to the world’s standards, or at least according to themselves. Instead, the Father reveals the hidden truth to “little children.”
What are “these things”? In the case of what Jesus has just been talking about in this chapter, they are things that seemingly should be obvious. If Jesus displays power that can only come from God—power to raise the dead and heal impossible illnesses and cast out demons with a word—then He must be the Messiah. Why would anyone not believe that?
Jesus identifies two things. First, those who are thought to be wise and understanding in this world tend to overestimate the value of their own minds. Intelligence comes with the temptation to excuse away anything a person does not like or prefer. This is not fundamentally different than the way a person with great wealth can fool themselves into thinking they need nothing and no one else—not even God. Since Jesus was not what many self-labelled wise men expected from the Messiah, they decided Jesus cannot be the Messiah.
Second, this statement implies that God hides what should be obvious from those who are arrogant. In a sense, He helps them to not understand what they choose not to understand. This is similar to how Pharaoh, during the Exodus, was allowed to resist God’s will (Exodus 7:22; 8:15, 32), before God made an example of him by hardening his heart (Exodus 9:12; 10:20; 14:8).
Distinct from that, God the Father reveals what is obviously true to “little children.” This is often true of actual children, but Jesus will have more to say about adults becoming like little children in Matthew 18:1–5. He says something similar about coming to God with the confident trust of a child in Mark 10:14–15: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
The Father reveals the hidden truth to little children. Jesus speaks about our faith needing to be that of child’s. Our imaginations need to be open to ALL that Jesus has for our lives…all of it.
Sometimes our adult minds have a hard time comprehending and understanding the ways of Jesus…
Let’s change that.