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To reveal means to draw back the curtain in order for that which was hidden to be seen in plain view.
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.
Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal him."
Matthew 11:25-27 NKJV
Jesus, The Eye Opener
The more you have, the more you want. No, I'm not talking about money or sex, or trophies and other collectibles. I'm talking about God.A Christian is one who never gets enough but always wants to know and experience more of our loving heavenly Father. But let's put these words into context.
The theme of Matthew 11 is faith and the great questions of who, what, when, why to believe or not believe. The episodes took place in the hometowns of Jesus' disciples. As though Jesus was going to show them right off the bat the hard realities of discipleship and the reactions they will get from people.
The chapter started with John the Baptist, the "greatest ever born of women." From the darkness of his prison cell, John was starting to ask some serious questions about who Jesus was. Jesus didn't chide those honest doubts, he just responded by speaking highly of John and the wonderful things he had done with his life. Then he told a playful story which mimicked those people who did not like the preaching style of either man--John being too solemn and austere and Jesus being too lighthearted and carefree. Some people you just can't persuade no matter what you do.
How successful was Jesus in reaching the people he came to save? His mission was plain and clear-cut. He had come to preach good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, free the oppressed, give sight to the blind and proclaim the coming of our God. But in order to do all these things, people had to believe in him and want to receive what he offered them. It grieved Jesus when he looked out over the crowds. Oh, it was easy enough for him to touch a blind eye and restore one's physical sight. But what could he do about the blindness that refused to see Immanuel, God with us, walking within our midst?
That's when his frustration level reached a crescendo and Jesus launched into his stinging tirade about sinners having a better chance of surviving judgment day than the self-proclaimed saints from those blessed towns along the Galilean shoreline. Which brings us to the verses in today's passage and a sudden shift in tone, signaling a transition between the woes of judgment and a promise of rest for the weary.
What do you do when you need a break from difficult realities? Jesus did what many of us do, he prayed. When the mood of the day dragged down, down, down, Jesus re-phrased the awfulness into a prayer of thanksgiving. When he felt like he couldn't press on, he intentionally changed his focus and started praising God. "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth--those who should know better, just don't get it; those who are as simple as children see it clearly. This is just another one of Your hard-to-believe surprises. So be it. "
The harsh words are over for now, the sharpness gone. A calmer and gentler Jesus resumed his teaching by saying something which sounded like, "If you want to know God, believe in me and get to know me." Jesus knew the Father and the Father knew him. And if we want to know the Father, Jesus will be happy to draw back the curtain so we can see into the heart of God.
We learn of God firsthand by hanging out with Jesus. Albert Schweitzer said it so well--"He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men [women and children] who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: 'Follow thou me!' and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands.And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is."
Jesus' ministry was a constant revelation. Through his teachings and stories, his attitudes toward people, his priorities, the company he kept and everything he did, Jesus opened the window to the kingdom of heaven. Just like the miracles, the revelations of Jesus remove the veil from our unbelieving eyes. In so doing, we take our first steps into the realm of knowing and loving God. Knowing God is an active pursuit, as more and more our desire is to come, and go, and be, with Jesus.
Use the following questions for small groups, journaling, further study or reflection.
Icebreaker: Name one thing you know about God, and tell how you learned it?
To help us understand the word "reveal", think about a friendship wherein you divulged something of a very private, personal nature that other people do not know about you. Describe what happens between two people when such intimacies are shared. How do you decide to whom you will make such disclosures?
Jesus spoke of unbelief as blindness to the revelations of God. How likely are you to show your secrets to someone who doesn't believe what you say to them? Explain you answer.
Jesus has many sacred gems at his fingertips ready to unveil. What are the things which aid or prevent us from receiving these revelations of Jesus? As your eyes are opened to these mysteries of God, what happens to your relationship with the divine?
How is Bible study related to "revelation"? What are some things you are currently learning about God? How did you learn these things? Are you more likely to learn something through study or by revelation? Are study and revelation the same thing? If not, how are they different?
Did you ever decide to praise God in spite of your circumstances? If so, explain what effect your praises had on you? How did the idea of praising God in difficult situations occur to you?
Christian theology teaches that Jesus was the incarnation of God, meaning God in human form. What do the verses of this passage say about the incarnation?
React to the statement by Albert Schweitzer that we learn who Jesus is by following him. Is there any other way to know who Jesus is than by following him, or to know God than through obedience to his will and word?
We commonly hear about blind faith or blind trust. But Jesus talked about blind unbelief which implies that faith opens our eyes. Who is right?