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“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that 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. All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him. And He turned Him unto His disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them”—Luke 10:21-24.
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It is noticeable that immediately after announcing the coming doom of the cities where most of His mighty works had been wrought, our blessed Lord is said to have rejoiced in spirit. Had He been dependent upon human conditions and worldly circumstances for His joy, as we so often are, He might well have been cast down and depressed when He realized how few there were who seemed to have any heart at all for His message, and who were ready to receive Him as the Messiah. But instead of being discouraged by man’s coldness and indifference, He manifested the truth of the Word most preciously. With glad heart He looked up to the Father with whom He had unbroken communion, and said, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that 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.” He was content to know that the purpose of God was being carried out in spite of man’s rejection and enmity. Those who, by their fellows, were numbered among the wise and prudent, had failed to recognize the Messiah when He came in lowly grace, although they professed to be waiting for Him. The Lord’s appearance was not at all what they expected. They were looking for a great and mighty King; they were looking for One who would drive the Romans from the land of Palestine, re-gather Israel and set up His kingdom immediately, sitting on David’s throne. Instead, there walked among them a Man content to live in apparent poverty, with no certain dwelling-place, going about proclaiming the love of God for poor sinners and declaring that He had come to give His life a ransom for many! This was not at all the kind of Messiah these wise and prudent ones expected. And so their eyes were blinded, and their ears were closed against Him. The precious things He declared seemed foolishness to them. On the other hand, there were those in Israel who, as compared with the wise and prudent, were but babes in knowledge and intelligence. But to these simple ones the Son was revealed, and they learned to trust Him and saw in Him the promised One for whom their people had waited so long. This was all in accordance with God’s purpose of grace; and the Lord Jesus fully acquiesced in His Father’s will in this as in every other respect.
In the next verse, which is also found in Matthew’s Gospel, we have brought before us in a very striking way, the mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus said, “All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” What a rebuke are these words to those theologians who insist upon trying to explain in every detail the union of the human and the divine in Christ. It is quite proper that we should dwell upon what Scripture has declared, but when we attempt to go beyond Scripture, we are almost certain to fall into error; for it is just as true today as it was when Jesus first spoke the words, that, “No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father.” The union of the human with the divine, the two natures in one Person, is beyond our comprehension. We know from Scripture that our blessed Lord was God the Son from all eternity, one Person of the ineffable Trinity. We know that He came from the glory that He had with the Father before the world was, and stooped in grace to be born into the world of a Jewish mother. Scripture insists upon the fact that this mother was a virgin. He had no human father, and therefore we may say that He was the Son of God in two senses: He was the Eternal Son, one with the Father before all worlds, and He was the Son of God as Man when born on earth. But in Him we see deity and humanity united in one blessed, adorable Person. To explain this is impossible. Faith receives it because it is revealed in the Word of God.
Observe the difference between the statement He first makes concerning Himself and the second statement as to the Father. He tells us that no man knoweth who the Father is but the Son. However He immediately adds, “And he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” Our Lord Himself came to reveal the Father, who, apart from the Son and His revelation, never could have been known. The creation, of course, bears witness to His eternal power and Godhead, as we are taught in the first chapter of Romans, but it was Christ Himself who made known the Father’s name.
This was one of the things hitherto kept secret which the Lord Jesus declared. In Deut. 29:29, we read “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Isaiah writes, “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, 0 God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.” This is the passage that the Apostle quotes from the Septuagint in 1 Cor. 2:9. But he immediately adds, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Many marvelous truths were hidden in olden times which, since the Advent of our blessed Lord, have been made known to His own. Some of these things He Himself revealed while on earth; others were opened up by the Spirit after Christ ascended to heaven. It is in view of these new unfoldings of divine truths which He came to give, that the Lord Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately, that is, He was not speaking to the world as such, but only to His own: “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
It is a precious privilege indeed to be taken into God’s confidence and permitted to share His secrets. We know how friends on earth delight to share with one another certain secret things which they do not make known to strangers; and so our Lord Jesus looked upon His disciples as His intimate friends, and He delighted to open up to them precious things concerning the divine Fatherhood, the wondrous provision God had made for the salvation of the lost, and the preservation of His own.
It is our privilege today to enter into and enjoy these hitherto secret things, now revealed to faith. We do not need visions or new revelations in order to understand and appropriate them. We discover them as we study the Word of God in prayerful dependence upon the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of it.
I remember well when I was a young Salvation Army officer, I went home at one time on furlough. My mother and my stepfather lived in southern California on an olive and fig ranch, at a place then called Monte Vista, now known as Sunland. I met a most interesting servant of Christ whose name was Andrew Fraser. He was often called the “Irish Epaphras.” He was suffering from tuberculosis, and had come all the way from Ireland, hoping to find relief from this dreadful disease; but he was so far gone that it was not many months before he went home to heaven. My stepfather had pitched a tent out in the orchard, and he was staying there when I was taken to see him. My mother introduced me. I spent one of the most precious hours of my life, listening to the kindly advice and opening up of the Word of God from the lips of this dear dying man, as he turned from scripture to scripture and brought out precious truths that I had never seen. I finally asked him, “Mr. Fraser, where did you learn all this? Can you suggest some book or books that I could read which would make these things plain to me? He replied, “My dear young brother, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little thatched cottage in the north of Ireland as I waited on God over His Word. You may read many books and often find nice and helpful things in them, but you will never learn the truth of God in the same way or in the same fulness as you can learn it on your knees over an open Bible.” As I left I felt I had been in the presence of the Lord, for I had listened to one who was taught of God.
What we all need is to take the place of babes, to whom God may reveal His secrets. He delights to fill the hungry with good things, but the rich He sends empty away. If we come to Him self-emptied and wait on Him to feed us, we shall find, by faithful perusal of the Holy Scripture in dependence upon the Spirit, that wonderful things will be made known to us that otherwise we would never see. Time spent over the Word in a prayerful attitude will produce rich dividends in the way of leading us on into the knowledge of Christ and His truth.