For people who are self-satisfied and indifferent to God, miracles change nothing. They believe they already have wisdom and they reject Jesus. But those who are know they are needy and weary understand the miracles and embrace the wisdom of Jesus teaching. To them, Jesus promises rest.
Jesus reassured the crowd that John is the important prophet they think he is, and like everyone else, John needs to make the choice to follow Jesus. Then Jesus addressed the negative reaction of the Pharisees and Jewish cities of Galilee. Now Jesus to those who respond positively and repent.
25At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” – Matthew 11:25-26
- Luke records this same prayer in a different context (Luke 10:21). Matthew organizes his material thematically rather than chronologically.
- The scribes and Pharisees explained the Scriptures to everyone else. They considered themselves wise and clever, but their “wisdom” didn’t lead them to God.
- These two words for wise (G4680) and clever (G4908) are paired often in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Usually they are paired in a positive context, but sometimes it is negative (e.g. Isaiah 29:13-14; 1Corinthians 1:18-21).
- “Little children” often has the connotation of the simple or immature (e.g. Psalm 19:7; Psalm 119:129-130 in the LXX).
- The wise and clever are those who believe they have it all figured out and consider themselves superior to others. But their worldview is ultimately rooted in an indifference to God.
- The simple or the children are those who know they need help and know they have more to learn. They consider themselves infants in learning, but their worldview is rooted in seeking God.
27“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” – Matthew 11:27
- Jesus is the one who reveals God’s truth to the simple and withholds them from the so-called wise.
- This verb (G3860) handed-over is used to describe delegation of authority.
- The Father has given Jesus perfect understanding and authority. If we want to know God, we have to know Jesus.
- Jesus reveals the Father to those who come to him as disciples. He hides the Father from the so-called wise, like the Pharisees.
28“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
- A yoke is a wooden collar put around the necks and over the shoulders of animals to hitch them to a plow or a cart. The animal’s master puts the animal in the yoke and now the animal must do the master’s work.
- Metaphorically, we are yoked when someone else restricts our freedom and imposes his will upon us. When you are yoked to the law, you agree to let the law impose its will on you.
- The teaching of Jesus is a kind of yoke in that it puts boundaries on us by telling us what is good and evil. But our master, Jesus, is not oppressive and selfish. He is gentle and humble in heart. We can submit to him without fear.
- Jesus could be alluding to the Wisdom of Ben Sira (chapter 51). Both use the yoke metaphor, invite the listener to seek wisdom and speak of rest.
- IF Jesus is alluding to this language, the differences seem more important than the similarities. Ben Sira says: ‘I sought wisdom and put myself under its yoke and you ought to do the same thing.’ Jesus says: ‘it is MY yoke you need to put yourself under.’
- The kingdom is where ultimate rest is found and Jesus is the only one who can bring us into that kingdom.
Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.
Podcast season 20, episode 21