Matthew 11:25-27

Let me begin this Lord’s Day’s preaching of the Gospel by reintroducing the subject matter of this text.  And I say “reintroducing” because it is a matter (one of them) that Jesus has been preaching for some time now - ever since the Sermon on the Mount back in chapters five, six and seven.

And the progressive unfolding of this teaching, which, by the way, is the very difficult matter of man’s inability to do anything about his depraved condition, but the unfolding of this teaching reaches its climactic height here in these three verses!

I was made very painfully aware during this past week, several times as a matter of fact, of the lack of understanding in the Christian community about our sin nature, and about the very specific teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, here in the Gospel of Matthew, with regard to that nature.

I said I was made painfully aware; and that awareness came to me in the course of conversations during which both men and women brought to the table unbiblical reasons and explanations for their predicaments; and they had chosen to extricate themselves from those predicaments by means which are in addition to, and even opposed to, the plain words of Christ here in the Gospel!

In every case to which I was exposed this week, it seems that all of the parties involved sought to bring with them some method of justification of themselves other than that which Christ requires for our regeneration and sanctification!

And the prime example of that, and this occurred in some way and to some degree in all the cases, but the prime example this week is the reliance on a “Christianized” Freudian counseling technique.

Now, I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time on this - we’ve seen it before - but the process is to dredge up all the hurts and pains and emotions and feelings from the past, couple that with family and environment problems, add in the fears and experiences of early childhood, and then understand and analyze all those factors.  And through that whole process, the counselee is to expose all these things and realize how they all affect present behavior!  In other words, the one who needs help is to be made to see all the factors in the make-up of “self” - and then be better able to modify their behavior.

And, in addition to that, the counselee is to recognize and talk about the behavioral perversions in those who are very close to them and be able to handle those perversions better.

Of course you already realize that’s like applying salves and band aids to mortal wounds!  There may be some immediate relief from discomfort - and it’s usually new language to use against family members - but it does nothing for the condition of the patient - who dies!

The counselee, who is laden with trouble due to self-centeredness, self-concern and self-esteem, learns to shift the blame over to co-dependency, early childhood trauma, over-indulgent and abusive parents, non-communicative or unaffectionate spouses, psychological weaknesses, phobias, lack of attention syndrome - and a thousand others.  So-called “Christian” counselors always plug in some well-meaning and high-sounding Biblical terminology in the process, but that doesn’t make the process Christian!  Because these methods don’t deal with the main problem - the nature of man.  And they don’t go to the text of Scripture - in this case, Jesus’ Own words - to find what’s the matter with the “self,” and then apply His Words to the situation - which is our own condition.  Instead, they bring something else.

People try desperately to bring to the table anything but Jesus’ words which describe their condition!  Not only do they try to shift the blame from self to others and environment, and situation, and family, but they bring their own wisdom; or some intellectual ability, or heritage - or just plain human pride and self-will.

But what did Jesus say?  In the Sermon on the Mount he said that the “poor in spirit” would be the recipients of the Kingdom.  And that the “mourning” would be comforted.  And that the “meek” would inherit the earth!

And then He said that those who were submissively obedient to God’s Commandments would be called great in the Kingdom.  He taught us to give gifts in secret, and to pray in secret and to fast in secret - the secrecy so as not to raise our self-esteem in religious matters.

Then Jesus healed the blind and the deaf and the lepers and the lame, and even raised the dead - all indicating the condition of mankind and its inability to help itself - and also indicating His propensity to deal with the lowliest and neediest of humanity.  Not the prideful and self-sufficient.

And then, when Jesus sent out His twelve apostles to find the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He told them that they would be attacked by wolves; and that they would be hated and repudiated and beaten and sent before kings and governors for punishment (for preaching the Gospel)!  But in receiving that persecution, they were to consider themselves blessed for suffering on account of Christ, and for Christ, and IN Christ - knowing that they were sharing His suffering!  And there was to be no hint of self-willed retaliation!

And then, while Jesus was telling them that they would be hated and rebuked by even their own family members because they preached the Gospel, He taught them this:  that if they found the self, they would lose it.  But if they destroyed the self - mortified it, killed it - they would find it.

And then He warned them all not to be entrapped by the fact that He dealt with the dregs of society.  What He was doing was signifying the state of all men in the figures of the lepers, the poor, the sick, the unclean, the demon-possessed and the dead.

And just before the text for this morning begins, He passes judgmental annihilation upon the cities of Israel because of their unrepentant pride, apathy and antagonism toward Him and the Gospel of the Kingdom.  God’s elect remnant had been left by Israel’s leadership in oppressive filth, poverty and disease while the rest of Jewish society self-indulged in its idolatry, its greed, its hedonism, its demonism and its pompous religiosity!  And Christ pronounced woes on them - woes which were carried out in the destruction of all the cities of Israel - including Jerusalem and the temple - in 70 A.D.

And then Matthew records these words, “and at that time, Jesus answered and said, ‘I openly acknowledge to You, Father, Lord of the Heaven and the earth, that You did conceal these things from wise and intelligent ones and You did reveal them to children.  Yea, Father, it was done thusly because it is well-pleasing in Your sight.’”

So, about that time (verse twenty-five), and in the presence of many of His disciples - who were going and coming into the cities and villages of Israel preaching the Gospel - Jesus lifts up His eyes to pray to His Father.  And the disciples witness Him doing that.  When He finishes He then looks back to them and says (verse twenty-seven), “It was all handed over to Me by My Father, and no one intimately knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone intimately know the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son may be willing to reveal Him.’”

This is one of those mammoth statements that the apostle John loved to write down, as recorded in his Gospel account.  And as you can see and hear, it has to do with the unsearchable mind and heart of our Creator, and it concerns His eternal decrees with respect to the salvation of the world!

When Jesus says, “these things You did conceal,” here in verse twenty-five, He’s talking about the Gospel of the Kingdom - all that’s happening - all we’ve been preaching for the last year and a half.  And it’s “these things” that the Lord of Heaven and Earth did conceal from wise and intelligent ones and did reveal to children!  (remainder of verse twenty-five)  And the Father has done it that way because it was well-pleasing in His sight! (verse twenty-six)

What was well-pleasing in His sight?  That He did conceal - hide - all these things from the wise and intelligent, and that He did reveal them to children!  To Babes!  It was actually well-pleasing to Him to do it that way! 

Turn over to Isaiah 29:9-16.  This is what is says:

 9) “Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry:  they are drunken, but now with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.

10) For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes:  the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.

11) And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee:  and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:

12) And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee:  and he saith, I am not learned.

13) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

14) Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder:  for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

15) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us?  And who knoweth us?

16) Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay:  for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not?  Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?”


Where are these things prophesied?  To put it in the prophet Isaiah’s terminology, the Lord has sealed the book so that the wise and prudent and intellectual of Israel - the proud - can’t read it!  And the Father, Jesus says, is well-pleased to do that!

And now, let’s read Psalm 8:1-2:  Listen - “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy Name in all the earth.  Who hast set Thy glory above the heavens….  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger….”  It’s revealed to babes - preached to babes.

Verse twenty-five.  Here the Lord Jesus prays to the Father, praising Him for His glory and openly acknowledging what God had already prophesied in Isaiah chapter twenty-nine and Psalm eight!  And what was now taking place in Israel! - concealing from the wise, and revealing to babes.

And He praised the Father openly for these things because He wanted His disciples to hear Him do that!  Why did He want them to hear Him acknowledge the Father’s good pleasure?  So the disciples wouldn’t become discouraged, or saddened, or frightened by the fact that the glorious new Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament now consisted of the dregs of society!  Here is God the Son openly, publicly acknowledging that the Gospel would be concealed from the wise and intelligent in Israel, and it would be revealed to babes!  And when the disciples heard Christ pray in this way, their hearts must have been gladdened to know that what they now saw happening before them and among them was eternally decreed by the good pleasure of  the Lord of Heaven and Earth!  (Isaiah twenty-nine)

Now, having just said that, let me also mention to you again that when Heaven and Earth are used in this form, it is usually the nation of Israel that’s being alluded to metaphorically.  The nation with whom He had covenanted - the one He had birthed from the womb of Egypt - God loved her so much He referred to her - many times - as “Heaven and Earth.”  So Jesus is retaining the historic context here.  The nation upon which He has pronounced the ultimate destruction is the same one that His Father has so dearly loved.


And now we need to understand who the wise and intelligent ones are from whom the Father has concealed all “these things.”  And who they are to whom God has revealed them!  And then some comments on why He is well-pleased to do that.

And let me begin a discussion of these things by saying that the initial beginnings of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ - the lost sheep of the house of Israel and the dregs and off-scouring of society, the poor and diseased and despised - are viewed by Christ as more brilliant and beautiful than it would be if there were nobility and wealth and power in it!  And I say that because of something we’ve already seen in the text on another occasion.  And that is, that it is the despised and rejected and poor and needy of Israel’s society that prefigure and signify and illustrate the depraved condition of humanity!

The fact that He gathered the destitute and the unable and the despised all around Him was a sign to the world of its own despicable condition!  And the fact that He healed them and made them clean and raised them from the dead is the glorious sign of the perfections and glory of the Church, the Body of Christ!

As we’ll see next Lord’s Day, the Lord describes Himself as meek and lowly in heart, and He was despised and rejected of men; and it is these very same qualities which must characterize those to whom the Father reveals the Kingdom!

It is the Father’s plan that His people bring nothing - He provides everything!  Those who bring wisdom, intellect, strength, heritage - or anything else - then they deceive themselves by elevating self!  If they bring these things to the table - any of these things to reason with God, - then they lose their lives!  That’s what Jesus means by the “wise and intelligent ones” here in the text.

But the term “babes” or “infants” or “children” is metaphorical language for those who come to Him knowing that they are depraved and empty and desperate - they’re poor in spirit and mourn their iniquity!

Again, the wise and intelligent, here in Jesus’ metaphorical language - directly from the Old Testament language - are those who think so highly that they consider themselves as having some worth about themselves.  They get puffed up and they bring that to the table.  Knowledge, intellect, money, science, reason, power, advanced religious thinking, law-keeping, the absence (in their own eyes) of gross sin, some residual goodness, good works, kindness, love.  They don’t consider themselves as needy and destitute and blind and deaf and dead!  They bring something to commend themselves.

The Lord Jesus chose all these throwaways - the refuse of society - to indicate to the world that it was dead!  And if the world came to Him in any other way, then it was with the idea that it disagreed with God about its condition!  And that’s called pride and lack of humility!  And it’s called blind and deaf and dead!

The Father is so magnified by the descent to the lowliest and most abominable of society, indicating that the poor in spirit are raised from their depraved filth, and they’re placed in a covering of perfection - the body of Christ.

And let’s all get it clear in our minds that all unbelievers swell with self-esteem.  That’s the core nature of the depraved human.  And they’re all alike in sin.  But, as Paul says in I Corinthians one, twenty-seven, “God has chosen the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the glory of the flesh.”

They’re all in the same condition.  No man can obtain faith on his own.  Just as the wise and intelligent can’t bring their wisdom and intelligence to the table, neither can the poor and the weak bring their condition either!  The gifts that God has given to men aren’t of any influence in having faith; and neither is the ignorance of the poor!  It’s by His Good Pleasure!  But He has, from all eternity, chosen the weak and the foolish things to confound all glorying in the flesh!  God has chosen to do it that way because it was His pleasure to will it that way.  And no flesh can boast of anything - neither riches or power or wisdom, nor poverty and ignorance and disease!

Again, those things are indicative, they signify the state of mourning and the poverty of spirit to which men must be submitted in order to share the sufferings of Christ and receive His perfections!  It’s the humility of realizing our own hopeless and damnable condition, and then fleeing to the body of the Lord Jesus Christ!  And those are the ones to whom The Father, in His eternal good pleasure, reveals all these glorious things about the coming of the God-Man and His mighty Kingdom!

And then in verse twenty-seven, the Lord Jesus goes even further in destroying all haughty wisdom and all self-centeredness, and all those who pursue other means for sanctification other than God’s Word.  And it’s to this verse Martin Luther adds these words:  “Here the bottom falls out of all merit, all powers and abilities of reason, or the free will men dream of, and it all counts nothing before God; Christ must do and must give everything!”

“It was all handed over to Me by My Father,” says Jesus in verse twenty-seven, “and no one intimately knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone intimately know the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son may be willing to reveal Him.”

First, in verse twenty-five, Jesus says that the Church proceeds from the secret source of the “good pleasure” or God’s will.  Now, here in verse twenty-seven, He shows in what manner the grace comes to men.  All men are in the same condition, and none know God and none know Christ.  The Son and the Father know each other penetratingly, intimately.  All the others are excluded - except those Jesus is willing to reveal the Father!  And those are the “little ones” - called so many times, the “children” - meaning those who see their depravity and their inability to know God and to access His grace!

And that’s the backdrop for Christ’s command for men to come to Him.  We’ll talk more about this next Lord’s Day.  For all things have been delivered over to Him - ALL THINGS!  Earth, heaven, hell; men, angels (both good and fallen); time, death and eternity.  All things.  Salvation and damnation, grace and judgment, life and death.  All things.  Truth, righteousness, glory, peace and joy, consolation and refreshing, rest and hope, deliverance from sin, victory in temptation, overcoming the world order, communion with God, the love of God, life in God.  All things have been delivered over to Him.  He is the Mighty God in Whom exists all the virtues of God, and He is the possessor and executor of all creation and history.  He is the Prince of life and the captain of our salvation.  He is the King and the mighty Warrior Who submits the world to Himself, and Who will not fail to subdue it all to the glory of His Father.

And no man knows the Father or His Son unless the Son reveals it to Him.

And how the proud rage against Him when they hear that - the wise and intelligent ones who bring other things to the table to feast upon the grace of God.  They direct their fury against the Christ Who commands all men to come to Him in poverty of spirit.  You can’t bring anything, He says.  All things have been given to Me.  I supply everything!  Men hate that!  Jesus says, “I reveal My Father to whom I will.”  And you don’t know Him and you don’t know Me.  And there’s nothing you can do to obtain knowledge of us, and there’s nothing you can do to obtain grace!  Men despise that.

But who is it that can say that the “good pleasure” of God isn’t good?  Who is it that dares suggest a better plan?  All who will not come to Christ in abject poverty of spirit are full of haughtiness and puffed up with pride and a sense of self-worth.  Don’t let that be the case with you.

Next Lord’s Day - the Command for you to come to Jesus - verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty.