After Jesus rebukes certain cities for not repenting, “cities in which most of His mighty works had been done,” Jesus breaks out in an expression of rapturous thanksgiving to God (Matt. 11:25-30). He thanks God that He has hidden “these things” (perhaps the mighty works, or more exactly, the significance of the mighty works) from the wise and prudent and “have revealed them to babes.” Only the babes see the significance of what everyone else sees. Everyone sees the sun rise, but only the babes see that God has shown mercy, granting us another day to turn to Him, enduring with great long-suffering our stupidity, selfishness and hatred of Him expressed by our hatred for one another.
It seems good in God’s sight to reveal these things only to babes.
Jesus goes on to say that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, “and those to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” And to whom does the Son will to reveal the Father? I suggest that the Son reveals the Father to the babes, the ones to whom it seems good in God’s sight to reveal these things.
Our hearts are broken by the hurt and hurting of those around us. “If only they could see!” we lament. But perhaps it is more appropriate to lament, “If only we could see.” Maybe we just want the pain to stop, the suffering to end. And like the wise and prudent of Chorazin and Bethsaida, we think we know how to stop it. We want to tell others, tell God, what to do. We labour and are heavy laden. We labour in trying to fix others, trying to figure out a better way, a way that does not hurt so much, a way to make others see what I see, what my wisdom and prudence tell me. And we are heavy laden. We carry the suffering of those we love. We carry the sense of responsibility piled upon us by our own wisdom and prudence. We are heavy laden with the secret guilt of our only semi-acknowledged complicity in the suffering of others, of everyone, of ourselves. We are burdened with the thought that salvation is just around the corner if only I work hard enough, think clearly enough, pray hard enough, say the right things, do the right things, give more, do more, eat less, strive harder. If only I….
And Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
We are the ones who must become babes. We the wise and prudent ones must come to Christ taking off the load of our own wisdom and prudence and all of the responsibilities and guilt that they have piled on us. We have to learn from Christ to be gentle and lowly, for in gentleness and lowliness is rest. This is Christ’s yoke: to be gentle and lowly, to be babes. Christ reveals the Father to babes.
We cannot change others. We cannot reveal the Father to others. We can only come to Christ ourselves, come to Christ and learn of Him gentleness and lowliness. This is our rest, our salvation, and it is the salvation of others too. I must acquire peace to be a peacemaker. I must be born again (and again and again) as a babe. Then the Light will shine, not the light of my wisdom and prudence, but the Light of Christ that reveals these things to babes.