25 At 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; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 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.
28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus prays, “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. Yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will.”
Hang on there, Jesus. What’s all this talk about God hiding things from the wise and understanding? I thought God wanted all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. What does God have against the wise and understanding?
Well, there are two kinds of wisdom – according-to-the-world wisdom and according-to-God wisdom. According the world, the wise are those who have it all figured out. An answer for every question. And it isn’t that God doesn’t love the according-to-the-world wise; it’s that they don’t want God or His love and mercy because the don’t want to need His mercy. Those who are wise according to the world want to be above God and not below Him.
The other kind of wisdom – the according-to-God wisdom – is to fear, love, and trust in God above all things. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10).
So, Jesus’ prayer which opens this text is speaking against the according-to-the-world wisdom. “Thank You, Father, for hiding the treasures of Your kingdom from those who don’t think there are any treasure to be found. Thank You for hiding Your mercy from those who would rather crawl their way back to You than receive Your mercy. And thank You, Father, for hiding Your wisdom under the foolishness of the cross (1 Cor. 1:21-24). Thank You for hiding Your strength under weakness and Your victory under defeat. Thank You for revealing these things to little children.”
Little children. Jesus said that unless you become like one of them, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (Mk. 10:15). These “little children” are those who receive, trust, and depend – all characteristics that we are supposed to grow out of. And in this world, we should become independent, productive members of society. But none of us ever grow out of our need for God’s love and mercy.
As long as we are in this world, we are sinners. And, unlike wine and certain kinds of cheese, sinners don’t get better with age. That is what Paul was getting at in our epistle text (Ro. 7:14-25).
Paul tells his sad story. He is a man who truly wants to do good. He knows what is right, and he earnestly and honestly wants to do it. But he can’t. He always fails. He delights in God’s Law, but he also recognizes that he is a total, complete, abject sinner. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Does he give up? No.
Instead, Paul knows the wisdom of God, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! He has redeemed me. He has shed His blood and died on the cross for me.”
Blake, today you are baptized. Today, you are born again. Today, Jesus has chosen to reveal Himself to you. Stay childlike before God. Stay totally, completely, wholly dependent upon your Heavenly Father.
Blake, by the grace of God as you grow, you will learn many things. You will learn to crawl, stand, walk, and eat on your own. You will learn to ride a bike, read, and drive a car. Your life will be filled with assignments, deadlines, and all sorts of other pressures. You will learn how to be a productive member of society. And by God’s grace, you will become an independent, smart woman like your mother, your aunts, and your grandmother.
But don’t ever be fooled into thinking that you outgrow your dependence upon God.
Blake, and all you believers here today. You never outgrow your need for the love, mercy, and provision of God.
So, when you feel the weight of the world, don’t be afraid to recognize that you bear those burdens because of your sin. After the Fall, God said by the sweat of your brow that you would eat. Confess that it is because of sin that life is hard.
But then, hear Jesus’ constant invitation. “Come to Me all you who labor 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. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
The Christian life is work. But always remember who is carrying the load. Jesus says, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.” Jesus bears every load, every weight, every burden.
Luther says that it is like a mule pulling a cart with a flea on its nose, and the flea pulls with all its might. Jesus bears the heavy load and lets you walk with Him as He carries you. Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light because He bears the weight – not you. Jesus does the heavy lifting. And in Him – only in Him – you find the rest that you seek.
May this mystery be revealed to each of you here, for this is the Father’s gracious will. Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.