(J C Ryle - 1856)
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 25-30)
There are few passages in the four Gospels more important than this. There are few which contain, in so short a compass, so many precious truths. May God give us an eye to see, and a heart to feel their value!
Let us learn, in the first place, the excellence of a childlike and teachable frame of mind. Our Lord says to His Father, “thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
It is not for us to attempt to explain why some receive and believe the Gospel, while others do not. The sovereignty of God in this matter is a deep mystery – we cannot fathom it. But one thing, at all events, stands out in Scripture, as a great practical truth to be had in everlasting remembrance. Those from whom the Gospel is hidden are generally “the wise” in their own eyes, and “prudent” in their own sight. Those to whom the Gospel is revealed are generally humble, simpleminded, and willing to learn. The words of Mary are continually being fulfilled, “He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away” (Lk. 1: 53).
Let us watch against PRIDE in every shape – pride of intellect, pride of wealth, pride in our own goodness, pride in our own deserts. Nothing is so likely to keep a man out of heaven, and prevent him seeing Christ, as pride. So long as we think we are something, we shall never be saved.
Let us pray for and cultivate humility. Let us seek to know ourselves aright, and to find out our place in the sight of a holy God. The beginning of the way to heaven, is to feel that we are in the way to hell, and to be willing to be taught of the Spirit. One of the first steps in saving Christianity is to be able to say with Saul, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9: 6). There is hardly a sentence of our Lord’s so frequently repeated as this, “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk. 18:14.)
Let us learn, in the second place, from these verses, the greatness and majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ. The language of our Lord on this subject is deep and wonderful. He says, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him..” We may truly say, as we read these words, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” (Ps. 139: 6).
We see something of the perfect union which exists between the first and second Persons of the Trinity. We see something of the immeasurable superiority of the Lord Jesus to all who are nothing more than men. But still, when we have said all this, we must confess that there are heights and depths in this verse, which are beyond our feeble comprehension. We can only admire them in the spirit of little children. But the half of them, we must feel, remains untold.
Let us, however, draw from these words the great practical truth, that all power and authority, in everything that concerns our soul’s interests, is placed in our Lord Jesus Christ’s hands – “All things are delivered unto me.” He bears the keys – to Him we must go for admission into heaven. He is the Door – through Him we must enter. He is the Shepherd – we must hear His voice, and follow Him, if we would not perish in the wilderness. He is the Physician – we must apply to Him, if we would be healed of the plague of sin. He is the Bread of life – we must feed on Him, if we would have our souls satisfied. He is the Light – we must walk after Him, if we would not wander in darkness. He is the Fountain – we must wash in His blood, if we would be cleansed, and made ready for the great day of account. Blessed and glorious are these truths! If we have Christ, we have all things (I Cor. 3: 22).
(… to be concluded)