Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost: Getting To Know Your God
In the Gospel readings for today we read:
21 In that same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Ghost, and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little babies. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight.
22 All things are delivered to me by my Father; and no one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and to whom the Son will reveal him.
23 And turning to his disciples, he said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see.
24 For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.
In the New Testament we see that Jesus first went through Israel, preaching and teaching and healing. Then, when His first 12 foundational disciples were trained, he sent them out and “he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. and preach, to the people saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:1,7) Then He expanded that group of 12, and sent 70 on a similar mission – to “heal the sick that are therein, and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” (Luke 10:9)
We see in Numbers 11:16-30, that God, In response to Moses's prayer for help, appoints seventy elders, and God "takes of the spirit which was upon Moses, and he put it upon them; so that they could bear the burden of the people with him, and so that Moses did not have to bear it alone." Later, the Jews had a Jewish court system which was called the Sanhedrin.
The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme religious body in the Land of Israel during the time of the Holy Temple. Israel’s ruling body, the Sanhedrin, had 71 leaders, One being the High Priest the High Priest which made 71. These 70 that Jesus ( our high priest) sent out formed the new and legitimate leadership of the faithful remnant of Israel that excepted Jesus as the Messiah. This new Sanhedrin of 70 – this new and authentic leadership of the faithful remnant of Israel, was not composed of the leading rabbis and sages and priests among the nation of Israel. It was not made up of the leading political and religious men, and the wealthy and powerful. These 70 men that Jesus sent out were ordinary men – but men who were extraordinary because they had the faith to respond to the Messiah when they heard about Him, and then begin to faithfully follow Him.
It is far better to have an ordinary man or woman with faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ, Gods Son and the Scriptures than a great scholar without it!
In a fallen world that is demonically control and is opposed to God and the Messiah and wrongly suppresses the truth; in a world where many rise to the top of the power structures and gain influence and wealth through pride and arrogance and by abusing power and cutting moral and ethical corners, it is a great thing to know that it is simple, humble followers of Jesus Christ, men and women whom the world ignores, even rejects, who are chosen by God.
In verse 21 Matthew says, “In that same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Ghost”. Jesus who was called by the angels Immanuel, “God with us”, was really close to God the Father. And God the Father was really close to Him. The Spirit of God was directing Jesus's thoughts along these lines, and the Spirit of God was affecting Jesus's emotional state and enabling Him to be joyful because of how God orders or arranges things when it comes to the world of men.
Again in verse 21 Jesus says, “I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little babies. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight.” And what is it that the Father had hidden from the wise and prudent and had revealed to “little babies”? Luke 10:22 gives the answer, “No one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son” So, what God the Father must reveal is the true spiritual identity of Himself and the true spiritual identity of His Son.
Why was hiding these two things very pleasing to God the Father, and why did it make the Son of God rejoice? When the seventy disciples return from their mission and gave their report to Jesus, he and the Holy Spirit rejoiced that God the Father had chosen, according to his own good pleasure — his own rejoicing — to reveal the Son to babes and to hide the Son from the Wise and prudent ones of this world.
The point of this is not that there are only certain classes of people who are chosen by God. The point is that God is free to choose the least likely candidates for his grace.
The Son of God tells us that this was well-pleasing to His Father because Jesus knew that it is God’s plan to humble the proud and honor the humble; to raise up the righteous afflicted ones and lower the faithless arrogant ones. So, you had better humble yourself if you want to participate in the enjoyable part of God’s plan!
God’s decision is to hide salvation from arrogant human beings, but reveal it to humble human beings, who end their self-will, who end their rebellion against the King of the universe, who allow God to teach them and correct them and redirect them in the ways He wants them to go. Is that you? If not, are you willing to make that you?
Understand, That the Lord God is in complete control of the salvation of the ruined and fallen sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. The Creator has the ability and the right to withhold salvation from the proud who refuse to be humbled; to deny the understanding of the truth that will save them to the arrogant who reject the truth, to the rebellious who will not end their rebellion.
God contradicts what the wise and prudent of this world might dictate. He hides from the self-sufficient and reveals to the most helpless and unaccomplished.
While the humble in heart think of God as a supernatural “Almighty” being who can do whatever “He” wants, the wise and prudent of this world teaches God has feminine and masculine qualities; operates as much like a force field as a person and needs creatures to help achieve divine aims. Since the 1960s, it’s been common for them to talk about being “co-creators” with God.
The wise and prudent of the world will say “We take the Bible seriously, but not literally.” They view the Bible as a mix of history, myth, metaphor and poetry. They have long supported independent, critical study of the Bible. They recognize scripture was written by God-inspired humans, limited by time and context. The wise and prudent of the world accept the ideal that the Bible may include mistakes.
The wise and prudent of the world don’t believe schools should teach God formed the world in six days. Instead, liberal Christians are environmentalists who have expanded Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories into a metaphysics, often called process theology or pantheism.
The wise and prudent of the world have different degrees of openness to abortion, homosexuality, prostitution, divorce, sex outside marriage and contraception, as well as to euthanasia.
For the wise and prudent of the world, Paul says in I Corinthians 1:18, that the preaching of the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness.
But later he goes onto say in I Corinthians 3:19, that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness.
And no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. The Father knows the Son – fully, perfectly, completely. The Father knows that the Son is eternal, uncreated, fully God, the One through whom the universe was made; beloved of the Father; always well-pleasing to the Father. The Father knows that the Son is the Lord and the very special Messiah and the one and only Savior of the world.
Jesus saith: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. – not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Einstein or Marx or Lenin or any political party – can help us do this! He knows the Father fully. The Son of God understand His God and His Father completely and perfectly. He knows the Father’s mind and will and heart. He knows the Father’s ways. He knows how to perfectly please the Father. He knows how to help us please the Father! He knows the way to the Father’s eternal kingdom. You want the Son to help you know the Father the way you need to know God!
Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He is the only means of salvation. He is the only way to God the Father. In verse 22, Jesus says: “All things are delivered to me .” All things mean everything and therefore there is nothing outside His control. He is preeminent over all. Saint Paul in Philippians 2 says concerning Jesus: God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
Only Jesus can save. Only Jesus has access to God the Father.
Jesus says in verse 22, “no one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and to whom the Son will reveal him.” Saint Peter said in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.” John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” Other religions may claim to offer a path to God, but only Jesus can redeem you.
But what about other religions that claim to know Jesus? Are they viable paths to salvation?
Islam, Baha’i, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses may claim to know Jesus, but a careful examination shows they are referring someone other than the Jesus of the Scriptures. Their facts are wrong. Jesus is not just a prophet as Islam would say, but a Prophet, Priest and King. Jesus is not the spirit brother of Lucifer as Mormonism teaches, but the Son of God who destroys the work of the devil. Jesus is not simply a messenger as the Baha’i would believe, but is God made flesh who dwelt among us. It is not simply good enough to know that Jesus is the means to God, but you must know the true Jesus.
We must not simply know about the true Jesus; but must know the true Jesus. There is a vast difference between knowing Jesus and knowing about Jesus.
To know Jesus is to love Him and to love Him is to serve Him. To know Jesus is to offer yourself to Him as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). To know Jesus is to say with Paul in Philippians 3:8, “I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ:” To know Jesus is to become “a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Knowing Jesus means you refuse to compare yourself to others. This frees you from the temptation to gossip about and slander them in an effort to make yourself look better. Knowing Jesus means you “Letting nothing be done through contention, neither by vain glory: but in humility, letting each esteem others better than themselves: ” (Philippians 2:3).
It is tragic to consider a person who claims to follow a Jesus that they have only heard about and never known. They say they serve Jesus, but they have no love for Him because they have never met Him. They serve Jesus in name only and quickly abandon the charade when times get difficult. Those who only know about Jesus get frustrated with Him for not helping them during their hour of need; failing to remember their refusal to trust Him during the other hours of life. Those who only know about Jesus are the ones who get angry at Him when they encounter problems. To know Jesus is to serve Him and consider Him to be worthy of your love, service, and obedience.
Examine yourself. Do you know Jesus or do you simply know about Jesus? Does your life, under examination, prove that your thoughts, words, and actions are grounded in your knowledge of Jesus? If so, “blessed are the eyes that see what you see".