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; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 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. Come to me, all 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.”
Understanding And Applying the Text
Jesus thanked the Father. But what was it Jesus thanked the Father for? Jesus thanked the Father for hiding the Gospel from one group and revealing it to another.
I am unaware of any Christian who denies God’s sovereignty, explicitly. But they deny it implicitly. They deny chooses whomsoever He wills. They deny God reveals His truth to some and hide it from others. Christ not only affirms that truth but thanks the Father for it. Bestowing grace is at the Father’s prerogative.
The doctrine of election is a hot topic. Many deny it. Yet Christ praises the Father for revealing the gospel to one group and hiding it from another. That is the doctrine of election in a nutshell.
I have discussed the doctrine of election with friends. The idea that God inhibits some from coming to faith in anathema to them. They claim the doctrine makes God a monster. But Christ thanked the Father for it.
Christ removed every pretense for a man doing anything to cause his salvation. That even includes our own beliefs or faith. Even our faith is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) But many turn faith into a work. They limit Christ’s work to the quality or quantity of our faith. How many times have you heard, “You need to have more faith.” Or, “You need a stronger faith.”
We have difficulty with God’s will when it does not conform to our desires. We complain and some even break out into open blasphemy. Many are furious with Christ when they learn God chooses some while reprobated. They blaspheme because they find it unpleasant to yield to God.
Why? Because we are confused. There are several points we confuse. First, we do not understand justice. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is being given what we do not deserve. Instead, We think everything must be equal for it to be just. But, God can show grace to some and not to all. God may grant mercy on whomever He chooses. (Exodus 33:19 Romans 9:15) The fact He grants mercy to one does not mean He must grant mercy to all. Yes, it is not equal. But it is not unjust. Some get justice. Others get mercy.
The second point of confusion is, we do not understand goodness. We define good and that which benefits us. God created man for His glory. God is not obligated to serve us. Nor is He required to act in our best interest. For it to be equal everyone deserves the opportunity come to God. But the fact is none of us deserve the love, mercy, or grace from a holy God. God is holy we are not. Justice would allow God to destroy us all. It is only God’s mercy and grace that saves any of us.
Third, we do not believe we need divine intervention to accept the Gospel. The idea is we repent then God regenerates us. But here Christ makes clear no one can know God by worldly wisdom and learning (1 Cor. 1:26–31). First, God must reveal the truth to us. (John 3:3) He must regenerate us before can repent because our sinful nature will not allow us to repent.
Why does the Father hide the Kingdom of Heaven from one group? Why did He reveal it to another group? Was it because one group was more deserving than the other? No, it was because of the Father’s gracious will. He will provide mercy on those He chooses to give His mercy. (Exodus 33:19 Romans 9:15). It is God’s right and prerogative.
The Father has given everything to Jesus. No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son decides to reveal the Father. But how does this statement relate to the preceding statement? Christ thanked the Father for His free election. Now Christ shows how God’s grace comes to us. If God has chosen before the foundation of the world, (Ephesians 1:4) how can we know we are in the elect? How are we assured of God’s secret purpose? Christ tells us to come to him. Christ said the Father gave Christ sovereignty over the elect. He alone knows the Father. Jesus’ knowledge is equal to the Father’s. It is through Him we have certainty. Our faith does not save us. It is Christ who saves. Our salvation was always hidden by God. Yet Christ is the channel through which God’s grace and mercy flow.
So Christ invites us to himself. His burden is light. Because Christ has done it all. Those trying to save themselves by their works are under a heavy burden. Those trying to save themselves by their own faith. Are under a heavy load. How much is enough? How strong is strong enough? We never know. We can only rest in Christ’s assurance. We are indeed saved by works. But they are Christ works. We have no burden Christ has done it all. Could any burden be lighter? I think not. Christianity is not a DIY (do it yourself) religion. That is because Christ has DFY (Done For You)