Pastor Bruce Simpkins
Renewal Community Church
Preached: May 2, 2010
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
Jesus understood that the Father had hidden the truth of who He was from the wise and intelligent. He reveals Himself to childlike people (not childish, childlike). When I was a young man, working as a computer programmer, there was an older woman in our department who had a master’s degree in computer science and was well on her way toward getting a PHD. We only had a very casual acquaintance until we were at lunch one day when she had a seizure. I had actually had some experience with someone who had seizures before, so I stayed with her while someone called for help. It was the first time she had a seizure and she said at the end of she could hear me reassuring people that she would be okay and it made her feel better that I was there for her. After that she came by my office often and we got to know each other a little better. Then, one day she burst into my office with real anger in her eyes. She said someone had told her that I believed the Bible was inerrant. When I confirmed that I did she narrowed her eyes and said, “I am so ashamed of you . . .”! And that was the last time we ever talked. The intellectual circles that she lived in could not accept anyone who depends on a faith outside of themselves . . . the ultimate in self centeredness.
Jesus said our Father in Heaven had hidden Himself to the wise and intelligent and revealed it to little children. But at the time, I had a hard time praising the Father for that truth. But Jesus knew exactly what it was like for me, because He had the same thing happen only worse.
Look at the verses JUST BEFORE His prayer:
Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Now, you may have never thought about this before, but during Jesus ministry, He was very misunderstood by pretty much everyone . . . the religious leaders, His own people, and even His own disciples at times misunderstood Jesus. One of the most surprising people who misunderstood Jesus was John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was the first to say “Look, there is the Lamb of God”. He was there at the Baptism and saw the pneuma Holy Spirit descend like a dove heard God speak that this was His Son in whom He was well pleased. John said, “He must increase and I must decrease”.
You would think he really got it. But if we go back a few more verses to verse 2 and 3, we see that after being in prison for a while, he began to second guess his understanding of who Jesus was. He got reports of Jesus progress, but sends his disciples to confirm what he had preached. He asked in Matt 11:3 Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?
And Jesus didn’t just say, “yes”. He sent evidence back that showed He was the one as if to say, “John, nothing has changed. I am still doing the work I was called to do. It may not look like you thought it would look, but my actions reveal the truth”.
Why would John question Jesus after all he had preached about Him? Well, John shouted and preached the fear of God to people. And his popularity grew. Large crowds came to hear him and many, many people repented and were baptized. That’s how he got his name. He probably assumed Jesus would just pick up where he left off and the crowds would flock even more to Jesus and there would be an uprising and they would overthrow the Roman government.
But Jesus didn’t do it like that. He just wandered through small villages and lived a relatively inconspicuous life. Even Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead got more press than Jesus did Himself. Jesus did not live an extreme life like John did. Jesus said that John was criticized as a wild man who had a demon because he only ate locust and honey and never drank wine. But Jesus was criticized because He ate and drank like regular people so they said He was a glutton and drunkard. There is no way to please the legalists. But Jesus said in verse 19, wisdom is proved right by her actions. Wisdom is a wisdom does. The opposite of what Forrest Gump said, “stupid is a stupid does”. They are both true.
So John and Jesus could not be more different. John preached the fear of God but Jesus preached the love of God. And John reveals by his question that he has misunderstood how Jesus was going establish His Kingdom. He may have understood WHO Jesus was, but not WHAT He was going to do.
And if John didn’t understand, who could understand? Only the humble, and the weak, and the ones with heavy burdens. Verse 28 reveals who could understand. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
But apparently the regular everyday people completely misunderstood Jesus too. There were three main villages where Jesus did most of His work (SEE MAP). Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Korazin. These three villages are known as the “Evangelical Triangle”. Each one was only about 5 miles apart. But even though this is where Jesus did the majority of His miracles, the people simply ignored Him. They didn’t try to kill Him or argue with Him . . . they just watched and then went about their everyday lives without understanding their need to repent.
They probably didn’t think they needed to repent of anything. They lived a relatively happy life. They had no clue about the extent of their sins. So Jesus issues His warning of woe to them. He said that even the worst of the worst Old Testament cities were not as bad off as they were.
At least the worst of the worst KNEW they were sinners. There was a chance that they might repent. But these apathetic people wouldn’t face that they were sinners and so there was no hope of repentance, because they didn’t think there was anything to repent of!
Jesus is saying that apathetic indifference is worse than any other sin. But they would not repent and turn to the savior.
You know, if I was in Jesus sandals, I think this would discourage me. Everyone was misunderstanding Him except a few humble people. If I was in Jesus sandals, I would probably fall on my knees and before the Father and cry out, “why? Oh God, I have worked hard for you and done miracles for you but there is very little fruit. Only and handful of people are repenting.” And I would probably start comparing, “Look at John . . . the crowds came to him . . . maybe I should change my message from the love of God to the fear of God? That seems to be a more effective message!”
But Jesus did not respond in a human way. He responded perfectly. His purpose was to plant seeds, not to harvest. He did not get discouraged at all. In fact, He prayed “I praise You Father for hiding it from the wise and intelligent . . . it was your good pleasure to do this”. He was satisfied because God’s will was being done on earth as it is in Heaven . . . without question and without regrets. It was God’s good pleasure to use the humble and the weak as His instruments. By using the weak, He puts the wise and self centered people to shame.
1 Cor 1:27-31
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
2 Cor 11:30
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness .
2 Cor 12:9-10
he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness .” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This prayer of Jesus supports what Paul was teaching. This prayer of Jesus teaches us to follow His example and Praise the Father when we have done His work and we do NOT see things turn out the way we thought they would. God takes pleasure is our weakness. God rewards us when we try and fail. When everyone sees us as weak, then He gets the glory. People will say, “there is no way that person could have accomplished what happened . . . it must be God”.
So, I praise our Father in Heaven today because what is happening in my life, is exactly His will. And whatever is happening in your life is exactly His will too.
Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose .
Just like Jesus, we may not see the results of what we do in our life time, but God will bring about the good all in His good time. Everyone wants to be a part of the harvest, but the really faithful servants are more about planting and watering than harvesting. Planting and watering is not very glamorous. Yes, some people are called to harvest, but some are called to cast seed. We have done our work for Him, and so we can satisfied to know that God will do what ever He wants, whenever He wants. He may choose to prosper us, or may even allow us to be crucified. But either way, I praise the Father that His will is being done on earth as it is in Heaven.
I want to reiterate though, that through it all, constant prayer is the key. Jesus never gave up praying no matter what. Paul never gave up praying no matter what. But if we give up praying and go back to our regular everyday lives and do not let Jesus renew us and transform us daily, that is when we are at risk of being like the villages of woe Jesus spoke about.
It is our purpose then to have the simple faith of a child so He will be revealed in our lives. There is a song that Cathy and I would like to sing that speaks about this truth. The words will be on the screen as we sing it so you can follow the thought.
Faith is like a child.
If you are a functioning part of Northview Community Church, remember to put a Lego block on our church model on your way out.
1 Peter 2:4-5
4 As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones , are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Peter says we are like living stones being built into a spiritual house. Here at Northview, we are going to modify the analogy to be like Living Lego’s. We have a Lego model of our church that I will put in the back. If you are a functioning part of Northview Community Church, we would like you to write your name on a Lego block and add it to our church model. Put it anywhere you want in any direction. Over time, it will be interesting to see how God develops it.
As we go to our God Sightings, does anyone have an inspiration to share that came from your prayer times this week?