At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’
Jesus’ response to the return of the Seventy, joyful with the success of their mission, is to offer thanks to his Father. He expresses specific gratitude that revelation of the manifestation of the Kingdom has been given not to those who might be expected to receive it, ‘the wise and the intelligent’ but rather to the ‘infants.’ The language is reminiscent of the ‘wise’ and ‘foolish’ in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, where those who understand the message of the cross are not deemed wise by worldly standards.
Further, the Son, entrusted with all things, chooses with whom he will share his intimate knowledge of the Father. As he turns to the disciples, telling them how blessed they are to have witnessed the dawn of salvation, their privileged status as recipients of revelation is emphasised by his comment that prophets and kings longed to have witnessed what they had seen and heard. Again, as in the contrast between the ‘wise and intelligent’ and the ‘infants,’ we are reminded of the topsy-turvy upside-down world of the kingdom.
We welcome the revelation to the deeply ordinary. We celebrate that it’s those who make no claim to be wise or qualified who have insight that the Kingdom has come. But a cautionary note: let us take care if we think we understand the nature of the ‘infants’ that we don’t set boundaries around who might be included according to our own flawed knowledge.
Heavenly Father, may we be child-like in opening ourselves to the mysteries of your Kingdom, in accepting that there is much we can never understand, in joyfully receiving what you choose to reveal. And, like children may we delight in telling others of your abundant gifts and blessings to us. Amen.
The Revd. Dr. Gillian Poucher, Minister, Gainsborough URC