Being Babies

You probably don’t know my father like I do. And how could you? You didn’t grow up with him training you; playing; laughing; crying. And now, even if you were able to go sit with my father, you wouldn’t be able to get to know him. He would tell you stories of growing up – maybe – on a good day. But he most likely couldn’t share his understanding of God with you. And even if he could, he would never respond to you as he did to those of us who are blessed to be called his children. You will never have him try so desperately to get you to understand why you are being punished. You will never experience the delight of playing football in a tiny trailer home hallway. You will never capture a glimpse of his frail heart because your own selfishness broke it. You will never sit the whole day with him joyfully catching nothing but perch. You can only grasp an idea of my father, as a father, through what his children reveal. And quite frankly, there are some that I choose not to reveal my father to. It would be a waste of time.

              Luke 10:21-24 wraps up the section dealing with the Seventy who had been sent out by Jesus. They came back rejoicing over their success; their authority over demons in the name of Jesus. Jesus interpreted this event as the fall of Satan from heaven. The kingdom of God authority trumps Satan authority. So, in that hour Jesus was overjoyed. This is a strong word implying extreme joy. Did Jesus do a fist pump – or whatever the first century Jewish equivalent would have been? And this over the top rejoicing is in the Holy Spirit. Remember, this is about Kingdom of God victory. So, in the midst of his joy, he bursts out in prayer. There just may be a lesson lurking here. Prayer is not just for desperate situations; cries of despair; pleas for help. Prayer is about communicating with God – pain and joy and everything in between. Exuberant praise is appropriate.

              Jesus begins his prayer with “I praise.” The word is a strengthened form of the word “confess, openly proclaim, agree, speak the same.” Jesus may be joyfully saying “You were right! I agree!” And he is in agreement with the Father, the master of heaven and earth. The Father is sovereign – master of everything. And what did the Father do, that Jesus is joyfully confessing? He kept secret these things – kingdom of God things – from the wise and intelligent. He refused to reveal his plan; his Kingdom language, to those who would have been too smart for the message. And instead he uncovered the whole thing to babies. In the OT, it is often those who are simple minded who are lifted up. They are the ones who are willing to learn; who know they have much to learn. People who have already made up their mind about who God is, will not hear God proclaim who he is. So, the Father is delighted to reveal the Kingdom to babies; babies who listen; babies who don’t argue fine points of theology with God.

              The second part of Jesus’ prayer (v. 22) is didactic. Yes, you can teach while you talk to God. All things have been handed over to Jesus. In this context, Jesus is most likely referring to all understanding of who God is. The relationship between God and Jesus is close. No one really knows who Jesus is except the Father. And no one really knows who the Father is except Jesus. But the whole point of this teaching prayer is not relationship. The point is shared relationship. You can know the Father through Jesus. And knowing here probably refers to knowing his will; his purpose. You know, Kingdom stuff.

              Jesus finished his prayer and then turns and utters a blessing upon his disciples. Happy or fortunate are the eyes that see what you see. This is not about mystic sight. Well, not mostly, anyway. The disciples were blessed to be able to see what the prophets (God’s spirit filled proclaimers) and kings (God’s representation of authority) desired to see. They were given glimpses, but the disciples witnessed the coming of the Kingdom in the life, actions, and teachings of Jesus. Not only that, they were given authority to participate in Kingdom activity that began the overthrow of Satan. They hear and see the Kingdom busting into reality. In other words, they hear and see Jesus working Kingdom.               You can only know about the Father through the Son. Good news! Jesus reveals what you need to know. But if you choose to rely on your own wisdom, you will not even be given the option to see the message; the Kingdom. Isn’t it ironic that people think they know more about the Father than the Son? It would be a waste of effort to uncover the Kingdom to the wise and the intelligent. They are too busy being wise. Jesus chooses to reveal the Father to babies. So, baby it up and learn about the Father. Peace.