Truth Taught- Jesus is thankful for God’s Sovereignty in all things
Let’s set the context of this passage. Jesus has just welcomed the Apostles back from their missionary trip where they have shared the Gospel with many. While they were gone, Jesus was also sharing the Gospel with others. He was engaged in His ministry of preaching and healing. What Jesus experienced was a massive rejection. The Gospel He preached and the Gospel the Apostles preached for the most part was rejected. Jesus has just set His curse on the cities that rejected the Gospel’s call to repent. What we are confronted with in that section is Jesus’ authority to curse the souls of all who reject Him and His message. He did that in the previous passage.
So, Jesus and His message have been rejected, the disciple’s message has been rejected. The woe curses have been pronounced. Then our Lord does something that is so profound that it should teach us about God’s sovereignty and our reaction to it.
Matthew 11:25–30 (ESV)
25 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; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 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. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
1. The Father’s Sovereignty in Salvation
25 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; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
So, Jesus has just experienced the reality of what He calls this generation’s rejection of His message. They wanted all the freebees without the commitment and love to Him. Night and day He preached and healed and suffered so much rejection and hardheartedness.
What is Jesus’ response to this lack of repentance? He begins to pray to the Father and thanks Him. It’s a prayer of thanksgiving!! Jesus is not discouraged because He is resting in God’s sovereignty in this and every other situation.
He thanks God for the situation. This is a prayer of praise in the midst of potential disappointment. Jesus never ever sinned so He was never depressed. This, however, is wonderful example for us when we are discouraged and perhaps depressed. Praise God and give thanks rather than being turned inward and being discouraged.
We are called to give thanks in all situations. When is the last time you experienced suffering and sadness and gave God thanks for it?
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Philippians 4:6 (ESV)
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Colossians 4:2 (ESV)
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Ephesians 5:20 (ESV)
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
What did Jesus give thanks for? What should we give God thanks for?
He thanked God for His sovereignty in salvation and in all things. “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Jesus is acknowledging the truth that God the Father is Lord of heaven and earth. He is the ultimate Master over all His creation. He is Lord and sovereign over all history, all the present, and all the future. So, whatever happened and whatever the response was when Jesus preached the Gospel was completely in God’s control. Jesus knew this and thanked God for what His Father did. Every event, Jesus knew was in God’s hands and our Lord was thankful for this and for God’s outcome.
Beloved, we too must work toward this kind of response to events in our lives. Thankfulness in the midst of disappointment and trials show that God is most important and to be trusted. Whatever God does is right, even if it is the death of the wicked.
Jesus was rejected when He preached to those who were proud and self-righteous. They rejected Him. Then something surprising happened. When He preached to the poor and humble God moved. Jesus says,
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;
Notice, Jesus thanks God for two specific things…First, that He hid the Gospel from some and revealed it to others. He thanked God for no response, for no understanding and for no conviction of sin. Then, in an amazing God wrought work the humble and simple people saw their sin and their need to be forgiven and they responded in repentance and faith.
Matthew 19:14 (ESV)
14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
1 Corinthians 1:18–21 (ESV)
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
These events were exactly what God had planned and they were carried out exactly as God designed…
Those who are self-reliant and wise in their own eyes will not receive the truth Jesus has for them while babes, those who see their dependence on God receive the truth.
26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
Learn with me that thanksgiving in God’s sovereignty is God’s antidote for darkness, sadness and depression. We are lifted above our circumstances as we thank God and acknowledge our love and trust for Him regardless what happens in this life. It is all under God’s power. Jesus gave thanks in all conditions. We are more like our Savior when we too follow His example and give thanks in all circumstances.
2. The Son’s Sovereignty in Salvation
27 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.
In verse 27 we are reminded of the Father/Son relationship between God the Father and Jesus His Son. This statement goes along with the earlier declaration of the Father…
Matthew 3:17 (ESV)
17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus also declares that All things have been given to Him by the Father. When Jesus says, all things, He is referring to all things the sinner needs. The context is salvation and repentance. Jesus has been given authority over everything which includes the salvation of sinners.
Because salvation is knowing God,
John 17:3 (ESV)
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Since salvation and eternal life revolve around knowing God the Father and knowing Jesus the Son and since only the Father knows the Son and only the Son knows the Father then we are dependent on Jesus the Son showing us the Father.
and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son
We see here the love The Father has for the Son. This is the type of intimate knowledge that the Trinity shares. The Godhead has perfect love and fellowship. The Godhead has perfect knowledge of their person and being. No one knows the Son in a personal way except the Father and no one knows the Father in a personal way except the Son.
It has been made clear that Jesus possesses all authority. He has authority over Satan. We saw that during the temptation event. He has authority over demons. We saw that as our Lord has multiple times cast out demons with simply a word. Jesus has authority over sickness, disease; even leprosy and we also saw that in Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus’ authority is seen when He calms the storm at sea and commands the wind and waves. He has the authority to forgive sin and we saw that as well. Jesus has the authority to raise the dead. He has all authority over salvation as well.
Eternal life is knowing God then Jesus must give us the knowledge of God we need and He alone knows the Father. Jesus makes this truth known…
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.
In this verse we see how vital Jesus is to knowing God. He is the key. Without the Son’s revelation of the Father, we would never know God.
John 10:27–30 (ESV)
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
The thrust of our text is that Jesus has all authority. The Father has given it to Him. He has authority over those who will be saved. All who will be saved are, in fact, all those the Father has given to Jesus. All who the Father gives the Son will be saved and this is the sovereignty of God that Jesus takes comfort in.
So, we have seen the authority and sovereignty of God the Father and Jesus the Son over all things including salvation of sinners. We’ve seen the fact that eternal life is knowing God and only the Son knows the Father. Because this is true, it takes the Son, as it were, to introduce sinners to the Father in a saving way. Now with that in mind lets move to…
3. The Radical Call to Come to Jesus for Salvation
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Do you see here that Jesus knows He is the only Person to introduce us to God. He knows His sheep will hear His voice and respond.
So confident is Jesus of His Father’s will that He makes us some promises when we come to Him.
– Jesus promises spiritual rest.
Here He is not speaking of people being tired from over working or exhaustion. He is speaking of spiritual rest from the burden of sin.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Do you see what a radical invitation this is? Jesus is the only person that can give the sinner spiritual rest and He knows this is true and calls out to all to come to Him. Many will come, all in fact who are His but not all people will come. The fact remains Jesus is offering us a lifting of the burden of sin that we carry that is so heavy. Jesus calls out, come to Me!! I Am the answer. I Am the way. I alone know the Father and I can introduce you to Him and no one can pluck you from My hand.
Once our heavy sin burden is removed then Jesus will enlist us into His service…
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.
Jesus’ call is the call to discipleship, to commitment to Him. He removes the heavy sin yoke and place upon us His yoke of service.
Our Lord then reveals Himself to us…so that we will know Him and the Father. What does He say?
for I am gentle and lowly in heart.
As our Master and Lord, Jesus is not hard to serve. He reveals to us His innermost traits. He is gentle and humble down to His very core…His heart. Jesus loves all who come to Him by faith. He is not too demanding and a hard taskmaster. He’s gentle and humble. He deals with us gently and in great humility. What a Savior we have! As we repent He is gentle not harsh, not Lording our sins over us, but humble and gentle.
Jesus makes another radical claim. He promises as we serve Him we will find rest for our souls. You will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
So confidant is Jesus in this call to come to Him, He’s already telling us how everything will be. Our sins will be forgiven, our spiritual burden lifted, we will know God the Father and God the Son, our burden will be removed, we will know Jesus and experience His gentleness and humility, we will discover that in serving Him rather than being tired, our spirits will find rest.
We’ve learned that Jesus is happy and thankful for God’s sovereignty in all things. I pray we would learn to be happy in God’s sovereignty in all things for us.
Even when many did not respond to the Gospel Jesus gave thanks for those who did.
Are you thankful for God’s sovereignty in your life? Can you give thanks in all situations? What do you need to do in order to begin this godly Christlike perception of your circumstances?
We talk a lot here about God’s sovereignty. It’s one thing to acknowledge it as true it’s an entirely different thing to be thankful for it in all things.
In the midst of these great declarations of sovereignty and authority, Jesus gives the tender call to come to Him and find rest for your souls. We see Jesus’ invitation to come to Him and He will show you the Father, give you eternal life, and give you spiritual rest and peace.
Do you know Jesus? Do you know the Father?
Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary
A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles
A Gospel of Matthew by France
Matthew by Craig Bloomberg
Matthew by Doriani
Matthew by Charles Price
Matthew by Leon Morris
Blue Letter Bible