Simplicity in the Gospel

Matthew 11:25-26 – 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.

Just after telling people that they are in deep trouble with God for not responding to the revelation of God they have been given, Jesus speaks aloud a prayer to his Father, a prayer of gratitude. He is thankful for the fact that God, the Lord over all, has done two things.

First, God has hidden the truth of the gospel from the smartest of the smart. Second, God has made the gospel available to people with childlike minds. And the Savior tells us that this glorifies God.

Jesus thanks the Father that he has hidden the truths of the gospel from the wise and understanding. Something about the ones that the world thinks are the best and brightest goes against the gospel message. The Christian faith is not for the super-smart, self-sufficient scholarly types. For God’s own reasons, those who are most praised for their brains in this world are the least likely to be the ones who come to faith.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21 – 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.

Similarly, we know that the most successful, the rich and the famous, have always been among the slowest to believe.

Matthew 19:23-26 – 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Why is all this so? Is it because there is something inherently wrong with Christianity so that it only draws the uneducated, the foolish, the outcast? No, the faith is not dumb. But the wisdom that the world celebrates and the success that the world seeks after is going in an opposite direction of the truth of God. It is when we think we are smartest that we are making our gravest mistakes. It is when we think we are strongest that we are in most danger of falling.

Instead of making the gospel only for the extra bright and super successful, God has given the gospel to little children. God has made the plan of salvation gloriously uncomplicated. You do not need a PhD to grasp it. You do not need some sort of special secret knowledge to believe it. You do not need to be of the wealthy, ruling class to get into the kingdom of God. No, God has sent salvation to the simple, because this is the most glorifying thing he could have done.

Let us be a people who thank God and praise him for his choice. He glorifies himself in a sweet, kind way. He does not focus his grace only on the strong and powerful. He focuses his grace on weak ones like me. Only a God secure in his own glory and power and position could do such a thing. And we should be truly grateful.

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