What was common and crude to me though, was obviously resplendent to him. He picked up each one and gave me a recitation of where he had found it and explained some of its nuanced features. He had an obvious affection for each and every one of these little pieces of earth.
I cannot help but think that such is the way it is with the people of God. When we look at the church, we see nothing of real value. We see people who are poor and despised, crude by the world’s standards. But to God, they are the objects of great delight. God has placed a great deal of affection upon those things that are the weakest and most lowly in this world.
Indeed, something of that is spoken of here in our passage today. Our passage is linked to the passage that we studied last week. You remember that Jesus had sent out a mission team to extend the reach of the gospel ministry. And there was a tension in that passage—a tension that we really did not talk about. There was, on the one hand, the promise of a great harvest. There was the wonder of having your own name written in the book of life. But on the other hand, there was also the reality of hostility against Christ. The mission team was sent out as lambs among wolves. There would be those whose judgment would be worse than that of Sodom.
Our passage today picks up right there. Jesus here in this passage contemplates this wonder. In this passage he reflects on how God reveals his salvation to us.
And this morning we are going to spend some time doing the same. We are going to reflect on our salvation. And hopefully, as we do so, we will share in some of the wonder.
As we think about our salvation, the first thing we should talk about is its foundation.
I. The glory of it 
In verse 21 we see something of the glory of this salvation. 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.”
What is this verse communicating? It is telling us why some people believe and others don’t. The glory of our salvation is that it is based solely in the sovereign plan of God. It is based upon his will and his will alone.
It is not because someone is wise. The verse tells us that God actually hides it from the wise. For all their intellectual acumen, they can’t discern the way of salvation. If they could, then they would have something to glory in.
And the verse tells us that it is not because of someone’s personal competence or physical ability. It says that this salvation is revealed to “little children.” Babies! One’s that do not have any sort of power or proficiency to do anything of their own accord.
So what does this saving grace rest upon? It is due to God alone and to his will. In his all wise plan he chose to hide it from some (that is to say, he chose to pass over some people and allow them to remain blinded by sin), and he chose to reveal it to others.
J.C. Ryle puts it this way in his commentary, “Why is it that some around us are converted and others remain dead in sin, we cannot possibly explain. Why England is a Christian country and China buried in idolatry, is a problem we cannot solve. We only acknowledge that the words of our Lord Jesus Christ supply the only answer that mortal man ought to give: ‘Even so, Father, for it seemed good in thy sight.”
This is nothing other than the doctrines of election and reprobation. And I understand that these are doctrines that many people dislike. Some react to them with great displeasure [I know that I did when I first encountered it!] But it is interesting to see that while these doctrines are offensive to many people in our day, they are doctrines that cause Jesus to rejoice.
The beginning of this verse says, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.” And he said, “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” Now you don’t typically hear the Scriptures say anything about Jesus being happy and yukking it up with his disciples. Normally, he is painted as the Man of Sorrows. There are a couple places in scripture where it talks about him weeping. There are a number of places that you can point that describe him as angry and full of rage.
But when it comes to his joy, you can’t really find a lot of verses that talk about it. As a matter of fact, this is the only place in the NT where it talks about the Joy of Jesus! And the English versions actually make it sound tame. The Greek word literally means “to jump with joy!” Jesus is kicking up his heals at this!
And it should not go unnoticed that the only place in Scripture that talks about Jesus being this fired up with glee is right here—in the context of the doctrine of election and reprobation. And it should be something that causes you to do the same!
One minister was once asked why Jesus chose Judas. You can understand the reason behind the question. Judas was a vile man; a traitor! He betrayed the Lord Jesus!
The minister responded, “Actually a better question is, ‘Why did Jesus choose me.”
When you understand that, you understand the real glory of this salvation.
But as you look at this passage you shouldn’t just think of the glory of this salvation, you should hear what Jesus says about its grounding.
II. The grounding of it 
In verse 22 Jesus goes on to say that this salvation is grounded solely in him.
Look at what he says. He says, “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 choses to reveal him.”
Jesus is saying that there is no other way you can come to salvation except through him. The only way that you can have a relationship with the Father is through Jesus Christ.
Our culture will tell you that there are many ways to heaven and that all religions are basically the same. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
And Jesus explains why. He says, “No one knows the Father.” We are completely oblivious to the Father. Because we have rebelled against him and been sent away from his presence, we are not able to have a relationship with him.
But Jesus does have a relationship with him. As a matter of fact, he has a unique relationship to the Father. He is one with Him. By virtue of his Trinitarian relation, he knows the Father in a full and intimate way. And because God the Father has given him the authority to do so, Jesus is permitted to reveal the Father to whomever he wants.
That of course means that if you want to know the Father, then you have to yield yourself to Christ and to his word. If you want salvation, then there is only one place to find it. Salvation is grounded in the unique person of Jesus, and him alone.
When it comes to the salvation that is revealed to us, Jesus also talks about the grandeur of it.
III. The grandeur of it [23-24]
In verses 23-24 it says that Jesus turned to his disciples and 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, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it!”
Jesus is here rejoicing in the fuller revelation that these disciples are receiving. These disciples have a privilege that the great patriarchs in the faith did not have.
You remember that up to this point the saints had been given truth about salvation and the coming Messiah, but it was always in shadows. It was not the full manifestation of Christ. They had the sacrifices and circumcision and the holy feasts. They had pictures, promises, and prophecies—all of which were sufficient to impart truth and build up their faith in the coming messiah. But nevertheless, it wasn’t the full revelation. It was still hidden to some degree.
But ever since the time of Christ, we have a greater understanding. The truth is more clear to us than it was for those who lived under the old covenant.
Think of it this way: Imagine that you’ve woke up very early one morning, while it is still dark. Not only is it dark, but there is a heavy fog that had come in during the night. Now, you get in your car, turn the headlights on, and start to drive down the street. Up the street a couple of blocks you see some figure crossing the road. You can’t see it perfectly, but you can make out the silhouette. There is definitely a person crossing the road. It might be a guy or a girl, you can’t tell what they are wearing, but you definitely see something through the fog. That is a real and true knowledge. But it is not a full knowledge.
If you were to stay there a while, you know what would happen. The sun would come out and the fog would be burned off. And as you pulled closer to the person, you’d be able to make out that it was grandma out in her jammies fetching the morning paper.
That is what it is like living in our present day. We have the privilege of seeing Christ in a fuller and more glorious manner. No longer are we in the shadows, but he has come and we have heard about him through the preaching of the word. The sacraments we have today are nothing much, but they give us a fuller understanding of his person and work.
I like what JC Ryle says on this verse. He says this, “No doubt the OT saints looked to a coming Savior by faith, and believed in a resurrection and life to come. But the coming and death of Christ unlocked a hundred Scriptures which were before closed, and cleared up scores of doubtful points which before had never been solved.”
We have the fullness of this revelation. It is better to be a saint today than one living in 500 years before Christ. Our situation is even better than those who lived 3-4 years prior to Jesus birth. Even though we might be well removed by a couple thousand years, our understanding is deeper and more vivid than those saints before.
As we’ve talked about this salvation, we’ve considered the glory of it: It is founded in God’s sovereign election. We’ve noticed that it is grounded in Christ alone. We’ve seen something of its grandeur. But it would not be complete if we did not talk about the giving of it.
IV. The giving of it
The whole point of this passage is that our Lord does give salvation. And he gives this salvation to anyone who would be willing to receive it.
If you would like to have your sins forgiven and enjoy eternal life with the Lord, then all you have to do is turn from your life of sin to the Lord Jesus. The moment you do that, you can rest assured that you will be saved.
In the reign of Charles I a prisoner was brought to trial. The jury eventually found him guilty of all the charges that were against him. Throughout the proceedings the man remained calm and unconcerned, even when the sentence was passed against him he said nothing. When all was said and done, he produced a piece of paper from his pocket. He handed it to the judge. It was the King’s full pardon. Because of this, he had to fear nothing in the Day of Judgment.
So it is with those who look to the Lord Jesus. The Lord will give his full pardon and he will be saved in the Day of Judgment.
Kindled Fire is dedicated
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.