We continue our study of the Gospel of Luke. Several years ago, I got some new contacts. I had a new prescription and picked up the box at the eye doctor’s office. I then went out to my car and decided to go ahead and put these new contacts in my eyes. I carefully removed each one from the box and squirted the saline solution on them and carefully placed them in my eyes. I blinked a couple times and looked out the windshield into the parking lot and thought, “Well, this isn’t good.” One of the eyes was a little clearer than the other, but both were blurry. I remember thinking, “Man, I must have gotten the wrong prescription. I have everything ‘in place’ here, but I could see better before I put these things into my eyes!” It wasn’t until I began to remove each of contacts that I realized what I had done: I had placed this new pair of contacts – directly on top of the old contacts that were still in my eyes. It made sense then! I understood why I could not see like I was supposed to see.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see.” My experience was a metaphor of what can happen to us spiritually. We can have everything “in place” but still not see as God wants us to see. And if we see at all, if we understand the things of God, it will be because God has graciously opened our eyes. Through the power of the Gospel, He has revealed to us that the “old way” of seeing and understanding is replaced with a “new way” of seeing and understanding. This is a blessing to receive. Not everyone has received this grace of spiritual sight. Not everyone who sees really sees. Well, let’s use our spiritual eyes and take a closer look at this passage and see what it teaches us today.
Verse 21 says, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.’” It is impossible for us to rightly understand what Jesus is talking about in this without backing up and reading what Jesus said immediately preceding. Jesus had sent out 70 or so disciples to go and proclaim that the Kingdom has come. It is a new day. Christ Jesus is here to save the lost and to bring sight to the blind, more than just physical sight, but spiritual sight, too.
The disciples had gone out and shared that message, and when they came back to Jesus, they were all fired up about the fact that even the demons were subject to them. Jesus makes this statement in verse 18, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Every time a disciple cast out a demon, it evidenced the defeat of Satan that was occurring as quickly and as suddenly as lightning flashes. The statement, “I saw Satan fall like lighting from heaven,” is a summary statement of the comprehensive, all-inclusive, and wide-ranging defeat of the evil one.
This battle goes back as far as Genesis 3:15, where we read what is often called, “The First Gospel.” After Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, God says to serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed (or, her offspring); He shall bruise your head (Eve’s offspring shall bruise your head) and you (serpent) shall bruise His heel.”
From that point in Genesis 3:15 forward we read in the Bible of this ongoing warfare between man and Satan. As Satan is bruising the heel of the seed of the woman, God is crushing his head. This warfare culminates on the cross. Satan strikes the heel of the ultimate offspring of the woman, Jesus Christ. Jesus dies on the cross. But when He rises on the third day, He crushes the head of the serpent. God defeats Satan yet again.
When Jesus says in verse 21, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent,” the “these things” He is talking about is this sweeping nature of the comprehensive defeat of the Evil One that happens through the power of the Gospel, namely the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 21 says this causes Jesus to “rejoice in the Spirit.” Interestingly, it is the only statement on record we have of Jesus rejoicing. Surely, He rejoiced at other times, but this is the only time it is recorded. We read of Jesus weeping three times, but rejoicing only once.
You also have the Trinity referred to in verse 21. You will never find a place in the Bible where it says, “And here is the doctrine of the Trinity,” but you see the Trinity at several points as you read through the Bible. I always like to point this out in our preaching through it. In verse 21, Jesus is talking. Jesus is, of course, the Son of God. So, you have God the Son. The Son rejoiced “in the Spirit,” so you have God the Spirit. And, the Son is talking to the Father. You have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit; one God in three Persons.
Jesus says in verse 21, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things (namely the presence of God’s Kingdom and Satan’s fall) from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.” God hides and God reveals. Who can understand why God reveals spiritual truth to some and hides it from others? Jesus acknowledges in the last part of verse 21, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” Whatever reason God has for revealing spiritual truth to some and hiding it from others, He has good reason.
And yet, what God does is always consistent with is man’s freedom and responsibility. What Jesus says in verse 21 is a statement of fact. The contrast between the “wise” and the “babes” is not a contrast between educated and uneducated. It is a contrast between those who live for this world and those who live for God. The “wisdom of this world” often makes men proud, doesn’t it? Becoming proud and boastful, these men become resistant to spiritual truth.
This truth is brought out in a documentary on creation and evolution. Ben Stein is interviewing the renowned atheist Richard Dawkins. This interview illustrates how the wisdom of this world can harden the heart of an otherwise gifted scientist. It is striking to hear Richard Dawkins admit that it was possible some kind of intelligent being created the universe, but he would not allow for the possibility that this intelligent being was the God of the Bible. This truth is hidden from him. God reveals truth to “babes,” those whose hearts are humbled and softened to receive the truth of the Gospel.
Verse 22 says, “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” This verse 22 shows the unique relationship between the Father and the Son. Jesus says, “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father.” If all things have been given to the Son, then clearly the Son is on equal terms with the Father. The authority of the Father is given to the Son because the Son is as much God as the Father is God. So we see here the deity of Christ.
And then we read, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” If anything, this verse teaches that the only way to know God is through the Son. No one can know God apart from the Son. When someone says, “I know God” but this does not live for Christ, we have to help them understand that no, in fact, they do not know God. No one can know God apart from the Son. This is why the Father says at the transfiguration of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Luke 9:35).
And this was the essence of Peter’s statement in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no other name, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved but the name of Jesus Christ.” Jesus Himself says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Father except through the Son.” The only way we can be know God and be saved from sin and have God’s forgiveness is through the Gospel, through Jesus Christ. Only Christ has this unique relationship with the Father.
Verses 23 and 24 tell us, “Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.’” What a blessing it is to see! What a blessing to have spiritual sight and spiritual hearing! Jesus says, “Many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it,” but you have. Jesus may have asked, “Do you realize how privileged you are?!”
The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:10, “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you.” Do you realize how blessed you are to see and hear? Do you realize how blessed you are to share in God’s kingdom? Not everyone sees, you know. Not everyone in you’re your congregation sees. Many walk around as though they had two pair of contacts in their eyes, neither pair helping them to see.
If we see at all it is only because
God has opened our eyes.
If we hear at all it is only because
God has opened our ears.
We have spiritual knowledge and
Understanding not because we
Are good or because we are educated
Or because we are church members.
If we see, we see because
God has opened our eyes.
In our remaining time, let me give you these three important truths about how we see and hear when God opens our eyes and ears . . .
1) God Reveals To Us His Triumph Over Evil.
Not everyone understands that God has already conquered evil. This is the truth that caused Jesus to rejoice back in verse 21. Satan was continually falling as quickly as sudden flashes of lighting. In Christ Jesus is the comprehensive defeat and triumph over the Evil one. Every time Satan bruises the heel of the seed of the woman, God crushes his head. Satan is a defeated foe. God triumphs over evil. This is a spiritual truth that not everyone sees.
We pick up the newspaper and we read that over 300 have died now in horrible twisters and we wonder where is the triumph of evil in that? It would seem that Satan is doing a pretty good job of striking the heel of the seed of the woman. And surely, none of us can know fully the mind of our perfect God and His sovereign ways. Tornadoes, drought, fires, and tragedies are reminders of just how small we are in this world – and just how absolutely dependent we are upon the One True God for everything we have. God has made a way for us to be saved, eternally saved, even from the ravages of storms and house fires, and utter destruction. Jesus says in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” While Satan is striking the heel of the seed of the woman, God is crushing his head.
God reveals to us His triumph over evil and this truth causes us to live in joy. We know that God is there, and He always does what is right. Whether we are suffering in what seems to be a dead-end job, or a seemingly hopeless medical challenge, or a strained marriage – God is there, crushing the head of the Evil One.
David Wilkerson certainly understood this truth. He had eyes to see and ears to hear. Some of you will have known David Wilkerson, pastor of the 5,000 member Time Square Church in one of New York City’s red-light districts and author of the famous book, The Cross and the Switchblade. Wilkerson died tragically when his automobile was struck by a semi-truck. In his last blog post the day he died, he wrote these words: “To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: weeping will last through some dark, awful nights and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, ‘I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident.’” When God opens our eyes to see, we understand that He has triumphed over all evil.
Secondly, when God opens our eyes to see and our ears to hear, we understand that . . .
2) God Draws Us To Himself Through Christ.
Jesus says in verse 22, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal.”
We cannot know God until Jesus Christ reveals God to us. The Son “wills to reveal” this saving knowledge of God to certain ones. Who can understand this fully? It is only by God’s grace that Jesus Christ reveals saving knowledge of the Father to us. Verse 22 is similar to John 6:44, where Jesus says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” The Father draws souls to Himself through Christ, who chooses to reveal the Father to certain ones. God draws us to Himself through Christ.
If anything, these verses remind us that no man just “decides” to become a Christian as though he made that decision on the basis of having weighed the evidence or thinking that becoming a Christian would be good for his reputation or for his family’s sake. Many church members are lost because they believe they themselves have done the work of salvation. This helps us understand the problem of why some professing Christians act like Christians and some do not. Some are saved and some are not. No one comes to Christ unless the Father draws him or her to Christ. We must ask ourselves whether we are truly saved.
- Joining a church saves no one.
- Being baptized saves no one.
- Living the 10 commandments saves no one.
- Being good saves no one.
We are saved only when God draws us to Himself by way of the Holy Spirit through the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Gospel. Has there been a point in your life where you can trace the Hand of God working in such a way as to convict you of your sin, humbling you to the dust, and you cried out in repentance, “God be merciful to me, a sinner?” If not, you are lost and on the road to hell. You need to be saved.
If you have, then this is the basis of your joy. Jesus says in verse 20, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” There is no greater gift than the certainty that when we die we will spend eternity in heaven because God has drawn us to Himself through Christ and our names are written down in heaven. They are written there not because we were church members, deacons, pastors, and Sunday school teachers. There are many lost church members, deacons, pastors, and Sunday school teachers. Our names are written down only when we have humbly come to Christ, our hearts having been softened, His truth having been revealed to us, and we receive that truth as a babe with child-like trust. When God opens our eyes and ears we understand that God triumphs over evil and He draws us to Himself through Christ.
Thirdly, we understand that . . .
3) God Uses Us To Declare His Greatness.
Remember that the context of this paragraph is couched in the mission of the 70 disciples. They were going around declaring the truth that God’s kingdom had come in Christ. This is the truth that the disciples had seen and heard, and Jesus had said to them, “He who hears you hears Me” (Luke 10:16) and God uses us to declare His greatness and those who hear us, hear Him.
- God uses us to declare His greatness through worship, through singing the wonderful truths of God.
- God uses us to declare His greatness through witness at home among our family and at work among our co-workers.
- God uses us to declare His greatness through sharing Jesus Christ to a neighbor, to a fellow student at school, through missional work from our neighborhood to the nations.
- God uses us to declare His greatness through our giving, our tithing, and our serving.
What is the motivation for our declaring His greatness through all of these means? The motivation is joy. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven, the disciples’ joy. We share in the joy of our Lord Jesus Christ who “Rejoiced in the Spirit.”
When we come to terms with what it means to see and what it means to hear, we live every day in joy. We live joyfully because we understand that there is meaning behind everything that happens and that God is in control and He always does what is right. We rejoice that our eyes and ears have been opened to see and hear this truth. When join the hymn writer in saying, “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”