“At that time, Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father.’” Jesus’ gratitude is important, particularly at that time. What’s been happening? Jesus is misunderstood and ignored. (1)
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, introduced Jesus to the crowds and baptized him. But lingering in prison and not seeing expected change, John doubted.
He asked: “Are you really the Messiah or should we wait for another?” Jesus replied: Yes, I’m doing what you said. Remember Isaiah; I’m healing and liberating, just not as you expect. John, who perhaps knew Jesus best, misunderstood him.
Jesus did most of his early work, including healing, calling his disciples and feeding five thousand in three little villages near each other: Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. But they ignore him; they don’t change.
Jesus confronts, saying “Woe to you,” you are worse than infamous Sodom. Your indifference to God is more a problem than their intentional evil. These people, who have seen and heard Jesus the most, ignore him.
At that time, misunderstood and ignored, Jesus prays: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
Jesus knows this misunderstanding and indifference does not impede God. The so-called wise and intelligent are limited to the surface. Down beneath, hidden to them, divine power surges onward. The surface makes Jesus sad. He responds and confronts. He also trusts and gives thanks for deep truth.
What’s been happening in your life? Which friends or family are troubling you? What evil, active or indifferent, makes you mourn? What rational reasons tempt you to despair?
With simple, child-like faith, listen down to divine deep truth: God is with us. God loves us. God is changing us. At this time, join Jesus in prayer and trust by saying: “thank you.”
- This sermon is based on: “Jesus Prays in Thanksgiving” in Eugene Peterson (2008) Tell It Slant: a conversation on the language of Jesus in his stories and prayers. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, p197-203. See also Matthew 11:1-24.
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