At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…
The babe is the representative of the receptive spirit — trusting, open to impression, free from prejudice. Wisdom — like wealth and power — is an obstruction, not in itself, but in the temper and frame of mind it is apt to produce. On the other hand, there is, in this preference of the child-spirit, no encouragement of spiritual pride, as if ignorance and mental indolence were things of dignity and worth in themselves. The prime requisites in the child-spirit are unconsciousness and humility. The grounds for God's dealing thus are as follows: —
I. To REVEAL TO BABES HARMONIZES WITH GOD'S CHARACTER AS A FATHER, AND ILLUSTRATES IT. "Babe" is counterpart to "Father." A father's heart is not attracted to the brilliance or power in his family, but to the want. The child who knows his father will have a knowledge of things beyond the reach of research.
II. To REVEAL TO BABES GLORIFIES GOD AS LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. The higher and mightier you conceive God to be, the more necessary it is to know that he is lowly, and to have abundant proof of it. But oh I how near God comes; how dear He is to us by His frequent close relationship to the poor and lowly. We are drawn to the mighty God who is drawn to the babes.
III. GOD THUS MANIFESTS THE SUPREMACY OF THE MORAL ELEMENT. The understanding has but a narrow horizon; the spirit embraces eternity and God. Intellect is the fibre of the plant, the moral and spiritual are the sap that turns everything into flower and fruit. Knowledge and ingenuity are as nothing without righteousness. What inventiveness or brilliancy could ever supply the place of honesty faithfulness, goodwill in the homes of men?
IV. GOD THUS SHOWS HIS DESIRE TO REVEAL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, AND TO AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. Had He revealed specially to intellect, to the wise and understanding, what a little circle, what a select coterie it would have been! The great mass of mankind are burdened with labour, and cannot develop greatly their intellectual nature. But by revealing to babes, God gives hope to universal humanity. While few can be wise and learned, all may become babes. It is man himself that God wants, not his accomplishments, his energies, his distinctions.
(J. Leckie, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.