Reasons Jesus Rejoices, Part 2
Topic: Grace Pulpit Passage: Luke 10:22
Reasons Jesus Rejoices (Part 2)
September 15, 2019
Luke, chapter 10, continuing the study that we began last week of reasons that Jesus rejoices, we came out of 30 reasons to rejoice, and then we entered into reasons Jesus rejoices. So that’s Luke 10:21. And today is a study in Christology, a deep and high Christology, an understanding of the study of Christ and what the Scripture says the truth is about Christ.
We’ve come really to a high-water mark here in Luke’s Gospel, a high-water mark of Jesus’ self-disclosure. And Luke has been leading us to this point. He has recorded the revealing of the mystery of the incarnation—namely, that Jesus is both truly human and, at the same time, truly divine. And the divine nature and human nature join together in one Person. We find in this text—lot of times we’re seeing the human side of Jesus—the divine nature revealed most fully, most clearly: the high-water mark of self-disclosure here from Christ himself.
So let me read just two verses—Luke 10:21-22:
* In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “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; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 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 chooses to reveal him.”*
Those verses—those two verses there—are really the culminating point in revealing the divine nature of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. There’s a lot that indicates that Jesus is God, that Jesus has a divine nature. But here it’s clearly and explicitly stated. Luke has been leading us to this point from the very beginning of his Gospel, ever since he recorded Gabriel’s words to Mary—Luke 1:35: “‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,’ he said to Mary. ‘The power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God.’” So ever since the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of the virgin Mary, we have seen the birth of a human baby. We’ve seen the growth and development of a human boy. We have seen, then, the appearance of a human man, who presented himself as a man at the baptism of John. Jesus has had all the growing, maturing experiences of a normal human being—normal human experience, normal human life—precisely because he is a human being.
At the same time, as readers of Luke’s Gospel, we’ve seen a remarkable, supernatural power and authority working in and through this very human man—power over malevolent spiritual forces, demons, and the devil himself; power over impersonal, physical maladies like sickness and disease; power over creatures, like little fish in the sea of Galilee and bringing them into the nets of Peter and John and the rest of the Apostles there; power over impersonal forces like a hurricane at sea—wind and waves and all the rest. He’s able to command with his voice the wind and waves. More than that, we’ve seen on several occasions Jesus with power over death itself. He raised people from the dead.
So deity is really the only category that we have to understand, comprehend, apprehend, and explain all that we have been reading. This is divine power. This is divine authority in Jesus Christ. From very early on, as Jesus entered into ministry, we’ve read about a man who is unlike any other man that we have ever known, that we’ve even read about. There’s no one in history like him. On the one hand, “He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.” His impeccable purity drove away the devil himself and exhausted all the fulness of his temptations. On the other hand, we read about someone who handled himself and conducted his life in a manner that we can only describe as divinely righteous. He’s been perfectly consistent in all the will of God. He has been flawless—constant in his pursuit of holiness, in doing the will of God, in doing the will of God in the way of God.
He speaks in the language of perfect truth. He acts in perfect righteousness. His love, mercy, and compassion are in perfect harmony with the Lord God of Israel, the one who revealed himself to Moses as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” And so, confronted with his power and authority, confronted as we are reading this, with his moral perfection—when the amazement kind of subsides for just a bit and we’re able to think carefully about what this power and authority and righteousness represent—we see and recognize in him the very holiness of God himself.
And that raises in our conscience a rather uncomfortable thought—namely, the reality of our own sin, the fact that we know in our conscience that we’re guilty before someone who is this holy. We’re aware of how utterly sinful we are and in contrast how utterly righteous he is. And that contrast smites our conscience. We’re stricken with the thought of our unworthiness and cry out like Peter did—Luke chapter 5—“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
But here in the text before us, we find hope. We find hope in the Person of Jesus Christ. And it’s not the way we might expect. Hope that shows himself to be just like us, and us just like him—that’s not the hope that we find. In fact, the hope that we find is exactly the opposite: We find the gap between who we are and who he is wider than ever. Instead of finding Jesus to be more like us in Luke 10:22—more human—he is human—but we actually find the opposite is true here. That gap widens here between us and him. Any correspondence between us and Christ—and there is a correspondence by virtue of our being human—we find that humanness is eclipsed here in this text in his infinite and divine glory.
If you remember what we studied last time, Jesus has rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. He’s been praising God the Father for who God is, for what God has done, and for why God has done it. That’s Luke 10:21: “‘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 [babes]; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.’” We had three points that comprised last week’s outline: Jesus praising God for who he is, for what he has done, and for why he has done it.
And to those three points we add a fourth today: Jesus rejoices in not only in who God is, for what God has done, and for why God has done it—now Jesus rejoices in how God has done what he’s done. The Father has hidden salvation truth from the wise and understanding, and the Father has revealed salvation truth to little babes and—get this—he has done both by filling Jesus Christ with all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He’s done both of those things by causing all the fulness of deity to dwell in Christ bodily. He’s done both the hiding and the revealing work; he’s done the concealing and revealing in one act—the incarnation.
In other words, what condemns proud sinners before a holy God, and what reconciles humble sinners to a holy God, is in the same reality—the mystery of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the God-Man—with emphasis there in God—in his God-ness, in his deity, in his divinity, in his divine nature.
Verse 22 again: “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 chooses to reveal him.” That, folks, is an incredible revelation. It exposes to us the mystery of the nature of the Godhead—that God is triune, that he is one God in three Persons. The Athanasian Creed says that simply for us: “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance.” There’s no division in this one triune God, and there’s no confounding, conflation, confusion of the Persons of the Trinity. Simply stated, how do we comprehend it? That’s what we’re reading about here.
Notice this is not a theological construct, here—this Trinitarian language that’s superimposed on the text here. This is Jesus speaking plainly. He’s speaking in prayer to God by the Holy Spirit, and he’s speaking plainly. This is just his self-disclosure. He’s telling us by the Holy Spirit who he is. We’ve seen his humanity; we’re convinced he’s like us in every way—and yes, the greatest representation in every way. But now we’re going to see his deity. We’re going to see how unlike us he is at the same time.
His language convinces us that he is also like God in every way. Why is it important? Why is it important that Jesus is God? The Apostle John tells us plainly—John 20:31: “[B]ut these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” It was John’s intent in writing—it’s also Luke’s in writing—that you may have certainty about the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that Gospel is dependent on Jesus being both God and man—truly God in every way, truly man in every way. Why? That he might be a mediator for those who come to God, that he might represent God’s interest to us, and then take our sin before a holy God for reconciliation. Only an infinite Person—only an infinite Person—can absorb the infinite wrath of a holy God against us for our sin. It’s why he must be—he must be—the Son of God. Otherwise, we’re lost.
I could give you, in this fourth point in our larger outline, a series of subpoints to unpack, but let’s scrap the subpoints for this morning and just do points, okay?—one, two, three, and four. Four points we’re going to see—just in one verse here—four points of parity between the Father and the Son—four ways that Father and Son are equal. And this is from the lips of Christ himself.
Starting with the first point, number one: Father and Son share absolute authority. Father and Son share absolute authority. It’s in that very first sentence, there. Jesus says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father.” Now a sentence earlier, Jesus said, “I praise you, Father”—what did he call him?—“Lord of heaven and earth.” That title “kyrios” refers to the absolute sovereignty of God the Father, his supreme Lordship. He’s Lord of heaven and earth. He exercises an authority that is universal, transcendent, and absolute. Anybody who says, “Oh, all morality is relative”—I say that’s “gar-bage.” Because God is not relative. He is absolute, he is transcendent, he has universal sovereignty, and his Word is righteousness. And when he speaks—when he delivers his words, his Law, his truth—it is absolute as he is absolute. It is transcendent as he is transcendent. And its authority and supremacy is universal —as he and his authority and supremacy are universal.
God the Father is Creator and Sustainer of all creation whether in heaven or on earth, whether spiritual or physical, whether immaterial or material. God is Lord of heaven—all non-physical realities, all abstract, universal invariant realities like laws of logic, rules to govern mathematics, virtues of goodness and love, principles of beauty, of goodness, morality. Those are non-physical, immaterial realities that we all live with every single day.
God is also Lord of the earth. He’s Lord of all physical realities, like galaxies and solar systems, like stars and planets. He’s Lord of small things, too—Lord of cells and atoms, Lord of all sub-atomic particles—protons, neutrons, electrons. When he splits an atom, things explode. Lord of incomprehensible realities, things we can only describe but not truly define, like “What is energy?”
All of that—more than we can even comprehend—contained in that little title “Lord of heaven and earth.” And now Jesus says—speaking in the Spirit, by the way—“All things have been handed over to me by my Father.” So whatever is in the category of “all things” contextually, which we rightly understand includes all things contained in heaven and earth—that entire bucket of things—material and immaterial, physical and spiritual—literally, Jesus says, “To me—to me—that has been handed over”—past tense, passive voice. All things over which the Father has absolute authority—all of that—has been “paradidome”—that’s the verb—transfer of authority. It’s been handed over, delivered over, turned over to Jesus Christ. This is about authority. If you go back to verses 19 and 20 and those disciples as they returned. They were so bubbly over this power and authority they had over demons. It really puts that into a broader perspective, doesn’t it?
Authority over hostile spiritual powers? That’s just one instance of his authority over all things. And the Father has turned all things over to the authority of the Son. And so when we come to the end of Matthew’s Gospel, and Jesus said—Matthew 28:18—“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me”—he wasn’t announcing something new. He referred to what has been established long, long ago. The divine authority of the Son is a matter of divine decree made in the eternal councils of the triune God. This is a matter of the divine will from eternity past.
According to Psalm 2, God warns the kings of the earth about their rebellion against his authority and about the rebellion in particular against the authority of the Son whom he has anointed to be king. And in that psalm, we hear the voice of the preincarnate Son of God speaking. Even before he’s come through the virgin’s womb, here he’s speaking in Psalm 2. He says,
*I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.*
That is the decree of Sonship, and it’s an eternal decree of absolute authority that the Son has. The Father then follows up in Psalm 2 with this warning:
*Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. [And then this:] Kiss the Son [He’s saying, “Do homage to the Son”], lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.*
So coming back to Luke 10, when Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”—when he said that at the end of Matthew 28—that’s not new. It’s old, it’s ancient, it’s eternal, it’s from everlasting in the past. It’s the decree of God from the eternal counsel of the Holy One. And Jesus then, speaking to his disciples here—prompted in prayer by the Holy Spirit—reveals his absolute authority to them. What Luke records here, Matthew also records in his account as well—Matthew 11:25-27.
But what’s written here in this revelation of Jesus’ self-disclosure—who he really is, his identity, his divine nature—becomes the subject of John’s entire Gospel. This issue of authority in John’s Gospel is actually thematic. It’s prominent from start to finish. Just a few verses: John 3:35: “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.” John 5:22: “The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son.” Again in 5:27, he has given authority to execute judgment because he’s the Son of Man. Later on in the Upper Room, the night of his betrayal—John 13:3—“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands”—there’s that same statement, that he’d come from God, was going back to God. Jesus carried on then with some of the final acts of his earthly ministry, teaching his disciples, speaking of the future, speaking of their ministry—all by his authority. Same night, one of the disciples not getting it—Philip—“Jesus, show us the Father.” “Have I been with you so long, Philip, and you don’t know me? How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 16:15, Jesus said, “All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” So Jesus has authority over all things—all things, which includes judgment, “so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father”—John 5:23.
There’s really no limit to this authority. It’s utterly comprehensive. Jesus said—Luke 10:22—“All things have been handed over to me by my Father.” And Paul goes on in his writing to help us to see how far that authority extends. We need to understand that when the Father gave all things into his hands and gave him all authority, that meant everything. Paul says—1 Corinthians 15:25—that “he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” All enemies. That’s referring to—alluding to—Psalm 110:1. David says, “The Lord says to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’” So he alludes back to that. This is the fulfillment of that prophecy. The incarnate Son of God comes, and he’s going to reign until all enemies are put under his feet.
And Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 15: “The last enemy to be destroyed is death”—death, there, personified like an enemy. “For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” Listen—even death itself—the authority of death itself is put into the hands of the Son. Jesus then has authority over judgment and death, death being the curse for sin, the sentence of judgment being eternal death. So Jesus has authority over judgment, over the sentencing, over the execution of the sentence in death. And that is why the Father has put into the hands of the Son all divine authority. Why? So he can fulfill his mission—Jesus’ mission—to bring glory to the Father. Philippians 2:9-11:
*Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow [What is that? An acknowledgement of his great divine authority] in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.*
In the end, when all is said and done—1 Corinthians 15:28—“When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.”
This giving over of authority is for the accomplishment of Jesus’ mission: to bring glory to the Father, to subject all things in heaven, on earth, under the earth—to bring everything into compliance with the will of God in the outworking of his divine degree. You say, “I’m having a hard time getting my mind around that.” Welcome to the club! It’s true! That encompasses everything in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. Just incredible what Jesus said in one sentence. We don’t have time to go through that in any kind of fulness unless we turn this into a ten-week series.
So, Luke 10:22—that simple statement, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father”—such broad, far-reaching implications. And it leads to a second point of parity between the Father and the Son. Father and Son possess infinite knowledge. Father and Son possess infinite knowledge. The next statement there in verse 22: “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son.”
That word in the ESV “or” is actually the Greek word “kai,” so it’s “and,” a coordinating conjunction. It puts those two statements in complete equality. “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and know one knows who the Father is except the Son.” This is absolutely incredible. Just incredible. Jesus here is making a claim to mutual, reciprocal knowledge between himself and God the Father, and it is an exclusive knowledge. That’s what he means by that word “except.” “No one knows except.”
Folks, this is an incredible claim of deity. When Jesus spoke this, it provoked Jewish religious zeal. Jewish leaders heard a claim like this, and rather than consider it carefully, rather than evaluate the claim in light of God’s Word, in light of truth, in light of prophecy—we should mention apart from the aid of true spiritual understanding, apart from the grace of God to believe and to understand and to illuminate the truth—they were armed with mere human knowledge, attendant with all its noetic effects, the distorting effects of sin on the minds, the thinking, but also polluted with their jealousy and envy. The scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests—they considered claims like that one blasphemous. John 10:33: “It’s not for a good work that we are going to stone you.” Notice—“We’re going to stone you.” “It’s not for your good works. It’s not for healing the blind, making the lame walk, curing people of leprosy, raising the dead.” Notice they acknowledge his good works. “But we’re not going to kill you for any of those works of supernatural power, but for blasphemy because you, being a man”—How could they say that?—“You, being a man make yourself God.”
Let’s get a little closer into this statement—verse 22—and see exactly what Jesus is saying here—because he’s not “making” himself to be God. He is God. First of all, Jesus is not talking here just about knowledge, but about exclusive knowledge. “No one knows”—and then—“except the Father” and “except the Son.” Consider the bare statement—just subject and verb: “No one knows.” Not anyone. There is a sphere of knowledge, and no one has access to that sphere of knowledge. Everyone is locked out of it.
Let’s add the direct objects, now. “No one knows who the Son is,” “No one knows who the Father is.” So the sphere of knowledge we’re talking about here is divine knowledge. Anything having to do with God—Father, Son, who God is—no one has it. No one has it. All is lost, you might think, until we read the subordinate clauses. First, “No one knows who the son is”—ah!—“except the Father.” And then “No one knows who the Father is except the Son.” So there is a sphere of knowledge, divine knowledge, and all are locked out of that sphere of divine knowledge except these two persons—Father and Son—exclusive knowledge.
Second statement: Jesus is talking about comprehensive knowledge, here. The word is “ginosko”; it speaks of knowledge, comprehension, understanding. It can refer in contrast to the verb “oida,” which is more about knowing about facts, realities, scientific knowledge. “Ginosko” can speak of an intimate knowledge, a deep knowledge, a knowing of experience. You could even say in a lot of cases, relationship—intimate relationship. There’s a parallel statement in Matthew’s Gospel, as I said—Matthew 11. Some commentators see what Matthew records, what Luke records, though almost the same, word-for-word recording—some see them as recording the same event at the same time. Others see this as a little bit different. But nevertheless, in Matthew’s account, Jesus used an intensified form of the verb “ginosko”; it’s “epi-ginosko.” It’s got a preposition that prefixes the front of that verb. And whenever you have a preposition in front of a verb, it intensifies it. So what is he saying Matthew’s account? Jesus is saying, “No one knows” or “knows exactly,” “knows fully,” “knows completely who the Son is except the Father and who the Father is except the Son.”
Luke does use the simpler form—“ginosko”—but he uses this direct object. He’s talking about the content of knowledge. He’s saying the exact same thing here. This is talking about a complete understanding, a full comprehension of who the Father is and who the Son is. He’s making the claim, here, that the Father and the Son possess exact, full, complete knowledge of one another. “No one knows who the Son is except the Father and know one who the Father is”—his identity, his nature, his attributes, all that is God—no one knows him except the Son.
So Jesus claims exclusive knowledge, comprehensive knowledge, exhaustive knowledge of the Son by the Father, of the Father by the Son. Secondly, Jesus is here talking about what can only logically be concluded is infinite knowledge. It’s infinite. It’s limitless. The fancy term we use for that is “omniscience.” That’s the sole purview of deity. By saying, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father,” Jesus is saying that the knowledge of the Son is so infinitely vast that no one except an omniscient Father is able to know it. No one can know the Son except an infinite, limitless Father. Only the Father can comprehend him fully. Only the Father can know him exactly, completely, exhaustively. Only the Father is able to do that because the Father is God. He’s omniscient; he’s all-knowing.
Jesus begins this statement of self-disclosure by telling everyone, “Look, in order know me fully, you have to be God.” And anybody who says Jesus never claimed to be God hasn’t read their Bibles. They’re just not reading. Or they’re not reading very deeply. They skim over a verse like this—it’s a little bit puzzling to them—and they just keep on moving. The identity of the Son—the essence of the Son—is of such a nature that only an infinite God can comprehend it. That’s what he’s saying. One must possess the essence of deity to comprehend the full knowledge of the Son. To plumb the depths of the knowledge of the Son, one must be divine, and there is only one who is divine: the Father. He alone it is that has that ability by virtue of divine omniscience, one of his attributes.
Conversely, then, by saying, “No one knows who the Father is except the Son,” Jesus is making an identical claim—to deity, to omniscience, to perfect knowledge. He’s able to know who the Father is in his essence, in his nature, the fullness of his infinite attributes, his blessed infinite perfections. Jesus knows them all because he himself possesses the same essence, the same nature, the same fulness of deity. “For”—Colossians 2:9 again—“in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
Benjamin Warfield, writing on the person of Christ, refers to this passage and writes this: “Our Lord, speaking in the most solemn manner, places himself in a position not of equality merely, but of absolute reciprocity and interpenetration of knowledge with the Father.” That’s an important statement. Let me repeat it: “Our Lord, speaking in the most solemn manner, places himself in a position not of equality merely, but of absolute reciprocity and interpenetration of knowledge with the Father. It is as if the being of the Son were so immense that only God could know it thoroughly, and the knowledge of the Son was so unlimited that he could know God to perfection.” This is essential knowledge that the Father has of the Son, and by “essential,” I mean the knowledge the Father has by virtue of his essence, by virtue of his being God, he’s able to comprehend the Son, and vice versa.
In our STM study, “Shepherds, Theologians, Men,” we’ve been studying theology proper. One of our studies was of the knowledge of God and the attributes of the knowledge of God. So I’m going to dig into some of those terms that we studied together—theological terms. See how well you can follow these statements of attributes about the knowledge of God itself. What is the knowledge of God like?
God’s knowledge is archetypal; that is, based on his internal, eternal idea. It’s archetypal. God’s knowledge is absolutely perfect. It has no flaw, no gap, no interruption, no lack. God’s knowledge is intuitive; that is, it doesn’t require any reasoning. God doesn’t have to stay here and make logical implications. He doesn’t have deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning—nothing. He just knows it intuitively. His knowledge is innate and immediate. It doesn’t require observation; it doesn’t require learning; it doesn’t require—as the process theologians say—it doesn’t require a process. Anybody who says, “God is in process,” is saying God is mutable. They’re saying he changes. Listen—there is no hope of assurance of salvation in a mutable, changing God.
God’s knowledge is simultaneous, which means he sees and knows everything at once in its totality. He’s not watching history unfold before him like we are. He’s not sitting up there with a bird’s-eye view, so to speak. Or as the snipers like to say, “a God’s-eye view.” It’s not that. He’s not up really, really high and just has a really good perspective. All of his knowledge is intuitive without reasoning it through. It’s all innate, immediate—doesn’t require observation, learning, process—and it’s simultaneous. He knows all things, sees all things, at once, in a moment—and that is a continual, absolute moment. It’s a moment that he lives in. He is pure being.
God’s knowledge is completely conscious—all facts are immediately and consciously present at all times before him. God’s knowledge is necessary, which means it is grounded in his being. His knowledge is an attribute of his deity, without which he would not be God. God’s knowledge is free. It’s based on his eternal purpose and decree.
All these things we can unpack in lessons upon lessons of the knowledge of God, but just to summarize: This is what Jesus is revealing here, that it is that kind of knowledge that only God possesses—that is the kind of knowledge required to know the Son. The Father has it; it’s not acquired. The Father possesses that knowledge by virtue of his being God. And conversely—in an exact parallel statement—in the same way, Jesus also has this knowledge—the same knowledge—of the Father, for “No one knows who the Father is except the Son.”
Jesus’ knowledge, like the Father’s, is not acquired either. It’s equal with the knowledge of the Father, comprehending all that the Father comprehends. The knowledge of the Son is divine, and that means—just like the knowledge of the Father—it’s archetypal, perfect, intuitive, innate, immediate, simultaneous, conscious, necessary, absolutely free.
The Spirit of God has that kind of knowledge, too. We read in 1 Corinthians 2:10, “The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” That word “depths” is “bathos.” It refers to literally to ocean depths, and especially in contrast to mountain heights. Figuratively, “bathos” speaks of a great or an extreme degree of anything that is inexhaustible. So the Spirit searches the depths of God—that is, the inexhaustible, infinite, immeasurable depths of God and his being. He’s able to know it all. Verse 11—“No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” That is the same Spirit that Jesus possesses. It’s the same Spirit in whom he rejoices here—verse 21. It’s the same Spirit of truth who testifies in agreement with what Jesus says here.
The only persons with access to this entire sphere—universal knowledge, divine knowledge, which is an infinite universe of knowledge—are divine Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There’s a mutuality of this knowledge: The Father knows the Son, the Son knows the Father. There’s a reciprocity of full comprehension. There’s an interpenetration of the Father and the Son, the knowledge that they have—full, complete understanding going both ways—an understanding that none but a divine essence can comprehend. And there’s also an exclusivity here, which means the circle is so tight between the Father and the Son that no one is getting in apart from God’s decision.
So the Father and the Son share absolute authority; they possess infinite knowledge. Now thirdly—third point for your outline—the Father and Son exercise sovereignty. They exercise absolute sovereignty. Jesus praised the Father for his sovereign prerogative. What was that prerogative back in verse 21? Hiding saving truth from the proud and revealing saving truth to the humble. “Yes, Father, for thus was it your good pleasure.” But now Jesus says the sovereign prerogative to reveal things—saving truth things—has been handed over to him. Jesus claims divine sovereignty. “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the son,” and then, “and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal them.” Jesus praises God for his sovereign prerogative to conceal and reveal.
And now we find out that Jesus possesses the sovereign prerogative to reveal the knowledge of the Father to whomever he chooses. It’s the word “boulomai”—referring to his willing it, his willing, his decision, his determination. That’s what Jesus told the Apostle John—Revelation 3:7—“The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.” Jesus possesses the sovereign prerogative of God, so that Father and Son together possess equal right to accomplish the divine decree. God the Father has chosen and God the Son executes the divine decree to reveal knowledge of the Father to those who he’s chosen. Amazing claims! Amazing!
We do also recognize that these are not surprising claims based on what we’ve been reading. We’ve actually been prepared for this by what Luke has written so far. What we’re reading now makes perfect sense based on everything we’ve read, everything we’ve learned about Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. We’ve been prepared to receive them this way. Sharing divine authority, the Son has the right to reveal. Possessing divine omniscience, the Son has the ability to reveal. Exercising divine sovereignty, the Son has the freedom to reveal.
Last point—this is what connects these truths to us as guilty sinners standing before a holy God—number four: Father and Son grant knowledge of salvation. What a blessed truth! Father and Son grant knowledge of salvation. Regardless of who you are, what your status is in this life, how strong or weak you are, how rich or poor—regardless of where you stand on the social scale or you intend to climb, whether you’ve given up climbing—whoever you are and whatever has brought you in here this morning, all ground is level at the Cross.
Where do you stand before a holy God even if you have one sin? One. Jesus said, “All the law and the prophets are summarized in two commandments,” right? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Let’s just say, for sake of argument, like the rich young ruler, “All these things I’ve kept since I was young.” “All these things I’ve kept.” Well, I call you deceived. David says—Psalm 51—“In sin my mother conceived me.” “I’ve been errant from the womb,” David says. Okay, so let’s just grant that you’re the exception, and like the rich young ruler, you’ve kept all the law of God perfectly since you came out of the womb. But you have had one momentary lapse—I mean it’s so small you can’t even call it a millisecond lapse in loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let’s just suppose. Do you know that that one little slip-up, that one inconsistency, is enough to condemn you to an eternal hell?
Why? Because God, your Creator, is worthy of all honor. He’s worthy of your constant honor, and like everyone—Romans 1—we “fail to honor God as God or give thanks.” So, my friend, join the rest of us in acknowledging that you’re not special, you’re not unique, you’re not going to save yourself. You’re guilty, like the rest of us, and you need Christ, and you need to bow before him. Don’t let pride harden your heart to the reality of what Jesus says here in verse 22, and this point we’re about to make—that the Father and Son grant the knowledge of salvation—because, my friend, you need salvation. This life is going to scream by. It is like vapor disappearing off the cup of your coffee at Starbucks. It’s gone.
Jesus praises the Father—verse 21. He said “because you’ve revealed these things.” The verb “apocalypto”—“to disclose,” “to make known.” “Apocalypto”—“to uncover”—specifically here is in the context of divine revelation. “The Father has revealed these things to little children”—to babes, barely able to walk—weak, powerless. And now we see how the Father does that, in a direct line of revelation from the Father through the Son by the Spirit to his babes—his elect children. “No one knows who the Son is except the Father or who the Father is except the Son, and”—O, by God’s grace!—“anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal them.” You say, “I thought I chose God.” Well, you did, but the Son chose it first. Get in proper line. Don’t cut. It’s not good for you. Let the Son choose first. Give him his due. It’s his prerogative to take divine initiative, to choose whom he chooses.
Verse 23—“Then turning to the disciples he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!’” Why? “Because I’ve chosen you.” These are things pertaining to salvation, to the forgiveness of sins, to a clean conscience before God, to the fulfillment of all righteousness. Those two commandments—keeping them consistently, perfectly, without fail—Jesus did that for all who believe. It’s because of this special revelation, because of the knowledge of salvation that your names—verse 20—have been inscribed, written, stamped, registered in the citizenry of Heaven.
It’s what Zechariah prophesied by the same Holy Spirit at the end of Luke 1, verses 77-79:
*Jesus came [Why?] to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.*
Peace—not just feeling good, not just feeling at ease. All that comes, but no more hostility with God. That kind of peace. Cessation of hostility, no more warfare—that kind of peace. God sent his Son into the world, and the Son has all authority and knowledge and sovereignty, and grace to give the knowledge of salvation to his people and the forgiveness of their sins. According to his own good pleasure, the Father has chosen to dispense his saving knowledge exclusively through his Son. As Jesus said—John 5:25-26: “An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” God is the source of all being, and Jesus just made the claim, there, he’s the source of being. He’s the one who gives life, like the Father gives life. Amazing claims, folks.
And notice how understated this is. It’s without any fanfare or hype. Jesus just says it. He’s on the same level with God—same level. He shares absolute authority. He possesses that same infinite knowledge. He exercises the same degree of sovereignty, and he grants by his own will salvation. Theologian Robert Raymond rightly said, “A higher expression of parity between the Father and the Son with respect to the possession of the divine attributes of omniscience and sovereignty and the dispensing of saving revelation is inconceivable.” He’s right.
Listen—no other religious leader in the history of mankind has made these kinds of claims. Even those who are clearly insane or megalomaniacs or manifestly fraudulent people—they don’t even say this kind of stuff. They don’t claim mutual, reciprocal, exclusive, interpenetrating knowledge with God. I mean, as soon as they say that, and it comes out of their mouth, proves—“Nuh-uh!” You can tell! No one has made claims like this except the only one for whom they are fitting and appropriate—Jesus, the Son of God.
When we come back next week, we’re going to have the joy of discovering the implications for us—humble babes who are blessed with new life, with spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear. Verses 23-24: “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.” You are in an exclusive, privileged position, my friend, if you know Jesus Christ.
By the gracious will of Christ we see, we hear, we understand the knowledge of the truth that leads to our great salvation, by his amazing grace. Jesus has made use of his authority for us, his right to reveal. He’s made a sovereign choice, and in freedom, he has chosen to reveal saving truth to us—to those who repent of our sins and bow our knee in humility and put our faith in him. It’s only by faith in him—this God-man, this incarnate Son of God—that we can be saved.
Divine salvation by faith in Christ, by looking at his work on the Cross—it’s been hidden from the proud, from the wise of the world who through human wisdom and strength can never, ever find their way to God. But that same salvation—faith in Christ, his Cross—has been revealed to humble themselves and believe.
So as we said at the beginning, when we see the true identity of Christ, when we bow before his holiness and cry out with Peter, “Depart from us, O, Lord. We’re sinful people,” he raises us up, though. He lifts us up and lovingly assures us that by faith our sins are forgiven. Our judgment has been meted out in his atoning work on the Cross. In fact, in Matthew’s parallel account, right after this—right after he says this, right after this self-disclosure, this equality with God that he possesses—we find one of the most precious invitations in all of Scripture. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
That invitation is to those who sense that they labor under the cruel yoke of slavery to sin. That invitation is for those who feel the heavy burden of their guilt before a holy God. It does no good for you to say, “I don’t have a burden.” That’s just self-deception. Those who acknowledge that sense of guilt—the sin, the guilt—those who take Christ’s yoke of slavery on themselves willingly, eagerly—to learn from this meek, humble-hearted Master—they will find salvation rest for their souls.