Wisdom is the ability to correctly apply knowledge. Most people seek wisdom but most people do not seek true wisdom. In our passage this morning we will discuss the difference between true and false wisdom and examine ourselves to see which wisdom we follow. Luke 10:21 says Jesus 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.
What is true wisdom? Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” True wisdom is the knowledge of Jesus Christ that results in repentance and faith. When Jesus refers to “these things” He is referring to true wisdom.
False wisdom is knowledge that does not recognize or submit to God. False wisdom is wisdom “according to worldly standards” (1 Cor 1:26). It is information that may sound clever, but is foolish because it is not grounded in God.
Jesus makes a shocking statement in our verse when He says that the Father hid these things from the wise and understanding. How did God hide these things? These things are “hidden” in that they are made to appear foolish. The entire meta-narrative of Christianity (creation, fall, redemption, and glorification) appears foolish to the so-called wise. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Those who subscribe to false wisdom reject the “foolishness” of the cross and Jesus. They say that reasonable people do not believe in superstitious deities and that religion and God are merely crutches to help weak people escape accountability.
The gospel is hidden from them in the sense that they have no desire to submit to it because it appears foolish. Their religion is worldly wisdom and human knowledge their god.
Why is it hidden?
God is not surprised at the so-called “wise and understandings” rejection of the gospel. He made it appear foolish by making it depend on grace. 1 Corinthians 1:29 says, He did this “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” Salvation is by grace “through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph 2:8-9). No wonder Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit and thanks the Father, it is of grace!
Consider the alternative for a moment. What if salvation depended upon human knowledge and/or human achievement? Who would be able to merit salvation? And if someone were able to merit salvation through their good works, they would appear before God boasting of their great accomplishments.
But God made His law known “so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God” (Rom 3:19). This is grace because God knows that we would never be able to merit salvation through our works because we are too impure. God knows that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Therefore all who repent and believe “are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:23). Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We must all examine ourselves to determine which wisdom we follow. Do you follow the wisdom of this world or the wisdom of God? How can we know the difference? The wisdom of this world says that everything exists for the happiness of man. Our TVs, our radios, and the internet are constantly focused on the happiness of man. Commercials tell women that if they were a certain size they would get attention and be happy. Advertisements tell men that they can feel like they are 18 again. Companies try to convince us that simply buying their latest product would make our lives easier and happier. Everything exists for the happiness of man. If you live for life simply for your own happiness you are following the wisdom of this world and according to the Bible it is complete foolishness.
But the wisdom of God says that everything exists for the glory of God. The Bible consistently presents the truth of God’s glory and shows us that He is worthy of our love, obedience and service. God created for His glory, sustains by His glory and will one day put an end to this world for His glory. Paul knew this and wrote “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim 1:17). He also wrote, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom 11:36).
If you are not a believer, do you realize that you are following foolish “wisdom”? If you are a Christian, ask yourself this question, “Am I serving Christ so that He will make me happy or am I serving Christ because He is worthy of my love, service, and obedience?”
Questions for Reflection
- What are “these things”?
- Who are the “wise and understanding”?
- Who are the “little children”?
- Why would the Father hide these things from the wise and understanding?
- How does the Father hide these things from the wise and understanding?