In the context of Matthew 11, "these things" that God has hidden from the "wise and clever" and revealed to "the childlike" are the meaning of Jesus' miracles and, more broadly, the presence of the kingdom of God (Matt. 11:20). The "wise and clever" were, in particular, the religious leaders and scholars who rejected Jesus. "The childlike" (literally, "infants") were those who followed Jesus even though they lacked theological education and social stature.
Even today, you don't have to look far to find "wise and clever" people who have investigated Jesus and rejected him. Quite a few of these are scholars who share their insights in the books on Jesus that fill the shelves of secular bookstores. But their "Jesus" is rarely the Messiah and Savior of Scripture.
On the contrary, in churches throughout the world today, you can find unsophisticated people who have a childlike trust in Jesus. Though there is much they don't understand, they know how much they need salvation, and they have put their faith in the one and only Savior. To those who trust God, leaning upon him for truth, God reveals the truth of who Jesus is, even today.
Theological education and careful examination of Jesus can bear fruits of faith. But all of us, if we want to know him truly, must at some point come as children, trusting in God as our faithful Father.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you ever let your education or sophistication get in the way of your faith in Jesus? As you come before God, do you approach as a child, aware of your great neediness?PRAYER: Gracious Lord, I must confess that this passage makes me uneasy. If the truth be told, and before you nothing else makes sense, I rather like being wise and clever. I wonder how often I miss your truth because I get too wrapped up in my own thoughts, even my own rationalizations.
Lord, I believe you have given me my mind to be used for your purposes. I am to glorify you with all that I am. This is clear. So help me to use my thinking capacity for you. Even as I engage in theological reflection, may I do so with a sense of humility. As I seek to be a careful thinker, may I do so as a child, depending on you.
O Lord, I want to know you more deeply and truly. Don't let anything in me stand in the way of this deeper knowledge of and relationship with you. Reveal more of yourself to me, I pray. I come before you now, asking, even as a needy child. Amen.
At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike."