See and Hear
5 December 2017
I love everything about today’s Gospel.
The fact that Jesus was ‘filled with joy by the Holy Spirit’. (I would love to have seen what that looked like.) The fact that Jesus gives praise to the Father for hiding ‘these things’ from the wise and the learned and revealing them to the childlike. (Which means there’s hope for us all! Especially those of us who maybe aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed but nonetheless have our hearts open to God’s grace.)
Then there’s the killer line about the intimacy that exists between Father and Son. This text is sometimes referred to as the ‘Johannine thunderbolt’ because the language here sounds like it has been lifted straight from John’s Gospel:
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.
There is a beautiful tenderness in this expression from Jesus.
The gaze of Jesus and the Father are directed towards each other. There are a number of poignant moments in the Gospel narrative where this reality emerges into view. I’m thinking of the moment when the Spirit descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove and that wonderful voice declares, “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.” (Luke 3.22) Or, at the other end of the journey, when Jesus falls to his knees and prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.” (Luke 22.42)
The intimacy that Jesus shares with the Father becomes the template for the rest of us. Jesus opens the way for us to enter into the same tangible relationship with our Father God. The knowledge of God as Father is not something we can work our way into by our own clever efforts. To grasp the love, power and majesty of the Father is beyond the reach of human comprehension. It takes revelation, and it is Jesus who does the revealing.
The disciples were the first to receive this amazing gift:
Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.
Well here is the good news: We are disciples too.
Jesus wants to reveal the Father to us. He has poured the Spirit into our hearts to do exactly that (Romans 8.14-16). Ask Jesus to reveal the Father to you and be open, in prayer, to the movement of the Spirit in your heart. You might just be surprised by what happens.