At that time Jesus declared, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children."
God hides things for us, not from us. Or, more properly, God hides things for those who are childlike and humble, and He hides from the proud and arrogant the things they seek. Here, in these verses from Matthew, Jesus claims that the wise and learned—those who put their trust in their own knowledge—are unable to access what the Father freely and gladly bestows upon those who are “little children,” or what the Greek word implies here which is “toddlers.”
Think of it this way: imagine you are a learned scholar standing before the great libraries at Oxford University, where some of the greatest literary treasures and manuscripts are safeguarded. You’ve been pursuing truth, and you’ve really come to know a lot. So there you are in front of the doors with Jesus standing there as your Host, but the door in front of you is only two feet tall and one foot wide. You’re a grown adult, so you can clearly see there’s no plausible way to get in through that door. And you look up to Jesus with a sense of fury at the absurdity of the door’s smallness, and you insist He show you another entry point. He just smiles, shakes His head, and says, “That’s the only door, in or out.” He refuses to show you another way, and He refuses to acquiesce to your demands that He build another doorway—He is a carpenter, surely?
And then you watch some mother bring her child to Jesus and set the little tike in front of Him. Jesus picks the toddler up, kisses the child and sets the child down in front of the small door, opening it up. You watch in horror as that small child toddles in, half-crawling, half-stumbling about, and you cannot get your mind around why that toddler was given access but you were denied. You look back up to Jesus and question Him: “How could you let that little brat into that famed and hallowed library? It’s liable to puke on something, or misunderstand what it sees there. Heck, the kid can’t even read!” Your fury has led you to forego politeness, now, with the King Himself.
Jesus, ever the kind-hearted gentleman, simply smiles back and says, “My libraries are not baby-proof. In fact, I only let babies in. So, if you want to enter, you’re going to have to get down on all fours, humiliate your own sensibilities about how well-learned you are, and become like that toddler you just saw. I will gladly let you in then, if you would but humble yourself and be as a child.”
You’re baffled at His retort, offended and stung to the core. But you want in, so… and then Jesus pipes up, “By the way, the Father and I read to all Our children. And We explain everything. Only children will sit still to hear a story—adults, We’ve found, only ever want to butt in and change the narrative.”
That’s the sort of thing Jesus is saying here. So, are you that toddler, or have you gotten infected with the world’s need for a big head, which only prevents your entry into the knowledge of Jesus Christ?