Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ.
Can you remember a time when you failed: a test, in a relationship, a project at work, etc.? What was your prayer to God? Was it a lament like Psalm 13 (“How long, O Lord”)? Or a Psalm of praise like Psalm 100 (“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth”)?
In Matthew, Chapter 11, Jesus prayed the latter. This chapter in Matthew’s gospel is a reflection on the failure of the Galilean mission. Before his prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God, Jesus reassured John’s disciples that he was the One, he compared the present generation to children sitting in the market place, and pronounced woe on Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum!
Jesus praised God for hiding the kingdom from some and revealing it to others.
If Jesus could experience failure in his mission, what about his church? Absolutely.
What is instructive to us is his response. He did not deny the failures or pretend they did not happen. They did. Yet he also was able to see that some did respond to his mission. He called them “infants.” He praised God, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the kingdom to them.
Unlike his spiritual ancestors, Jesus saw God’s will being fulfilled despite rejection and hostility. Elijah fled to the desert. Jo-nah turned and went the other way. John despaired in prison.
In the midst of the Galilean mission, Jesus praised God. He took notice of the “infants” who got his message. They were the unpretentious little ones who made no claims but could be given the gift of revelation, which comes from God alone.
May we, his disciples, hold onto this prayer of praise and keep our hearts open to God’s revelation in our time.
Rev. Joseph A. Johnson