Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned. Yes, Father this was how you were pleased to have it happen.
Every Friday at Sunset Jews around the world gather in the privacy of their homes for the Shabbat meal. It is the most important ritual in Jewish life, based on the 5th Commandment – “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.”
This meal is surrounded by a liturgy that involves the lighting of candles, recitation of prayers that honor God’s creation and Laws, washing of the hands, and a ritual from which Christian communion is derived where the family shares wine and bread.
Another element of the Shabbat ritual is the blessing of the children. At this time one or both parents place their hands on the child’s head and recite a short blessing. Then, it is a custom to whisper something special into the ear of the child, an encouragement or a word of praise for some accomplishment in his or her week, such as a good mark on a test or playing nicely with a kid brother. It’s a special moment between parent and child, a way of connecting in a very personal way.
The way I read this scripture, Jesus is revealing that God has just whispered something into his ear, a special little something to encourage him on his journey. When I read this I feel like I’m sitting in on a very intimate moment between Jesus and his Father God. It is so touching. I can imagine Jesus lifting his head to heaven and smiling. I can sense his delight. At this point we don’t know what God has whispered, but we hear Jesus’ reaction.
What is Jesus’ response to this word from God?
Praise – “Father, Lord of heaven and earth!”
Gratitutude – “I thank you…”
Humility – “….because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned.”
Affirmation – “Yes, Father this was how you were pleased to have it happen.”
When Jesus receives this special prophetic word, he doesn’t just go on about his business. He immediately acknowledges it in this special way. In this scripture Jesus teaches us how we should respond when God blesses us with a special blessing – a word of encouragement, a good medical report, a financial blessing, a reconciliation, a glorious sunrise, a new job, a revelation, a new birth, a brush with death, a day of fun, an act of kindness.
We shouldn’t just take it for granted and go on about our business. We should stop everything and tell God how much we appreciate what has just happened. We should respond to God with praise, gratitude, humility, and affirmation. Jesus provides us with this model for how we should react to a blessing from God, just as gives us the Lord’s Prayer as a model for how we should pray.
But it doesn’t end here. What does he do next? Offer a sacrifice at the temple? Build a memorial on the spot where it happened? Light a candle? Write it down so he won’t forget? Jesus shows us the next step tomorrow. Stay tuned.
What does this scripture say to you?