Matthew 21:16-17 (Out of the Mouths of Babes)

What was Jesus’ response to the religious leaders’ indignation at the children’s hosannas?  See Mat 21:16.  Was it the case that those who were indignant had never read the passage Jesus quoted?  Although they had surely read it, had they taken to heart the spirit of its meaning?  Why not?  Is it possible for a person to have an outward appearance of godliness but whose heart is not truly repentant?  See Mat 7:15, 13:20-22,24-25, 2Ti 3:1-5, 4:3-4, etc… In what way are many Christians today like that in reading the Scriptures but missing or neglecting the real spiritual intent?  Again, why is that?  Which is easier on one’s flesh: to have a form of godliness, or to be truly godly?  How will a person who in his heart loves the world and the things in the world more than God understand the Scriptures when he reads them through the rose-colored glasses of his worldly perspective?  Is it possible that we are like that, and if so, what is the remedy?  Think: is the goal of our Christian life to just be religious, or to be holy?  To understand God’s word certainly requires our intellect, but is that all?  Should we ever suppose that understanding the truth is only an intellectual exercise?  Is it not also and even more so a matter of spiritual discernment?  Instead of the rose-colored glasses of the world, what glasses must we have on as we read the Scriptures?  Should we suppose that one is able to discern the spiritual truth of God’s word unless he is filled with and led by the same Spirit of God who breathed them?  And where does the Holy Spirit of God lead one?  Therefore, if one is unwilling to be led by the Holy Spirit of God into a place of holiness, should we be surprised that he will have no spiritual understanding and discernment about what the Scriptures really mean?

What does Jesus’ response indicate about how old the children who were crying out in the temple might have been?  Note that the Hebrew word used in Psa 8:2 that translates the NAS infants is most often translated children or little ones; likewise nursing babes refers only to a nursing child, not necessarily to a baby in arms.  Should we suppose then that those referred to in the Psalm could not yet speak?  Cf. 1Sa 1:21-28, 2:11, Jer 6:11, Lam 2:11, 4:4.  Is it just mature adults who are capable of offering praise and truly worshiping God?  What does it mean that God has prepared praise for Himself out of the mouths of little ones?  Note that the word used means to complete, make perfect; cf. the KJV as well as Mat 4:21 where the same word is used for mending nets (i.e., perfecting or making them whole); see also 1Co 1:10, 2Co 13:11, 1Th 3:10.  What does this teach us about the importance of including children in our worship of God?  Think: is the worship God desires complete without them?  From the very circumstances described, what is so often lacking from the religious worship of adults that very young children are able to perfect and make complete?  See again Mat 11:25, 1Co 1:27, and cf. 1Ti 1:5.  What does this teach us about the importance of worshiping together as a family?

What does the rest of Psalm 8:2 that Jesus quotes say is the reason that God has ordained praise from very young children for Himself, and what is its significance in the present context?  In the day of judgment, will the enemies of God have any excuse to rely upon when even the youngest and most unlearned can recognize His righteous acts of goodness and respond appropriately?  What warning does this and the first four words of Mat 21:17 give us?  Will Christ tarry forever with those who in stubborn rebellion refuse to acknowledge what even young children know to be true?  What implication does this have for the sages of this age who deny creation and God’s obvious existence?  See Rom 1:20.  Where does Matthew say that Jesus left them and departed for to spend the night?  Cf. Mar 11:11-12.  What night would this have been?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *