When we reach adulthood we like to think we have gotten beyond childhood. But in Luke 10:17-24, we learn that losing that childlike quality isn’t always a good thing.
The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Sometimes it seems to be an advantage to be among the “wise and learend.” In our jobs, or school, or when shopping, for instance. But when it comes to dealing with others or in matters of faith, simple childlike openness is the better mindset, says Jesus.
What Jesus is telling us in this passage from the Gospel of Luke is that the truth is buried not in the complexities but revealed in the simplicities. What has been hidden from the wise and learned has been revealed to the childlike. Faith comes to such as these. This is the truth of our faith. God reveals it not to the schemer who seeks to do evil but to the childlike who seeks to do God’s will, to do good.
When the scribes and Pharisees schemed to take down Jesus, he revealed the truth not to them but to His disciples, who were – in a childlike way – open to revelation. So it is with people today. If we can be more childlike rather than like the Pharisees, if we can be open to learning and loving instead of scheming and mistrusting, God’s truth will be revealed to us.
Truly, blessed are the eyes that see the Son revealed by the Father and the Father revealed by the Son. Many prophets and kings desired to see what we can see when we are childlike, when we are open minded and, more important, open hearted.
I remind you again of Jesus’ message that the most important commandments are about love. Be open to it. Think like the child, who opens his or her soul to the parent for an embrace and who seeks the innocent love of companions. Love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Then you can rejoice because your name will be written in heaven.