‘At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.’ Matthew 11:25
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1–18
‘At that time Jesus answered.’ If you will look at the context you will not perceive that anybody had asked him a question, or that he was indeed in conversation with any human being. Yet it says, ‘Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father.’ Now when a man answers, he answers a person who has been speaking to him. Who, then, had been speaking to him? Why, his Father. Yet there is no record of it; which should just teach us that Christ had constant fellowship with his Father, and often did his Father silently speak into his ear. As we are in this world even as Christ was, let us catch this lesson. May we likewise have silent fellowship with the Father; so that often we may answer him. And when the world knows not to whom we speak, may we speak to God and respond to that secret voice which no other ear has heard, while our own ear, opened by the Spirit of God, has attended to it with joy. I like the Christian sometimes to find himself obliged to speak out or, if not to speak out, to feel an almost irrepressible desire to say something though no one be near, because a thought has been brought to him by the Holy Spirit, a suggestion has just been cast into the midst of his soul by the Holy Spirit, and he answers to it. God has spoken to him and he longs to speak to God—either to set to his seal that God is true in some matter of revelation, or to confess some sin of which the Spirit of God has convinced him, or to acknowledge some mercy which God’s providence has given, or to express assent to some great truth which God the Holy Spirit has then opened to his understanding. Keep your hearts, my brethren, in such a state, that when God speaks to you, you may be ready to answer.
For meditation: Where the specific promptings of the Holy Spirit are recorded in Scripture, the hearers were in a prepared and receptive state of mind (Acts 10:9,19,20; 13:2). Like Martha (Luke 10:39–40), Christians are sometimes too busy or distracted to be aware that God is speaking.
Sermon no. 394
26 May (1861)