The disciples never asked Jesus to teach them to preach or teach, but they did ask, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus was a man of prayer, and his disciples were deeply impressed when they heard Him pray. There are about 25 references to Jesus praying in the New Testament. He prayed in secret and in the company of others. He prayed in different places (on a mountain, in a garden, and on the cross) and at different times (in the daytime, at night, and early in the morning). He prayed before crucial events, after great accomplishments, and while facing the demands of daily ministry. We can benefit greatly as we study and ponder the prayers of Christ.
Scripture records four occasions when Jesus gave thanks. One such instance is found in Matthew 11:25-26 (see above), when He gave thanks to God for hiding spiritual truth from the “wise and prudent” and revealing spiritual truth to “babes.” In this brief prayer Christ highlighted two essential elements in God’s provision of spiritual blessings: man’s humility and God’s sovereignty.
Christ thanked God the Father for hiding spiritual truth from “the wise and prudent,” those who were proud and self-righteous like the Jewish religious leaders. Christ was also grateful that God revealed the truth of the gospel to “babes,” those who were His followers. His prayer of thanksgiving was both a sarcastic rebuke to the prideful and an important reminder to the humble. God alone has the sovereign authority to hide and to reveal spiritual truth.
We find an example of God’s right to conceal and reveal truth at a crucial episode in Christ’s ministry at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13-17). Christ asked His disciples: “Who do men say that I am?” They answered: “Some say you are John the Baptist; others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Christ then probed further: “But who do you say that I am?” Peter spoke up: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus confirmed that Peter rightly understood His identity and gave the reason why: “Flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but my Father who is in heaven.” The truth about Christ and the gospel can only be understood when God opens our spiritual eyes. Let us be grateful for a humble and teachable heart, and let us give thanks for what God has revealed about Christ and what we have received in Him. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.