Response and Rebuke
November 1, 2021
But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant and said to Him, "Do You hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise'?" Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there (Matthew 21:15-17).
The miraculous healing of the blind and lame in the Temple courtyard infuriated the Chief Priests and Scribes. Their theology stated that people were physically challenged, diseased and demon possessed because of personal sin - it was God’s judgment upon them. Jesus, as the proclaimed Son of David and Messiah of God, healed these people. Though the priests said it was through the power of Satan that Jesus healed, clearly it was the power of God that healed them. God forgave the people. The priests condemned them and Jesus who healed them.
In their furious anger, the Chief Priests confronted Jesus and demanded an explanation as to why He would not stop the healing ministry and the cries of the young boys who declared Him to be the Messiah. His answer is classic. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise’?” How so?
First, Jesus quotes Scripture. Reminiscent of the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness at the hand of Satan (Matthew 4), each temptation was countered by the truth of God’s Word. Jesus knew Satan controlled the priests. He knew the confrontation was not between a preacher and the priests, but between the Son of God and Satan. These men had followed Jesus everywhere. And every time they confronted and condemned Him for His ministry, He rebuked them with the Word of God. Even though they called Him the servant of Satan, they were being exposed as the servants of Satan.
Second, the words ‘babes’ and ‘nursing infants’ refer to young children under the age of 3. The young boys chanting Hosanna to the Son of David were older than that, most likely teenagers. The point? Even if God could give voice to those under the age of 3, they would cry out the praise of Christ as the Son of God and Messiah. In Luke’s account of the triumphal entry (19:37-40), as the people cried out, Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! and the Pharisees demanded Jesus rebuke the people, He responded, I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. In other words, Jesus Christ will be praised. And if the priests will not praise Him for who He truly is, then all nature will!
“Father, thank You that You will not permit the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be silenced from the lips and ears and hearts of men, women, boys, and girls. Though the heretics, politicians, and Christless religionists curse the name of Jesus, all creation cries out His blessed name. May we never fear those who seek to silence the name of Jesus, but may we more boldly proclaim Him Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior of sinful men. Amen.”