At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I am always amused by this prayer of thanksgiving by Jesus where he says, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.” From other statements that our Lord has made elsewhere we know that the “things” he is talking about are the “secrets of the kingdom of heaven” (see Matthew 13:10-17). This does not disqualify the wise and the intelligent from discovering kingdom secrets; however they will do so only if they become like little children.
But what quality of the child do they need to adopt? Innocence? Helplessness? Ignorance? Well, perhaps to a certain extent, but I believe the main mark of a child that Jesus is looking for is trust. Unless this trust is violated, a child will believe what you tell them is the gospel truth. Of course they will have a hundred questions — I have rarely met a child who didn’t ask questions — but the questions are asked out of a desire for knowledge and information, not a desire to challenge or confront you. And when we approach Jesus like this, trusting he is speaking the truth, but wanting deeper clarity about something he will give it to us.
Let me explain how this works, so you can try it out. After this prayer that the Lord Jesus makes to his Father, he invites us to come to him. “Come to me,” he says, “all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Now, if you are a person schooled in Scripture, you will apply hermeneutics and exegesis and other such tools in interpreting what he said. That’s fine; there’s a purpose for that.
But for people like us who haven’t got a theology degree, the easier method is to simply go to Jesus with the trust of a child and ask him what he means. Now, since Jesus’ method has always been to ask questions, he’d probably say: “Are you tired? You look tired. Why are you so tired? “Dunno,” you answer. “Life is tiring, I guess. It’s a constant struggle. Everything weighs me down. I feel very alone in it.” “That’s because you are alone,” he says, before asking another question. “Have you ever seen a cow plowing a field?” “In pictures,” you reply. Where you come from you have never seen a cow, much less a cow plowing a field.
“It’s hard work,” he says, “plowing a field alone. But get another cow, put a yoke upon both of them, and see how much easier the work becomes. Besides, it becomes fun for the cow too.” He looks at you and smiles, because he knows you are beginning to understand. HE is giving you the understanding. “You don’t have to walk alone, you know,” he continues. “Take my yoke upon you. Not only will your burden become light because I’m a pretty strong dude, but the going will be fun too.” “Ok,” you nod, then ask. “But is there more to this?” “Oh, yes. Plenty more. Walk with me, I’ll tell you.” And he puts his arm around your shoulder — that’s his yoke — and you walk into your future together.
Our faith is really simple, you know. Be like a child, and it all becomes easy to understand.