Jesus Opens His Great Invitation

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth’” (Matthew 11:25).

When all life’s rhetoric, rationalizations, and routines are swept aside, a person is either for Jesus Christ or against Him (cf. Mark 9:40). After performing many miracles (Matt. 4:23–24) and preaching in detail the gospel and sanctification (chaps. 5–7), Jesus more specifically urged people either to accept Him or reject Him. Here begins a final appeal of grace and mercy during His first Galilean ministry.

This opening address to God calls our attention both to Christ’s unique relationship to His Father and to the Father’s sovereignty over all things, including salvation. Through the Holy Spirit, salvation is a divine provision and not a result of human wisdom, purposes, or ability, and Jesus is thankful for that.

Everyone who evangelizes is sometimes disappointed that so few people respond. We wonder how we can make the message clearer or more convincing, and what things we ought to change. But we also should remind ourselves that some will reject the gospel no matter how effectively we seem to present it. If people rebuffed the Lord when He was in their midst, we have to expect some will also refuse our imperfect witness to them.

We are sad and prayerful for those who don’t want the gospel, but like Jesus we must praise our heavenly Father that He has sovereign control over the universe and that His plan for us and others—saved and unsaved—will not be thwarted. Men and women who reject Christ show their sinful disobedience, not any failure by God.

Ask Yourself

Seeing worship as such a natural reaction of Jesus—not in purely religious settings, but right in the middle of any moment—should spurn us on to make godly praise a frequent occupant in our heart and on our lips. How often does worship just well up inside you?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008.