A Cluster of Questions
“Why would Jesus not reveal the Father to everyone? Hasn’t the Father been revealed to everyone? And what does Jesus mean when He says, ‘Priests and kings have longed to see and hear the things that you see and hear…?”
As I opened my inbox last Friday I found these inquires from Luke 10, posed by a young lady within BLDG 28. This morning I got around to answering the questions and knowing that many of you have similar questions, I decided to post this blog for you to mull over.
In Luke 10:22 Jesus makes this declaration: “…no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” In accord with His providential purpose, no one knows the Son except God the Father. This is how things would continue to be, with no one understanding who the eternal Son was, had not the Father sovereignly orchestrated Jesus’ coming to earth. Through the incarnation, the atonement, and the resurrection, the Father revealed His Son to humanity.
Conversely, no one can truly know the Father, unless Jesus, who is intimately connected to His Father, chooses to reveal Him. In John 14:9 Jesus says to Philip, “Whoever has seen me, has seen my Father.” Biblically it is clear that truth cannot be spiritually discerned through unaided human reason. The general revelation of the Father is seen through the first coming of Christ. However, mankind rejects the Father and His Son, blaspheming the Holy Spirit in the process. People do not see the worth of Jesus, nor the true love of the Father. Jesus spoke of the darkened state of the human heart and will in John 6:44: “No one can come to me unless the Father who has sent me draws him.” Owing to our mental, emotional, and volitional incarceration in sin, further action is necessary by the merciful One. Through the power of regeneration (2 Timothy 1:9; John 3:3-7; Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:13; Titus 3:5) the Holy Spirit illuminates the mind, awakens the heart, and softens the will of sinners. Following this miraculous event, the sinner then turns to Jesus, embracing Him by faith (John 3:15-16; John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9). The culmination of this process is that by the regeneration of the Spirit, and justification through the Son, we have reconciliation with the Father. This is what Jesus was stating in this passage. The Father knows the Son and sends Him into the world to be known. The Son knows the Father and not only lives, dies, and rises to reveal His glory, but actually opens the door through which the Spirit of God works to bring people to Jesus and unite them to the Father.
As for your question, why would Jesus not reveal the Father to everyone? He has done this generally through the means mentioned above. Everyone has the opportunity before them to look to Jesus and live. However, Scripturally they will not do this (Romans 3:11). Therefore, Jesus reveals Himself salvifically through the Spirit of God to the elect of God. Why does He not reveal Himself to all men savingly, thereby securing their eternal redemption? The obvious and final answers are (1) because that is not the Father’s decreed will (though it is to some degree the desire of His heart [1 Timothy 2:6; 2 Peter 3:9]); and (2) I do not know. Both of these responses, particularly number 2, will irritate many. What we must keep in mind, though, is that while we can Biblically discern, to some extent, the workings of the Triune God in salvation, we cannot begin to fathom the reason why Father, Son, and Holy Spirit chose to save only some – or quite honestly, any at all. Therefore, when cornered with the query of “why does God do…?” the finite answer to such an infinite question is always: because He wants to, and other than that, I have no idea. There is no shame in worshipping and serving a God whose wisdom and ways are inscrutable.
As for your second question: In verse 24 it states that many prophets and kings desired to see and hear “these” things but did not. Why could they not see these things and more specifically, what are these things?
This is a great question, and the answer is incredibly comforting. All prophets (Isaiah, Nahum, Amos, Daniel, etc.) and all Kings (David, Solomon, Josiah, Hezekiah) longed to see the coming of Messiah, and earnestly desired to hear His teaching. Throughout the Old Covenant, saints were brought to salvation by looking forward to and trusting in the promised Messiah (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6). However, there was a veil draped across their understanding, for they did not know all the incredible mysteries that Christ Jesus would unravel (1 Peter 1:10-12; Hebrews 1:1-3; Hebrews 11:13). When Jesus says that prophets and kings longed to see and hear these things, it was the things concerning Himself of which He spoke. He was stating that the disciples, and we as New Covenant believers, are much more privileged than were the Old Testament saints, in that we have seen the only begotten Son of God, we know that the veil separating the people from the Holy presence of the Lord has been torn in two, and we can worship with full knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished on our behalf.