Receiving Divine Revelation

How does knowledge come? Through man's wisdom or God's? Here is an important illustration from Matthew 16.

Mt 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Let's take a look at what is going on here. First Jesus asks them, who do men say that I am? And they list several alternatives. These are like theories based on man's wisdom. Then he asks them: Who do you say that I am?

Then Peter, being given a typical multiple choice question on an exam, picks: None of the above. He is saying: none of the theories of men are right, and none of the wisdom of man carries any weight. You are Christ, the Son of the living God!

And then Jesus says [I'm amplifying his remarks] Blessed you are indeed! Blessed because flesh and blood has not revealed it to you. That is you didn't get it from studying the theories of other men, you didn't get it from reading the latest best seller, or the most profound scholarly commentaries. And you didn't figure it out all on your own. Yet you have this knowledge and that's because you got it directly from God in Heaven. [And that's where any real knowledge must come from.]

The contrast between mature and immature is phrased as a comparison between the spiritual and the carnal, or fleshly in 1 Cor. 3

1Cr 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ.

21 have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able.

John 6 touches on this idea also.

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The passage above mentions that the spoken words are life. This is also seen in the passages on Jesus' temptation.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

People are set in their views and cannot be swayed by reason or scripture. But we see here that Divine Revelation, God's wisdom, can overcome and override all of that.

So we are to avoid foolish disputes with those weak in the faith, because unless they can hear directly from God for themselves, nothing will convince them. They are may be swayed by some experience or jostled by a show of power, but mere discourse will have little effect.

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