Gullibility vs Humility
Jesus once prayed, “I praise you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants” (Luke 10:21). The casual reader might assume that Jesus is saying that simple-minded folks are the ones gullible enough to believe the gospel message. To the contrary, Jesus’ point is that humble people with honest hearts are open to His teaching while self-important human philosophers find it foolish.
The apostle Paul expounded on this principle in 1 Corinthians chapter 1. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and faith in Him is the basis of our salvation. “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (v. 18).
Many first century Jews thought they had the plan of God all figured out; they expected Messiah to throw off the domination of the Romans and bring back the glory days of David and Solomon. For Jesus of Nazareth to be executed by the very government they thought He should have defeated was inconceivable to them.
Many of the Greeks of Paul’s day were no better. When Paul introduced the Philosophers in Athens to Jehovah God, he concluded his remarks by saying, “He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Verse 32 continues, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this.”
Secular human philosophy can be useful in disciplines like government, education and business. But when men look inward to answer such questions as where did we come from, why are we here and where are we going, their conclusions are little more than empty speculations. Only our Creator can answer those questions for us, but only those who humbly acknowledge their limitations will be receptive to His revelation. The world is full of folks who, professing to be wise, have become fools (Romans 1:22).
Jesus was emphasizing the importance of having the humility of children (Matthew 18:2-4). The last thing He wants of His disciples is the gullibility of children. Paul made it clear in Ephesians 4:14-15 that “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” The key is for us to place our trust in the wisdom of God, not the philosophies of men.