Matthew 21:14-17: The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” 17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
The children in the temple were probably the 12 year old boys who came up to their first Passover. They heard the chants on the Mt. of Olives, and now they take up the chant once more in the temple when they see the miracles that Jesus did. Did they know what they were saying? Perhaps and perhaps not. But the leaders of the Jews knew what they were saying. These words were meant to welcome the Messiah, and they wanted Jesus to silence them. They could put up with the noisy money changers and sellers in the temple, but the praise from the children grated on their unbelieving ears. They were “indignant,” which means they were really angry when they heard what the children were saying.
How did Jesus answer them? He answered them with a quote from Psalm 8, which says that in the face of the Lord’s enemies, he determined that he would receive praise from the lips of the children and infants. Psalm 8 is a Messianic psalm which speaks of the person and work of the Savior. The words Jesus quotes to the Jewish leaders fits perfectly with the context of the psalm. Children understood, but Jesus’ enemies did not!
This reminds me of something that happened when I was in grade school. A couple who were atheists sent their two boys to our small Lutheran school, because it had a reputation for good education. At Christmas time, the two boys came to my aunt’s radio and T.V. store and asked her to help them pick out some Christmas records about Jesus. When she asked why they wanted those records, they said, “Because we want our parents to hear about Jesus.” Out of the mouths of infants and children he has ordained his praise!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, there will always be those who do not believe in you and who even speak maliciously against you. But there are also many in whose hearts you have worked a childlike faith and from whom you have ordained your praise. Open my lips, Lord, and let my mouth declare your praise. Amen.