ISSUE: 2013, Volume 10, Issue 3
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All of us have received invitations that provoke questions such as, ‘Who sent it?’ ‘What am I invited to?’ and ‘How should I respond?’ In Matthew chapter 11 verses 28-30, the Lord Jesus gives an invitation, a command even, that can be summarized in four words: Come, Take, Learn, and Find.
Matt. 11. 28-30, ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’ ESV.
The Lord Jesus gave the command of ‘Come’ in opposition to the word ‘do’, which was often used by the religious leaders of the day. He says, ‘Come to me’ not to a building, organization or religion but to Him. The tender care and compassion of God reaches out, and says ‘come’. Just as a loving parent will hold out open arms for their young child who is scared, in danger, or needs comfort to run into, so the Lord Jesus, in like manner says ‘Come, trust me’.
The Lord commands all people, regardless of age, wealth, social class, or intellectual ability, to come. Those who are working to be right with God can cease from that labour and come. Those who are burdened with thoughts of judgement, and eternity can come. They can come because He, through His life, death, and resurrection has secured for all who will come to Him a righteous standing before God.
Those who come to the Lord will take His yoke upon them. The yoke was a piece of farming equipment that could be used to bind two animals together. It was made of wood to fit the neck and shoulders of the particular animal that was to wear it. The term ‘yoke’ is a metaphor for submission. The one that had the yoke on him was under the control, direction, and authority of the yoke owner.
The yoke of false works-based religion was heavy and burdensome to those who heard Him. ‘Be free from that yoke’ was His call. Not ‘free to live as I want’, but ‘free to live as I should’. The Lord promised, v. 30, that, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light’. He who loves us and knows us completely has just the yoke that is tailor-made for our lives and needs. The burden of doing His will is not a heavy one, 1 John 5. 3.
Paul could speak to an assembly of Christians, who were attracted by the philosophical intellectuals of the day, and tell them they did not need to be instructed by them as ‘we have the mind of Christ’, 1 Cor. 2. 16. Through the Bible, and by the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, the believer can know God’s thoughts on life, eternity, business, family, marriage, and relationships.
In Luke chapter 10 verses 39-42, an incident is recorded where Martha complains about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, and not helping to serve. He reminds Martha that, ‘Mary has chosen what is better’ - to learn from Him!
The Lord’s gives a definite promise of spiritual rest to everyone who comes to Him in repentance and humble faith. He gives rest. The rest of a conscience no longer troubled; the rest of a conscious friendship and union with God; the rest of fears dispelled; the rest of forgiveness received into the heart.
In Christ we find rest. There is rest in submission, in relinquishing the control of our life; peace in saying, ‘Take the reins, rule, and guide me’. Learning from Him enables a greater knowledge of the rest He alone can give.
There is none so good that they need not come, and there is none so bad that they cannot come. The on-going mark of the blessed life after coming is submission to Him, learning from Him, and finding rest in Him.