We all have received personal invitations for some event that excites us. A thrilling invitation comes from Jesus in Matthew 11:25-30, and specifically in v. 28: “Come to me…”
The Who of the Invitation
Christ’s invitation to the Galileans was specifically focused but with broader significance. The salvation message was the heart and soul of the gospel presentation of Jesus. It became the theme for the New Testament writers and preachers. It remains the same today. The circumference of the gospel message is as round as the world -“For God so loved the world (Everybody) that He gave His one and only Son” (John 3:16a NIV) – but as narrow and personal as one! Me! “That whosoever (my name) believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16b).
The What of the Invitation
What is important about the invitation? It’s the fact of learning the twin lessons of Gentleness and Humility. No haughty, prideful spirit can come to Jesus, for that robs the person of spiritual sight and insight. Pride’s focus lands on self – never Jesus. Pride says it can determine life itself and needs no help from man or God; it earns its way to heaven while God looks on. The Pharisees limped along at this point. They saw legalism as the vehicle to heaven. They lost sight of God’s desire for the heart. They poured everything into the law of Moses and failed to recognize the God of the law. W. B. Yeats, the Irish poet, wrote: “Can one reach God by toil? He gives Himself to the pure in heart. He asks nothing but our attention.”The legalism of Pharisaism oozed with pride and haughtiness; they felt they were the only true believers in God. That pride and haughty spirit sent Jesus to the cross. They could not deal with His gentle and humble spirit that loved people more than codes. Jesus approaches us with a servant’s gentleness. As His disciples we are to emulate His actions, for He dwells in us. We don’t need to out-muscle God; we invite Him into our hearts. Our first step to salvation is learning that we come to God in utter despair of our own merit and resources. Maybe that’s why Jesus’ first beatitude was: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The Kingdom belongs only to the humble and gentle. That’s what we learn from Jesus!
The Why of the Invitation
We are burdened and weary, but Jesus came to give us rest. Kopiao means to grow weary to the point of exhaustion. I enjoy the games of racquetball. It’s not a game for those opposed to sweat. The two, three, or four players keep their eye on the little blue ball and chase back and forth in a small court, swinging a racquet until someone misses the rubber ball. I’ve often dragged my body into the locker room unable to move another step. The concept of “heavy laden” indicates that, at some point in past experience, a great truck-load was dumped on a worn-out person. One commentator said that weary refers to the internal exhaustion caused by seeking divine truth through human wisdom while heavy laden suggests the external burdens caused by the futile efforts of righteous works. Out of desperation of life’s inability to work out salvation on our own, we turn to Jesus who offers and supplies rest. John MacArthur Jr. suggested that the dictionary’s offer of several definitions parallels the spiritual rest God offers those who trust in Christ. We rest from self-help in trying to earn salvation. That rest includes a cessation from care and burdens that rob God’s people from peace and joy. Rest suggests a settled and fixed relationship. We thus have assurance of full salvation as we secure ourselves in Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. We also enjoy rest that gives confidence and trust to the One in whom we belong. Finally, we are able to rest on Christ – a leaning, reposing, depending upon Him. We depend upon Him to supply our needs!
The When of the Invitation
The inference is Now. Why wait? The freedom or liberation is for all who will take His Yoke upon them for His Yoke is easy; someone translated that “well fitting.” Barclay translated this text as, “The life I give you to live is not a burden to gall you; your task, your life, is made to measure to fit you.”Whatever God sends our way is made to fit our needs and abilities perfectly. God has a task for you and me which fits our measurements. We’ve heard the old story that tells of two orphans. The older boy was carrying his lame brother on his back when a man saw them and asked, “Isn’t that a heavy burden for you to carry?” The boy quickly responded, “Naw, he ain’t heavy – he’s my brother.”The burden which we carry is in love and is light. Now is the time to carry it.
(DGK – copied from PREACHING pg. 42-43, July-August 1987)
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