“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:28-30)
In stark contrast to my last article, indeed, there is a place for work, for service, for ministry… However, like my closing remark, we can become like Martha, so focused on the task at hand that we forget to come to the feet of Jesus, as does Mary. As such, those like “Martha” can, and most likely do, become weary and burdened. Yet, as Jesus reminded Martha, he does so here in Matthew, “Come to him and find rest.”
What is interesting though is the prayer that Jesus offers prior, Jesus thanks God the Father for this mysterious truth hidden to the wise and intelligent, and revealed it to those, as infants. What is Jesus talking about? What is this hidden mystery? Simply, I think, this hidden truth, this mystery, is the Gospel, the good news, which Paul says is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. (1 Cor. 1:23)
Understanding this, we would be careful not to misunderstand Jesus’ words in Matthew, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” Rather than the immediate thought of the hardship and weight of the Christian life, Jesus points to something I think many Christians have lost touch with—the simplicity of Jesus.
In a world which is growing ever more complex, the simplicity of the Gospel and the life it brings has a renewed opportunity to shine through. The Church, more than ever, if it seeks to be meaningful in today’s society needs to stop trying to keep up with the times and set a new rhythm. This generation is over-stimulated, bombarded, over-powered by simply too much information and they are, simply, confused.
This past weekend, this truth has grown all the more significant. On Saturday, I had the privilege of sharing the Gospel at an event at church. On Sunday, I spoke to a teenager about his struggles with faith, point in case, confused by all the different messages the world has been throwing at him. My appreciation, rather, I should say, my burden for the preaching and spread of the Gospel is growing.
If you might permit me a small tangent: It was interesting, a brother found me in the library at church praying before I was to speak on Saturday. He wondered why I was so nervous, given that I usually appear quite composed before delivering a sermon/message. I am never composed or comfortable before the delivery of a sermon/message. Rather, each time that I am to speak on God’s behalf, I tremble and fear that I would do injustice and commit heresy in my words. However, it is in only this state that I can surrender myself to the Spirit of God, praying that He will use me. How much more when I am speaking of this great mystery, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, do I, and should I, tremble and fear that I present it clearly and adequately. Therefore, when I stand and speak with composure and clarity, then I boast of, not my own strength but, the power of the Spirit of God who honours my offering of self to His glory.
My dear friends, my brothers and sisters. If I might encourage you, if I might urge you, if I might speak a word on behalf of my Lord: if you are weary and burdened, come to Him, come to the Lord Jesus Christ and find rest. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. There is one illustration I do not want to shy away from. To take upon someone’s yoke is, essentially, to be enslaved, yes enslaved, and submit to one’s lordship. The contrast here is to the yoke of sin. In grave contrast to the yoke of sin, the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ, is light. Yet, unlike sin, life under the lordship of Jesus does not drive us to despair; rather, drives us to hope.
Paul’s words to the Ephesians:
In him [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. (Eph. 1:7-9)
Originally, I set out to share with you my own struggles: tired, burdened, and stressed. Yet, my own situation reflected in the light of Scripture and the desire of my heart seen in this meditation. These words are an encouragement to myself and my struggles pale in comparison to the greater joy found in my Lord. I know and testify to the rest found in the Lord Jesus Christ, if only we would stop and submit ourselves to Him. I might rant and rave about my struggles, but it is only in these moments when I stop and submit to Him that this truth comes to life. So, my brothers and sisters, I urge for you to do likewise. In the busyness and complexity of life, come to a place of quietness, slow down and look upon the Lord Jesus Christ. In the words of the old hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.