Thursday, April 23

Come to Me

Scripture: 1 Samuel 28-29, Psalm 109, Matthew 11

Matthew 11:28–30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Observation

This is one of my favorite sayings of Jesus.  

First, notice the commands. 

  • “Come to me.”  Jesus offers Himself as the remedy to our weary and burdened lives. Seeking relief and answers?  Come to Jesus.  
  • “Take my yoke upon you.”  A yoke was placed on beasts of burden (oxen, cattle) so they could pull a heavy load (a plow, a cart).  When animals were yoked together, often a strong one was yoked with a weak one, or a young one with an older one.  In Jesus’ day, the yoke was used as a metaphor for the Jewish Law, and also for discipleship.  That’s how Jesus uses it here.  To take His yoke is to become His disciple, His follower, which is made clear in the next statement.
  • “Let me teach you.”  Earlier, Jesus said that the Father reveals Himself to the childlike, meaning those who are humble and eager to learn.  We’re to come to Jesus as childlike learners.  

Second, notice the promises.

  • “I will give you rest.”  Jesus is speaking to “all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens.”  Perhaps Jesus was thinking of the “heavy loads” the Pharisees placed upon them, the burden of religious rules and regulations (Matthew 23:4).  If so, Jesus doesn’t offer more religion, but rest from religion!
  • “You will find rest for your souls.”  This promise is repeated.

Third, notice the truths.

  • “I am humble and gentle at heart.”  This is a remarkable saying!  You’d expect Jesus to say, “Let me teach you, because I know it all, I have authority, I am the Messiah!”  Instead, He says that He is humble and gentle at heart.  Have you ever thought of God being humble?  I define humility as knowing who you are and being completely comfortable with that.  You don’t have to prove yourself, defend yourself.  Nothing is beneath you because you know who you are!  Jesus is a good teacher precisely because He is humble and gentle.  
  • “My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  In contrast to the Pharisees’ “heavy load”, following Jesus is easy and light!  The Greek word for “easy” means “fit for use, comfortable (not causing discomfort), pleasant.”  When applied to a yoke, it meant that the yoke fit the animal and caused it no discomfort.  There is a legend that Jesus made the best yokes in Galilee, and that it was said that Jesus’ yokes fit perfectly—they were easy.  Jesus is saying that He doesn’t load us down with religious burdens that are impossible to do, but calls us into a relationship with Him that makes life doable.  

Application

Let’s do what Jesus says here: let’s come to Him, follow Him, and learn from Him.  Let’s be disciples!  That’s the way to rest, to refreshment and to thriving!

Prayer: Lord, when I get weary or discouraged, remind me of Your wonderful invitation: Come to Jesus!  Help me follow You and find rest!