Under what burden do you labor? Doubt? Anxiety over finances? Physical disabilities? Busy-ness? Sin? Ignorance? Temptations?
In Matthew 11:28-30, sometimes called the “Great Invitation”, Jesus calls us all to “Come” to Him – the Road to Recovery. This road to recovery includes three commands, one promise, one Savior.
“Come” (vs 28)
Jesus commanded Peter to “come” in Matthew 14:29.
Jesus commanded the rich young ruler to “come” in Matthew 19:21.
Jesus commanded the man with the withered hand to “come” in Mark 3:3.
Jesus commanded His disciples to “come” and rest in Mark 6:31.
Jesus commanded the Samaritan woman to “come” in John 4:16.
Where should we come? “To Me.” Why should we come to Him? Because He just said in verse 27 that no one can know the Father except through Him.
Who should come? “all who are weary and heavy laden.” These are weary from working/laboring excessively. “Heavy laden” refers to bearing a burden that is quite burdensome.
Martin Luther, the great reformer, was very gloomy for a long, protracted period of time. His wife, “Kate”, tried to cheer him up in every way she knew. At last, she put on her widow’s garments and went around the house in deepest mourning. When Luther observed this, he asked, “Who is dead?” “God,” she replied. “Don’t talk so foolish!” retorted the great reformer. “Well, my dear doctor,” answered Kate. “You are so downhearted that I concluded God must be dead, and so I put on my mourning apparel.” Luther understood the lesson. Do you?
“I will give you rest.” – The rest to which Jesus refers is not the ceasing of all work/labor since He will go on to tell us to take up His yoke. Rather, it is a rest that allows us to feel refreshed and to go back to work.
“Take” (vs. 29). Take what? “My yoke.” At least twice in the Scriptures “yoke” refers to the Law of Moses and its requirements – Acts 15:10 & Galatians 5:1. The yoke joins the oxen together so that if one lies down, the other lies down; if one stands still, the other stands still; if one moves forward, the other moves forward. Jesus calls us to take His yoke – He bears one side, we bear the other side. As long as we walk along with Him, the yoke will be easy and light.
“Learn” (vs 29). From whom? “Me.” All the well-known moral reformers, every great philosopher, all the preachers and teachers of ethics in the history of the world have pointed to some ideal beyond himself. But Jesus Christ pointed to Himself.
When Socrates was asked by one of his disciples what he should ask of the gods, Socrates told him to “wait for some greater teacher.” When Buddha was asked by his dying follower, Ananda, for help and consolation, Buddha said, “Be a lamp to yourself and a refuge for yourself.” But we all know that we are personally insufficient to be our own guide, our own wiseman, our own advisor.
“For I am gentle and humble in heart” (vs. 29). That’s what we need to learn from Jesus – to be gentle and humble. In the context, if the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had been humble in heart, they would have responded to the teachings of Jesus.
The road to recovery from the burdens we carry is to come to Jesus in humility. He will give us rest.