Updated: Jul 17, 2021
A Blessed Evening
Last evening we had our annual visit to the Ocean Grove Pavilion to share in song and in the ministry in the Word. Ocean Grove has truly become one of our (Deb and I) favorite places to go. I always look forward to the opportunity to go there and share from God’s Word. Ruthie B, our music director at NDC, did a great job engaging those that were there in the song ministry and I shared from a passage that I would like us to consider over the next few blogs. In Matthew 11:28 – 30 we have Jesus’ very familiar words when he extends this invitation to His listeners, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, the load is light,” (NASB). In Matthew 11 we see the religious leaders have rejected Jesus as their possible Messiah. Right before Jesus shares these words that we read He prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for those that were receiving the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He thanked God for the fact that that it wasn’t the proud and arrogant that were receiving the gospel, but rather it was blind and needy, babies and children.
The word “come” is an expression of Jesus’ divine nature. In the Old Testament God had said to the nation of Judah in Isaiah, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool,” (Isa.1:18 NIV). “Come” is one of the sweetest words in the Bible. It is a word that is full of music, in the style of invitation. There are lights and shadows of our Redeemer’s life on earth and His desire for us to come to Him and to know Him. When Jesus invites His audience to come to Him with their weariness and their heavy burdens, I believe that culturally and religiously He is speaking about the burden and yoke of the Old Testament law. Remember there are some 613 laws in the Old Testament, plus the Pharisees and scribes had added all kinds of traditional rabbinical restrictions in teaching so that the religion had become massive and very demanding. I believe that it was to those that were laboring laboriously trying to please God that Jesus spoke these words of invitation. The phrase, “the yoke of the law” was very commonplace phrase within Judaism. In the midst of those heavy ladened and burdened people Jesus gives a simple invitation to “come”.
Even in the church today it is possible for us to lay a heavy burden on people in calling them to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We may even give people the impression that it is their service that makes them acceptable to God. When in actuality Jesus invites us to come to Him in our weariness and brokenness. To find rest in Jesus is to find comfort and refreshment in Him and to sit in His school of wisdom. “Rest” is such a sweet invitation that demands our response. We can have all kinds of weariness and all kinds of burdens, but when we come to the Lord Jesus Christ, He is the one who can lift our burdens in our brokenness. Last night I shared two areas where Jesus has come to give us rest and peace. First of all, Jesus came to give us rest from the dietary restrictions of the Old Testament law (see Mark7:14-20). I am very thankful that I am not under the restrictions and demands of dietary laws in the Old Testament. Two of my favorite foods are seafood and bacon, much of which I could not eat according to the Old Testament restrictions. Jesus also came to give us relief and rest from the sabbatical legalism that was being practiced in Judaism in the first century. In fact in the very next chapter of Matthew’s gospel (Matt. 12) we see a very clear illustration that we are not under the sabbatical legalism of the Pharisees and scribes.
Our Jesus is the one who invites us to come to Him with our burdens and our weariness. I’m so glad that in the midst of a very difficult ministry season that I can come to the Lord Jesus Christ and take His yoke upon me as He walks with me through this very difficult and challenging time. We are not without a yoke, and we are to take Jesus’ yoke on our shoulders and let Him carry the burdens that we so frequently try to bear on our own. Have you found the rest and peace that is available through Jesus Christ alone? If you haven’t, know for sure that Jesus is inviting you to come to Him and experience His amazing grace and love.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Rich Sivo