In our recent blogs, we have been considering Jesus’ invitation to come to Him with our burdens and weariness. Reading again from Matthew’s gospel, “Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light,” (Matt. 11:28-30 NASB). I want us to wrap up our short study by considering the nature of our host, who has so gloriously extended His invitation for us to come to Him. Jesus, first of all, tells us about Himself by referring to Himself as being “gentle”. The gentleness of Jesus is the answer to the violent strife that we see all around us today. In modeling, this attribute for His disciples Jesus teaches us how we are to respond to those who may confront us with hostility and anger. Just as Jesus maintained a gentle attitude in the face of the most horrible suffering and betrayal, even so, we are called to maintain gentleness even when people around us may mistreat us or misrepresent us. The second thing Jesus reveals about Himself is that He is “humble in heart”. Humility is not a character trait that was considered of great value in the first century, nor do we see it in very high esteem in the 21st century. Jesus is not looking for blazing brilliance or dazzling talents in His disciples, but rather He is looking for those who are willing to follow Him and surrender their rights. It takes great humility to surrender our rights fully to Jesus and allow Him to direct all of our steps. Jesus did not choose His disciples from the seminaries of His day or the courts, or the rabbinical schools, but from the seashore and the tax office. Think of Jesus’ dealing with His disciples and how He identified with those who were of low social status. Remember how patiently Jesus taught and instructed His disciples. It is those who know everything that is beyond the point of learning anything. Jesus considered His humility a profound part of His ministry of patience and gentleness with those that He even had a conflict with. How are we doing in this area of humility and reflecting Jesus in the face of these hostile and difficult times?
Finally, we see that our host provides for us “rest”. The word rest in this passage of a durable and lasting rest. It is the rest of the soul that is attached with many permanent blessings. The word “rest” signifies a deepening and abiding peace in the midst of our weary journey. It is at rest that provides for the very core of our being- “our souls”. When we place ourselves in a yoke with Jesus, we have the opportunity to gaze at His amazing character and majesty. Being yoked together with Jesus gives us the opportunity to experience His tenderness and amazingly attractive love that He has bestowed on humanity. It is a spiritual rest to know the one who has created all things and has paid the price for our redemption.
The yoke is an image of one person in a harness with another, in order that they might work together. As I said earlier in our study Jesus hasn’t left us yokeless, we are to share in His burdens and in His joys. The power of God’s salvation is entirely of grace and not of our works. We can’t save ourselves and the realization of this fact brings the greatest liberation possible. Because God has made a plan for us through His Son, we are freed to become all that God has created us to be. When we are yoked together with the Lord Jesus Christ, He directs our steps and brings healing to our weary souls. This “rest” is the greatest rest that we can experience, daily walking and living in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one that offers to abundantly satisfy us and bless our lives as we take His yoke upon us and follow Him. Jesus cordially invites us to “come”, have you accepted this invitation? It is the greatest gift we can ever receive.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo