Grace For The Journey
In yesterday’s blog we looked at Matthew 11:25-30 and discovered the first of two great biblical truths regarding the offer of rest to all who come to Christ. We saw the first prerequisite of our Savior’s offer – Jesus is more than willing to reveal the Father to those who humbly come seeking Him, but the truth is given only to the humble and will remain hidden from those who are proud. Today we will look at the second prerequisite of Jesus’ offer of rest.
In these verses we find . . .
The necessity of Jesus’ work in a person’s life through revelation.
Verse 27 states, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” This verse reveals the unique relationship between God the Father and Jesus, God the Son, as well as states the necessity of Jesus’ work in a person’s life in order to be saved. It should remove all pride from anyone seeking God.
Romans 1:18-22 and many other passages make it clear that God has revealed Himself to all mankind enough through creation itself so that all are accountable to Him and without excuse. In addition, Jesus’ teachings were declared openly when He was upon the earth and are freely available to all now in the Bible.
The problem is not that
The revelation of God is hidden,
For it is out in the open
Where anyone can examine it.
In addition, Hebrews 11:6 among other passages
Declares that God will reward
Those that will believe and
Diligently seek after Him.
The problem is that man’s pride
Blinds him to seeing
What is in front of him,
Or as the Bible states it in Romans 11:7, “What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” And in 2 Corinthians 3:14, “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.” … Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Man will not seek God on his own (Romans 3:11).
Who is it that Jesus chooses to reveal the truth? He said in verse 25 that it was to “babes” – these those who have humble and acknowledged their need of God, have received God’s gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, and have ben born-again by the Holy Spirit. We saw this same truth in the Beatitudes. Entrance into the kingdom of heaven is given to those who are “poor in spirit” – Those who know they have nothing to give and nothing to offer God come to Him begging for mercy. God not only grants them mercy, but He also satisfies their hunger and thirst for righteousness. Jesus is more than willing to reveal the Father to those who humbly come seeking Him, but the truth will remain hidden from those who are proud.
Jesus’ reference here is to those who are proud because they think themselves to be wise and intelligent and so refuse to come to God on God’s terms. God will resist such people. At the same time, the humble, who are referred to in this text as “babes,” will be given grace and understanding of what the Father has revealed through Jesus’ preaching and teaching.
In verses 28-30 Jesus describes . . .
1) The Response To The Call.
Those who are humble will respond to Jesus’ offer. The nature of His offer is found in verse 28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus’ offer is a call to all who are weary and heavy-laden to come to Him. Such a call involves a change in direction, and hence a change in life. In a word, it involves repentance.
John Bunyan illustrated this well in Pilgrim’s Progress. Pilgrim is walking the trail with this a huge pack on his back. He is weary and heavy-laden. Suddenly he hears a voice telling him to come over here if he wants to be released from the burden he is carrying. In order for Pilgrim to respond to the call, he must hear and heed the call. If Pilgrim had been proud to the point he was preoccupied with his own plans to get rid of his burden, he would not have even paid attention to the call. If he heard the call, but remained proud and convinced that his own plans were better, he would continue on his journey according to his own wisdom with the burden still firmly attached to his back. He had to be humble to hear and heed the call. He had to recognize that he needed help to get the burden off his back, for only then would he step off his current path and walk in a new direction according to the directions given to him by the call.
The first thing we see about the nature of the offer of rest that Jesus is making is that it is a call. The offer will not do you any good unless you heed the call. If you want rest from your burden, then you must be humble to respond to the call being given.
What is this heavy-burden
That makes man so weary?
It is man’s efforts to deal
With his sin problem by
His own means and methods.
Sin is a heavy burden to begin with which is only compounded when man tries to take care of that sin himself. He is completely incapable of dealing with it on his own and can only make the problem worse. That is one of the reasons I find modern psychology to be so harmful. Man cannot “cure” himself of anything. The most he can do is trade one sinful attitude and practice for another deemed more acceptable to the individual or society, or drugs can be used to control emotions or behavior to within acceptable parameters. The sin may not present itself as obnoxiously as before, but it is still present, so there has been no cure. The drugs can mask the problem so that you can function, but the problem is still there and may be getting worse. It is like giving Tylenol to a cancer patient. The pain is relieved, so you feel better, but the cancer keeps growing. You must deal with the cancer.
A “cure” for sin is only accomplished
When the person in both action and attitude
Does what God desires of him.
The efforts of the Jewish religious leaders of the time only made the burden of sin heavier. Jesus described this specifically in such language in Matthew 23:4 saying of scribes and the Pharisees, “And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.” Peter describes this as well in Acts 15:10 when rebuking those who wanted Christians to follow Jewish religious rituals saying, “. . . why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?”
The same continues to be true today
In all the religious systems that seek
To gain access to God and freedom from sin
In some manner other than coming to Christ
And seeking the rest that only He can give.
When a person hears and heeds the offer and comes to Christ, then rest is given for the bondage of sin is broken. A cure is given and a person can begin to live in a manner that is pleasing unto God. Access to God which was never available before regardless of how many acts of righteousness or penance a person did is now freely available through Jesus Christ. Christians are given rest for their souls and so are no longer weary and heavy-laden. Jesus exchanges the yoke of manmade religion for the truth of His mercy and grace.
In Matthew 11:29-30, Jesus describes . . .
2) The Character of the Response.
The second aspect of the nature of Jesus’ offer of rest is that there is a new yoke” “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 in light.” Now some might say, “Wait a minute! Isn’t that just trading one burden for another? I thought you said Jesus was offering rest?” He is, but there is a yoke.
So what is a yoke? A yoke was a device that was placed upon an animal so that it could pull more comfortably and effectively. It was made out of wood and carved to fit the individual animal. That would provide part of the comfort. Since the yoke would also distribute the weight more evenly, it would also make it both easier and more comfortable to pull.
The term “yoke” was often used as a metaphor for submission. In particular, it was used of students who attached themselves to a teacher to learn from him. For example, the ancient Jewish advice to students was, “Put your neck under the yoke and let your soul receive instruction.” The ‘yoke” in this passage symbolizes obedience to Jesus which includes learning His ways and following them. That is emphasized in the phrase following Jesus’ call to take his yoke – “and learn from Me.” To take on the yoke of Jesus is to become His disciple, and in following Jesus you will find a release from the heavy burden of sin that makes you weary and find rest in following His plan for your life.
Jesus goes on to describe . . .
3) The Offer’s Reward – Rest for Your Souls.
The result of taking Jesus’ offer is a change of masters, a change of life, and rest for your souls according to verses 29 & 30. Jesus is no taskmaster. He is gentle and compassionate in heart. The word “easy” has a two-fold meaning: (1) It is suitable and pleasant; and, (2) I is not difficult to bear. The load of following Jesus’ commands in comparison to following the schemes of man or even your own way is light. A better fitting yoke and a lighter burden would be a wonderful reward all by itself, but Jesus also gives us rest for our souls.
There are several aspects of that rest . . .
First – There is the sense in which there is a cessation of action, motion, labor, or exertion. All efforts at earning your own salvation cease. That impossible burden is removed, so you can be at rest.
Second – Rest involves freedom from that which makes one weary or disturbs. Spiritually, Jesus gives those that come to Him freedom from the cares and distress that would rob them of peace and joy. This rest includes the peace that passes all understanding that comes from being able to bring everything to Jesus in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7) and cast all of your cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:5). You can leave all your cares in His hands for He cares for you.
Third – Rest is something that is fixed and settled. To rest in Jesus includes the wonderful assurance that your eternal destiny is secure in Him. Your soul is no longer bothered by the uncertainties brought up by the philosophies of man or the ideas expressed in the various false religions and cults. You have the confident assurance that Jesus keeps all His promises including being with Him throughout eternity, and with that, there no longer has to be fear even of our great enemy, death. What comfort for the soul!
Fourth – Rest also speaks of being confident and trustful. Jesus gives us God’s rest that not only assures us of eternity with Him, but also that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Jesus’ yoke gives your life meaning in both the present and for eternity. The quest of the soul for meaning and purpose is given rest.
And finally – Rest describes being able to “lean, repose, or depend upon.” The rest that Jesus gives includes being made a fellow heir with Him and a child of God. Our heavenly Father will certainly supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). He will take care of us.
If you are reading this blog have not yet entered into the rest that Jesus offers, then be assured, the offer is being made to you right now. The prerequisites are that you be honest and humble about your spiritual need and that He has revealed Himself to you as Solver and Savior to your sin problem. You will need to be humble enough to realize that you are a sinner in desperate need of the Savior, and that you need Jesus to release you from the burdens of guilt, shame, confusion and fear that you are carrying – all those things that are part of life without Jesus Christ.
The revelation has been made to you through God’s very Word, the Scriptures. If you understand what I have been talking about, then Jesus has revealed Himself to you.
Now there is a decision that you must make. Jesus is calling to you – “Come to Me.” Will you come to Him? It will require you to stop traveling on your current path and step out in a different direction. You will have to turn your eyes away from the sinful enticements of this world and look to Him and step toward Him. The first step is confessing your sins to Him and asking for His forgiveness based on His death on your behalf on the cross of Calvary, and then asking Him to lead and guide you through life. He will do it. That is His promise. Every other step is simply walking in obedience to His commands, for He is the master.
Will you exchange your exhausting yoke and burden of doing things your own way or according to some religious system for the yoke of learning of Him and doing things His way?
His yoke is easy,
His burden is light.
It enables you to fulfill
The purpose for which
God created you.
The reward is His rest.
Jesus is calling,
Will you heed
His call and come?
For those of you have already placed yourself under Jesus’ yoke, continue to yield yourself to it so that you may continue in His rest. Even a well fitted yoke will cause chaffing to those who struggle against it thinking their way is better than God’s way. Give the Lord praise and thanksgiving for it and tell others about it and how they can also enter into Jesus’ rest.
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”