All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle, and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 through 30).
To whom is this directed? Jesus is inviting everyone! But this particular invitation will greatly limit the number of those who come. For the one who responds comes to the Lord because he or she realizes that they are belabored and burdened with a heavy load!
But there are reasons that keep people from responding:
- Some think they have no (or few) burdens, that everything is going pretty well at this point in their lives.
- Some feel like they can carry their burdens and solve their problems themselves.
- Some are laboring and heavy laden, but don’t know what to do with their burdens.
- Some have never heard this invitation.
- Some have heard it, maybe multiple times, but they don’t believe it is true.
- Some don’t feel worthy enough to come.
Let’s look at these six conditions that keep people from responding to Jesus’ invitation:
Some think they have no (or few) burdens, that everything is going pretty well at this point in their lives.
- Things may be going pretty well at this point in their lives.
➔ They may not be facing any serious medical is- sues. ➔ Their financial situation may not be presenting a strain on their enjoyment of life. ➔ They may feel that family and other relation- ships are good.
…and the future looks bright!
➔ ...they don’t realize there is a life threatening condition presently at work in their lives! ✞ It is called sin! And everyone has this dead- ly disease! “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Jesus will say to them at the judgment, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into ever- lasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels....” (Matthew 25:41). ✞ “...all [sinners]...shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8). ➔ ...they are not aware of the temporary nature of wealth! ✡ Proverbs 23:5 (Easy-to-Read Version.) – “In the blink of an eye, money can disappear, as if it grew wings and flew away like a bird.” ✞ Matthew 6:19, 21 – “Do not lay up for your- selves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal....For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ✞ I Timothy 6:17 – “...those who are rich in this present age [must] not...trust in un- certain riches....” ➔ ...they don’t think close relationships will ever crumble! ✡ Deuteronomy 21:18 – “...a man has a stub- born and rebellious son who will not obey ...his father or...mother, and when they have chastened him, [he] will not heed them....” ✡ Deuteronomy 24:1 – “...a man takes a wife and...he has found some uncleanness in her ...he writes her a certificate of divorce ...and sends her out of his house.” ✞ John 7:5 – “For even [Jesus’]...brothers did not believe in Him.” ✞ Matthew 26:14 – “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver...[Jesus] to you?’”
Some feel like they can carry their burdens and solve their problems themselves!
➔ Job, the richest man and most blest man of the Middle East, lost everything in a matter of hours (or days at the most). ✡ His wealth! (see Job 1:14-17). ✡ His family! ...all his children! (see Job 1:18, 19). ...the support of his wife! (see Job 2:9). ✡ His health! (see Job 2:7, 8; 30:16-19). ✡ His respect! (see Job 19:13-20; 30:1-15). ✡ His friends! (see Job 12:4; 16:1-4; 19: 1-5, 14). Yes, he was eventually doubly-blest by God at the end of the book, but it took weeks, or even months for Job to recover! ➔ Moses was physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially powerful! But he became overwhelmed and needed help! ✡ Apparently Moses had a speech impediment (see Exodus 4:10). So God gave him his brother Aaron who spoke well. “...he shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.” (Exodus 4:16). ✡ He tried to be a judge who decided matters for every Israelite – and there were about two to three million of them! Moses’ fa- ther-in-law came to the rescue with sound advice to appoint under-judges (see Exodus 18:17-23). ✡ God supplied manna when the Israelites com- plained that they would starve to death in the desert, and all Israel ate manna for forty years! (see Exodus 16:35). Numbers 11:4-6 – But after awhile, they wept and longed for the food of Egypt! They cried, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish...cucumbers... melons...leeks...onions and...garlic... we ate freely in Egypt...now...there is nothing...except this manna...” Numbers 11:14, 15 – Moses had a melt- down before God! He thought he had to supply all the people with meat. “I am not able to bear all these people along, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now...!” ✡ Moses even required physical help! Amalek, a Canaanite tribe who was an enemy of Israel for centuries, attacked Israel! As Joshua led the troops in the valley, Aaron and Hur accompanied Moses up a hill overlooking the battle. Moses took the rod by which God had done previous miracles (see Exodus 9:23, 24; 14:16; 17:5, 6). As he held the rod high, the Israelite sol- diers prevailed! If his arms got tired and drooped, the Amalekites started win- ning! Exodus 17:12, 13 – So Aaron and Hur “... took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And [they] supported his hands ...until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek...” ✡ Deuteronomy 1:9, 12 (Lexham English Bible) – Just before the Israelites entered the Prom- ised Land, Moses again pleaded with God for help: “I am not able to bear [the Israelites] ...alone? ...How can I bear you by myself, your burden and your load and your strife?” So if Moses, this mighty man of God needed help, what about us?
- Americans are an independent people! Individualism is pronounced and promoted in this country more than just about any other nation. But that old saying is still true: “No man is an island!” We all need help at different times, and Jesus offers that help…
➔ ...to those who are “...burdened and heavy laden ...”! They are invited to come to Him for help! ✞ And if the burdens we carry are not per- ceived to be that heavy, the sin that we all carry is the heaviest burden of all! ✞ For about a year David ignored his sin of adultery with Bathsheba (see II Samuel 11: 4, 5), and the murder of her husband Uriah (see II Samuel 11:14-17). But, when Nathan, his advisor challenged him about his terri- ble actions, and when the reality of all his iniquity broke upon him, this is what David wrote in Psalm 38:1 through 4: “O LORD...Your arrows pierce me deep- ly, and Your hand presses me down. There is no soundness in my flesh be- cause of Your anger, nor is there any health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” ➔ David finally repented. But if we ignore the burden of sin life-long like David did for a year, we are in for a terrible end! We are told in Proverbs 14:12, and repeated in 16:25 (King James Version): “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
- By the way, the burdens that we try to carry have a surprising description in Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you….” The burden you cast upon Him turns out to be YOU!
➔ But God has been in the ‘carrying business’ for a long time! For He said to the Israelites in Isaiah 46:3 and 4 (Easy-to-Read Version), and it surely applies to us as believers today: “Family of Jacob, listen to me! You who are left from the family of Israel, lis- ten! I have carried you since you left your mother's womb. I carried you when you were born, and I will still be carry- ing you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety.” ➔ We “...are the body of Christ...” (I Corinthians 12:27), guided by “...the mind of Christ...” (I Corinthians 2:16). As many of the Old Testa- ment Scriptures have application to New Testament Christians, so Ecclesiastes 4:9 and 10 apply to us: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. ➔ As this is applied to Galatians 6:1 and 2, it turns out we are to help carry one another! ...if a man is overtaken in any trespass [burden], you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, con- sidering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1, 2) The law of Crist is loving one another as He has loved us! (see John 13:34, 35).
So when in Matthew 11:28 Jesus invites us to…
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle, and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ➔ His invitation is valid, and... ➔ We are involved... ✞ ...both in experiencing His rest ✞ ...and restoring His rest to others!
More on this in the next Gem.