"All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 11:27–30). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Charles I of England, lies buried in Newport Church, in the Isle of Wight. During the time of her father's trouble, she was a prisoner in Carisbrook Castle, in the same beautiful island. While there she had a long spell of sickness. She was found one-day dead in her bed with her Bible open before her and her finger resting on these words, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
A monument in Newport, erected by Queen Victoria, represents the young princess with her head bowed in death, and her hand resting on a marble book before her, her finger pointing to the words. Walter Baxendale (Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.)
"28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
There are significant truths that we learn from these verses about Jesus and about the people he is calling. In these verses we see three things about Jesus.
This word is translated in other parts of Scripture with alternative words such as kind, tolerant and meek. The word has a sense being modest. The word carries the theme of “an expression of compassion, seen in Jesus’s dealings with the frail and weak” He is known to get along with sinners. He is even at time called the friend of sinners. He was talking to the woman at the well. He was willing to take to Paradise one of the criminal that was crucified with him. What an attractive man is Jesus. I wish the Holy Spirt implant this image of the savior in your heart today. There is nothing that the Church can offer to you to make you a good follower of Jesus Christ. If we are not attracted by this gentle Lord, we cannot have any other sufficient reason to be a Christian.
 Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.
Here the word humble is an adjective. The best definition of the term humble is given by a great man of God Andrew Murray. Murray defined humble with the following words,
"Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble. The humble person is not one who thinks meanly of himself, he simply does not think of himself at all"
Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (pp. 199–200). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
D.L.Moody used the following story in his sermon.
“The London Times some years ago told the story of a petition that was being circulated for signatures. It was a time of great excitement, and this petition was intended to have great influence in the House of Lords; but there was one word left out. Instead of reading, “We humbly beseech thee,” it read, “We beseech thee.” So it was ruled out. My friends, if we want to make an appeal to the God in Heaven, we must humble ourselves before the Lord, we shall not be disappointed”
The humility of Jesus is must be seen with background of the totality of his person. Jesus is God incarnate. He is holy and blameless. He is all powerful and knows everything. Taking all these identities let us consider the purtiy and high quality of the word his humility as it applies to Jesus. When we do that we gain a deep appreciation about the humbleness of our Lord. When Jesus said that he is humble he ment that he is more than being nice or having a good character. His humility originates from his nature. He is humble in heart.
I believe that he is assuring us that we can be comfortable with him. Especially when we are found in our weakness. The humility of Jesus will be a comfort. If it was not for his humble nature, the purity and holiness of His person will be the most frightening reality for earthly creatures, like you and me. Jesus will not frighten us to live with him. He feels nothing done against him. He displayed his humblness when he dealt with the short coming of his discples.
Do you recall how Jesus treated Peter when he foreknew that he was going to deny him three times?
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, with thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, until thou shalt thrice deny that thou know me.” Luke 22:31–34 1901 ASV
What will you do if you knew that the people you trusted are going to deny you and abandone you? Jesus was not critical and was not even annoyed. Instead He took Peter to pray with him. He interceded for him. He gave him the hope of recovering from his denial. And yet Peter was not humble and did not accept what Jesus was saying. But that happened. After he was resurrected our Lord invited Peter to meet him with the other disciples by mentioning the name of Peter specifically. I can sense that it would have been difficult for Peter to be there with the others. The humble Lord invited Peter calling his name separately. If he did not mention Peter’s name I believe that Peter will not have the gut to come and face Jesus. Imaging when the two met for the first time. How comforting and assuring is the humility of Jesus for us!
Please do not take lightly the humility of Jesus. His humility beyond human comprehension. Our savior cannot be compared with prophets nor even with their gods. The gods of other religions bloody and murderers. But Jesus dies for us. The Church need to keep this image of Jesus in her songs, prayers and testimonies. Here in Matthew we see Jesus encouraging us to come to him in spite of our weakness. In spite of our shortcomings. He is calling us to bear his yoke and live for him and with him. The call is for a lifelong partnership. The call is not for a temporary encounter. It is to be bonded with him. That is why he wanted to be assured. He did this by informing us what kind of person he will be to us.
Can you see what an amazing person our Lord Jesus Christ is? It is not natural for any other man to invite people with such words that are loaded with grace and love. How can we not respond to him when he is calling us to come to him? Is there anything that holds you not to respond to the call of this meek and lowly savior! It is only the devil that is blinding our understanding from appreciating this marvelous invitation from Jesus. Today that should change. If you are willing to submit your life to Jesus we will put the devil to shame. Today is the day of your salvation.
Jesus said “Come to me, all of you”. Here we observe the word “all”. Jesus is calling all those who are laboring and are heavy laden. The word all, signifies the all-inclusive nature of the call. There are few things that we learn from this. Jesus is the only one who can handle the problems of all humanity. He is the Lamb of God who can remove the sins of the World. He is the Lord of Lords in heaven and on earth. He can accomplish what he wished without any barrier. His love, grace and power is more than enough for everything and anything. No matter what you are going through Jesus is calling you now to come to him. No matter if your case seems to be hopeless. It does not matter how many solutions you tried and failed. Jesus has a life to revive and restore what is dead in you. He has power to remove any burden or bondage that you might have. This all-inclusive invitation of Jesus is given for all. It passes barriers of race, color, and class. He is the savior of the World. Let us all understand that there is no limit nor boundary when Jesus stretches his hand. He riches all!! He died extending his arms of invitation saying to us, this is for you come!!
Jesus also identified the people he is calling saying, “who are weary and burdened”. The passage indicated to us that the people that Jesus is calling have a heavy burden that caused them to be fatigued. Jesus is not talking about a physical burden. These people are not only fatigued, they are carrying a load. The heavy burden that Jesus is mentioning here is a burden that drained their soul. The meaning of the Greek term behind the word labor is "to be tired or weary, as the result of hard or difficult endeavor”. These are people who have exerted their entire energy in things that do not bring them rest. Their life belongs to them. They are carrying the burden of responsibility for their own life. They do not trust God. They labored to bring joy and security for their life. But this has drained and exhausted their soul. The desire of their carnal nature was not satisfied. They feel that they are the only one who needed to look after their life. But Jesus knows the in and out of people. He has a deep awareness about the condition of the people he is calling. The gentle and humble Jesus invites them saying, "come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". My friends this invitation is for you today.
What about sin? Sin is a product of a life that is lived without God. Sin is the symptom. This heavy burden of carrying one’s life is causing frustration, depression. It is the cause of many emotional and mental problems.
Jesus is not inviting people here. The word “come” is a verb and it is an imperative verb in Greek. It implies a command. Even though Jesus is gentle and humble in heart he is Lord. He has authority. He never begged nor did he dialogue with anyone to follow him.
One of the most signifcant reason why Jesus is calling with a commanding statement is becuase of his self-awareness. Jesus is God. You belong to him. He created you. He knew that he has come to find the lost sinner. He is a shepherd who is seeking the lost. He is also fully aware of the problem and that knowing his power, love and ability does not let his creatures to lose this opportunity. When he noticed your life he will not passively observe it. He will not let you stay where you are. He changed the life of millions of people. He can do the same for you today. If you are willing to listen to him his calling you with authority.
I also believe he did this to give sinners extra strength to respond to his call. There are people who do not want to come to Jesus for fear of failure. The commanding mood of his call shows the seriousness of his love, commitment and willingness to change their life for good.
When he called the weary and heavly burdened he did not only say come, he said come to me.
The preposition "to" indicates that we come specifically, towards Jesus. Jesus is not calling them to counsel them. He is calling them to carry his yoke and live with him. When we come to Jesus we are not receving a reglion. We are receving a person. Jesus did not give advice how you can solve your problem. He calls us to himself.
He wants you to live with him. Not in heaven only even here on earth while you are still alive. Your house can be unclean. You might have done many shameful things in your life. He has his blood to cleanse you. He was not picky when he asked a woman to give him water with her cup. He was not ashamed to be identified with sinners. He eats with them. Jesus will only meet you only in this beautiful building. He will come in and dine with you where you live. Most importantly he does not need additional space in your home. He has created a place in your heart for himself. That is where he wants to reside. Unless you love someone you cannot put them in your heart. You must love Jesus, because he first loved you.
The call is simple, "come to me". But it has a profound effect on us. Coming to Jesus can be misunderstood easily. There are times that we see Jesus being surrounded by people. And sometimes people were pressing him. They pressing his body due to the number of people who wanted to come close to him to hear every word that he said. It is interesting how one woman who had not the privilege to directly communicate with him was healed by touching the rim of his garment.
“43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. 45 "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you." 46 But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me." 47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." Luke 8:43-48 (NIV)
This woman was touching the tip or fringe of his garment. But the people were pressing around him. When she touched him power has come out of him. That power is a divine power. It is not like an electric power that can affect people indiscriminately. The power of Jesus affects only those who are touching him like the woman. But none of the people touched Jesus the way this woman touched him. None of them come close to Jesus the way this woman did. Even the power that came out him did not reach them whaile it was flowing out of hime to reach the woman.
Coming to Jesus is very different from coming to Church. It is good that we come to Church. The Church is the best place where we can learn about Jesus. However, we do not need to be deceived by assuming that the mere act of coming to Church is the final thing in our Christian walk. Listen my dear brothers and sister, I want you to search your heart and mind and examine your actions. If you have not responded to Jesus by saying to him, here I am Lord, I am coming to you, your soul will not get the rest that Jesus Christ promised.
The question here is who is willing to respond to the call of Jesus? I bet you should do that. There is nothing that you will lose. Let not the devil make you neglect this call of Jesus. Many people tell me that they have prayed the sinner’s prayer long time ago. Well, my friends, are you living now with Jesus? Are you carrying his yolk? Are you learning from Jesus? Do you commune with Jesus? If you do not walk and talk with Jesus you need to come to him more closer.
Jesus said “learn from me “. He is a good teacher; he was admired for his teaching skills. His teaching was with authority. He will teach you form his word. He will teach you as you converse with him in payer. Prayer is not a religious duty that is performed by experienced people. It the talking line of communication for people who want to talk with Jesus. He will teach you using his spirit.
Jesus is not promising here a pyhsical rest. It is a rest of the soul. When the burd is taken their soul will get rest. It is not a physical rest. But a soul rest. Let us not forget what he said, "I will give you rest" what kind of rest is that? in verse 29 he said, "you will find rest for your souls" what a wonderful good news today for you and me! Do you know why you come to Church? You are here today to listen to this compassionate shepherd. He is calling you right now! As you hear his voice. If you come to him he will give you this wonderful rest that the world cannot give you.
These rest that Jesus gives cannot be found anywhere. Drug, alcohol, and music and yoga and any meditation that you might be practicing cannot give you the rest of the soul that Jesus Christ can give.
We come to Jesus with our burden. We come with our weakness. We do not need to come to Jesus with a religious protocol, whatever that protocol might be, we come the way we are, as we are, for Jesus is calling us to help us and give us rest. There are two examples we can look from the scripture to understand how and in what manner we need to come to Jesus.
Come Unto Me
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon my breast!"
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary, and worn and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
And he hath made me glad.
The two secrets of its wonderful popularity are found in the fact that it introduces the words of our Lord in a picturesque way, as if one's ear had happened to catch them on the air, and then his voice made an immediate response by "coming" towards the words of invitation and promise; and then that it employs possessive pronouns for its phraseology, and so individualizes the believer. Christ says, "Come to me," and the Christian says, "I came." Christ says, "I give thee living water"; and the listener answers, "My thirst was quenched." Christ says, "I am light"; and the child of God replies, "I found in Him my Star, my Sun!" Will you respond in a similar way for the voice of the Lord this morning? Let us pray!
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.