A few months ago we spent some time examining the phrase found in 2 Samuel 11:1 that says, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war…” In that sermon, we focused on the fact that King David failed to do what he was supposed to do in that season and the subsequent sin to which he yielded. But the verse pointed to the season—springtime—as a time for kings and armies to do their thing!
In our lives we too are somewhat guided by the seasons of the year. When we think of spring, we think of new life, of planting crops, of enjoying warmer weather.
When we think of fall of the year, we think of harvest, of cooler days, and of a new school year.
When we think of winter, we think of cold weather, snow and ice, and warm coats and cozy fireplaces, and Christmas.
What do we think about when we think of summer? Of course we think of hot weather, picnics, and swimming pools. But the first thing that most people think of is vacation—a time of recreation and relaxation—at time of rest and renewal.
And the invitation that Jesus gives in our scripture passage today certainly brings rest and vacation and renewal to our minds.
Let’s take a few minutes to consider the message that Jesus really has for us in this passage found in Matthew 11: 25-30.
I. THE SOURCE OF TRUE REST.
a. Leading up to this passage Jesus had some strong words to say about various cities that had seen him perform miracles but had not accepted him. He said those towns would be judged and would suffer for their lack of repentance and their rejection of his message and their rejection of him.
b. Then Jesus shifts from those negative experiences and begins to praise His heavenly Father for allowing those “little children”—referring to the poor and homeless and uneducated—to hear the message and to grasp the Truth that Jesus had brought to them.
c. And in that context Jesus reveals that His understanding and message was given to Him directly by the Father and that He alone was given authority to allow others to know God.
d. That was the message He had tried to give to those cities mentioned early—Bethsaida and Chorazin.
e. The invitation that Jesus was about to give in the next few verses, was based on this revelation of Who He IS—the One who has seen the Father, Who knows the Father, and who reveals the Father to those to whom He chooses to reveal.
f. Don’t miss what Jesus is saying in these verses. Do you want to know God? You can only know Him through Jesus. That knowledge and the giving of that knowledge to others were entrusted to Jesus. Peter and john grasped that eternal truth when they testified in Acts to the Sanhedrin who was trying to shut them down—“There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we might be saved! (Acts 4:12).
g. Today—I challenge you to consider Jesus. He alone is in position and authority to bring you into a relationship with the Living God!
II. THE TARGETED INVITATION
a. In verse 28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…”
b. In the original setting we must remember that Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience. The weariness and the heavy burden to which Jesus was referring were the rules and restrictions that the Jewish leaders were placing on the people as they interpreted the Law of Moses. They had rules for every detail in a person’s life—what he could eat, when he could work, when he was forbidden to work, how far he could walk on the Sabbath, how he had to wash his hands in a certain way before he could eat—and the rules just kept on coming. I believe it was Dr. H.B. London, who worked with James Dobson at Focus on the Family, who used to talk about the “Joy Suckers.” He was referring to those people who would rob you of the joy in your life by their constant oppression. That was what the Religious establishment had become in Jesus’ Day—Joy Suckers who loaded people down with restrictions and regulations making their daily lives impossible to endure! Don’t you become a “Joy Sucker!” Don’t tear down people and don’t be condescending to others. The Bible tells us not to judge and not to condemn. Our role is to love God and to love others and to do all we can to build people up in the faith, not tear them down!
c. But the Weary and Burdened to whom Jesus gave this invitation also included those who were and are enslaved by sin and who need to be delivered from the life-draining habits of a sinful lifestyle. Sin has a way of tightening its grip on a person—and sin’s end result is always destruction. In our soul winning tools we often say, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”—and that is very true. But we sometimes forget that the reverse is also true– Satan hates you and also has a plan for your life—and that plan is to destroy you.” Hear the invitation—if you have sin in your life—Jesus is calling you to come to Him—He alone is able to deliver you from Sin’s destructive hold on your life!
d. But the weary and burdened could also refer to those followers of Christ who try to go in their own power and strength instead of in the Spirit! So much of what we do is routine. It is so easy to find ourselves on automatic pilot just going through the motions of Christianity without really allowing God to fill our lives with His strength, His Joy, His power. I heard a story about a man who desired to spend time with his son, but his son was always busy. The son was working the family business and prided himself in making the business a success and giving His father a good name. But one day, the father said to the son, “I appreciate all you do and how much time and energy you put into the family business to make sure we have the financial security we need. But sometimes instead of doing all the things you do for me, I just want you to be with me. I really want to just spend some personal father-son time with you.” And I think we are too often guilty of trying to do things for God when God really wants us to just spend time in fellowship with Him! It is not our works that save us—it is our relationship with God! He is our strength. Have you spend personal time with God recently—time just to enjoy His Presence and to sense His love for you? Works are important, but so is that time of fellowship with God!
e. So Jesus has given an invitation to all those who are weary and burdened. Do you hear Him giving you that invitation?
III. THE REWARD OF ACCEPTING THE INVITATION.
a. Jesus gave the invitation to those who are weary and burdened to receive His rest. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28).
b. To the Jews He gave the choice to follow the rules and regulations and be miserable, or to bathe in His Love and find joy and peace. To the sinner He gives the choice of continuing a lifestyle of disobedience and be destroyed or to turn from those sins and become a follower of Jesus and learn His commandments and find peace and security and abundant life. To the disciple who keeps trying to do things in his own power Jesus offers an easy yoke—to be hitched up to His Gentleness and Compassion and find rest and renewal in Him.
c. What is your choice?
That invitation that Jesus gave in our scripture passage today is still valid. He still is calling you. He still wants to give you rest and peace. He still wants to offer you His Strength, His Power, His Spirit.
In Hebrews 4: 9-11 we read, “9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Can you hear His Spirit whispering in your ear? Can you feel His tug on your heart?
He wants so much to give you the Life of Royalty—He invites you to become a family member in God’s Family.
Will you accept His offer?