The King’s Personal Invitation
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30 (KJV)
After pronouncing “Woe” on three cities Jesus extends an invitation. One of the things that people will answer in most lands ruled by a monarchy is an invitation from the king. If one refuses to answer the kings invitation they are expressing pride, and dishonoring the king. In such a case the king would not look very favorably upon such a person or his household.
There are some prerequisites of the King’s invitation. First of all you must be humble as a child (vv. 25-26). King Jesus is thankful that the prideful are blind to the truth. These are full of pride (the scribes and Pharisees), because of their knowledge and personal works. God is not delighted with sacrifice at the expense of a broken and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17). Children are humble and dependent. This shows us that God is sovereign and that the power of salvation is solely His. He hides His truth from the prideful, ie. prideful in their education, their works, thinking that they have achieved these things, and God owes them for their efforts and accomplishments. God reveals the truths to those who are humble, and know they receive what they receive by God’s mercy and grace. There is no place in Heaven for someone walking around on or in his/her own merit (Ephesians 2:8-10). Heaven is the place of God’s own glory. There is no room for any other. Child like faith is good in God’s sight. Imagine, they have fallen from His glory (Romans 3:23), yet proceed to take it for themselves. The devil was cast out of Heaven because of his prideful attempt (Isaiah 14:12-14).
The second prerequisite is to recognize the revelation is God’s to give (v. 27). God has given “all things” to His Son. It is at the Son’s discretion who will know Him. It is also at His discretion who will know the Father. One cannot know the Father without knowing the Son. Revelation of God is given through His Son Jesus. We see by this that a pride filled individual cannot just decide he wants to know God, and thus know Him. Many times God works through situations and circumstances to humble the prideful. To break their prideful, self-seeking, selfish lifestyles; to remind them that there is a Sovereign God to whom every soul must give an account. The initiative is God’s not man’s (John 6:44). If there is no conviction of sin, and its destruction there is no revelation. If there is no belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus there is no revelation. God pity the soul who receives revelation, yet is without repentance.
There is the need for faith (v. 28a). “…Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is , and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV). Coming to Him believe that He is capable of receiving us. Faith is the gift of God, and without it, there is no pleasing God. Faith believes that which cannot be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted – at least in the physical sense. Our coming to Christ must be with the faith of a child. For some that will be difficult, because of knowledge, education, and just out in out pride. Just as a child trust their parents for sustenance, protection, loving and caring; so to must the man, woman, boy or girl trust Christ Jesus for the greatest need of mankind. We must trust Him for deliverance from sin, death, and/or eternal separation from God. We trust Him for our sustenance, protection, salvation, and eternity. When you reach the place you realize you are too weak from carrying that load of guilt, and you cannot find comfort from the load of sin you have been bearing, and you have fallen beneath that load; Jesus’s invitation is “Come unto Me…, and I will give you rest.”. You can rest in Him alone for your eternal salvation, and in Him you will have eternal joy in the presence of God the Father.
These “prerequisites” are needs that come with the grace given and received. Another one is repentance (v. 28b). Repentance is a one hundred and eighty degree turn around. You were on the road to disaster, on a slippery hope to destruction, and you decided to turn around and go the other way. In the case of God and repentance, He is the One who opens the eyes of sinful individuals, causes them to see their plight if they continue the way they are going, and also shows them the cross of Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection. If you keep going straight ahead you lose eternally. If you turn around by faith you live eternally. People are on a quest for fulfillment, and think they can find it in material gain. Those who realize that material gain is not the answer, but refuse Jesus, sometimes get into mystic religions, and cults which deny Jesus and His deity, and exalt the self, and to their eternal detriment. All of those things which lead away from Jesus are going the same direction as the seeking of material gain. There is only rest for your soul as you yield to Jesus Christ. When He calls us to “Take My yoke upon you…” He is asking us to join in His work. His work is the work of the Father, and we cannot do it except through Him. Doing God’s work requires that we do it His way, and His way is by Jesus Christ. Genuine faith and repentance are necessary alliances of salvation/rest. Faith without repentace is dead. Repentance without faith is purposeless.
Finally, for one to be a disciple of Jesus Christ we must be submissive to His teaching and training. He gives us command to take His yoke (v. 29) to learn of Him, to serve with Him, and this is what is called discipleship. Every soul who is won to Christ needs teaching and training to grow and be more Christlike. We know that His commands are not grievous or burdensome: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” 1 John 5:3 (NKJV). The Pharisees, and lawyers had heaped a grievous burden of law on the people making traditions law. They were heavy with no fulfillment. With they yoke of Jesus He is alongside us. Another name for the Holy Spirit – as “Comforter” (John 14:16) – is “Parakletos” meaning alongside of, or intercessor, consoler. He is Jesus within us as our Teacher, Comforter, Encourager, and Guide (John 16:7, 13-14). Don’t let anyone deceive you the life ahead even with Christ as your Lord and Savior will not be easy. It is not a promise to an easy road ahead. He is promising that He will remain with you, even in you through all of life’s ups and downs. In Him you are accepted. You can lay all your sins, transgressions, and the guilt that goes with it at His feet, and He will never let you down. His love abides forever.
-by Tim A. Blankenship