The scripture memory verse this week is Matthew 11:28, but I would like to quote the entire passage in this blog to give context (Matthew 11:25-30)
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 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. Come to me, all 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” [ESV]
What an amazing passage! The first section of this discourse is astonishing. Jesus glorifies the Father in His will that the Lord has hidden the kingdom of heaven from the wise and understanding and has revealed them to little children. In other words, Jesus is declaring that those who are wise in the world’s eyes but are unrepentant and stubbornly refuse to accept the gospel. The little children however receive the gospel openly in simple faith and humility. Thus, we must emulate the little children in our faith, not the skeptic. We live in a society that exalts doubt and skepticism. But this “un-trusting” attitude towards God and his revelation, the Holy Bible, has caused more harm to the gospel than anything else today. We see denomination after denomination finding its effectiveness eroded by their rejection or manipulation of the gospel of Christ. Paul the apostle mentioned this tendency in Galatians 1:7-9 –> “not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have saide before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Strong words. God has shut out and hidden the truth from those who are wise and understanding according to the world’s calculations. Jesus calls this hiding of truth from the wise and understanding God’s GRACIOUS will. Jesus glorifies God in doing this. But those who humble themselves in confession before God and trust their lives to Him, they shall be saved! Salvation is found in humility and in faith, not in pride and in worldly wisdom.
The second section of this passage is equally astounding. My ESV study bible notes say this: “The first part of verse 27 reveals the profound divine self-consciousness of Jesus, as well as the supreme authority of the Father within the Trinity, by which he has delegated authority over “all things” to the Son. ‘All things’ probably refers to everything needed with respect to the carrying out of Christ’s ministry of redemption, including the revelation of salvation to those whom he chooses to reveal the Father.” Christ while incarnate had full authority on who he was going to reveal the Father to. He is perfect in his wisdom and authority! Jesus, both in his incarnate state and eternal state, shares an exclusive relationship with the Father, including a “direct and immediate knowledge of each other”. Thus, this is the glorious truth of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are separate in personhood, yet united and one in substance – co-equal and co-eternal. God the Son and God the Father are separate in personhood, yet are always united in a direct and immediate knowledge of each other and in communication and relationship.
The final section is so reassuring! This divine triune God, who created the world and by him all things are held together, move, and have their being (including us), is a God of peace and love for those who come to Him. Christ Jesus calls for all who have a downtrodden spirit, a frustrated life, dreams that have been crushed, souls who feel that they have no purpose, those who have tried everything in life and still are unsatisfied with life, those who have looked to material things for sustenance and found them wanting, those who are worried about tomorrow, those who are completely and utterly overwhelmed by anxiety, to simply come and fall down at the cross and cast our burdens upon him and he will give us rest! As I write this, I feel my own burdens lifting – what a glorious knowledge, that I can find true rest and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Christ then invites us to take his YOKE! This is in itself a burdensome object. The yoke was a wooden frame joining two oxen for pulling heavy loads, and is a metaphor for one person’s subjection to another, and a common metaphor in Judaism for the law [ESV study notes]. The law under the Pharisees’ influence had become a crushing burden, but the Pharisees truly believed that this burden of the law originated with God. However, Christ OBLITERATES this view!!!! Christ’s burden / yoke of discipleship brings REST through simple commitment to Christ. We no longer have to focus on minute details of the law and try to figure out how to keep an unkeepable legalism. We only have to yield to Christ Jesus. Our salvation is now focused on ONE person, not HUNDREDS of rules. Remember what Bro. Don mentioned in his sermon Sunday, grace is a FREE GIFT OF GOD (Romans 3:24), made possible by the sacrificial atonement of Christ for sin. However, this Grace, although it is free, is NOT CHEAP. This grace COSTS MUCH – it cost the life of the SON OF GOD! And thus, in order to have this grace you must yield all of yourself to the LORDSHIP of Christ – “to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow HIM. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Christ’s sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Christ and his words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” [Luke 9:23-26 ESV].
Oh the glorious grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the divine, amazing love that is found in our Triune God!