Summary: This message examines Jesus' famous invitation to all to come to Him and unload your burden and take on His.
The Road to Restoration
Matthew 11: 28-30
I would like to start by sharing with you an anecdote told by Chuck Swindoll:
There was a father who worked very hard who had an energetic son. When the father would come home late in the afternoon his son would expect a mandatory play session. One particular afternoon the father was very tired so he quickly cut up the front page of the newspaper into many pieces. The image was a recent shot of the world from space. He gave it to his son with the challenge to piece it together. The father relaxed in his chair hoping to rest till dinner. Within the space of a few minutes his son returned with the picture assembled and taped together from behind. the father being surprised asked his son how he was able to assemble the picture so quickly. "Well you see dad, (the son explained), on the back is a picture of a man. So I put the man together and on the back was the picture of the earth."
Keep that story in the back of your minds and I'll return to it later.
This brings me to the passage I would like to speak on - Matthew 11: 28-30
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.”
This is probably one of the most popular passages from the NT. Its message is as fresh and relevant as it was when Jesus first spoke these words. We will observe three main points from this passage:
1. Refreshment v.28
2. Relationship v. 29
3. Restoration v.29-30
The Call and the Caller
The passage commences with Jesus making a call 'COME' v.28. Some say that this is a wonderful invitation. The Greek word used for 'come' deute, is an imperative , that means, it's urgent and commanding 'Come now! Come!' is what Jesus is saying. Its not a nice option, it is a call for attention and action. The same word is used in Mark 1: 17 when Jesus says to some of his disciples 'Come. follow me and I will make you fishers of men.' It is Jesus calling. This is important to note. Throughout the three verses Jesus refers to himself 8 times. He is the focus- He is central because He says 'Come to ME'. Even the word 'to' v.28 in the Greek is full of meaning. It means 'towards, facing'. We are to look and move to Jesus - looking at Him - facing Him all the time.
And who does Jesus call? v.28 'All' - that is everybody. It is all inclusive. The call goes out to everyone.Jesus then identifies those who belong to the 'all' - 'the weary' v.28. When you consider these two groups it includes every human. It includes those who believe and those who don't. Who are to come? ALL and the all is made up of those 'labouring' (Weary) and 'weighed down under the pressure of a heavy weight' (Burden), those who are actively and passively under it. That means everybody. There is not one person who does not come under one of these two categories. It includes people who are: aching, hurting, alone, under financial pressure, physical burden, emotional stress, experiencing sorrow or grief, oppressed, repressed, depressed, disillusioned, troubled by guilt and sin.
Unfortunately there are many who either wont acknowledge they are labouring or burdened, or don't want to give up their condition - it becomes a focal part of their identity.
This reminds me of my young daughter - My youngest daughter has this pink back-pack which she loves dearly. At one stage it was her morning ritual to fill this back-pack with anything and everything. She would fill it to the point where it was crammed to the max and then she would try and carry it on her back. The back-pack weighed as much as her but there was no way you could convince her not to wear it - she loved her burden.
Some hide their pain and sorrow, while others run to everything, anything or anyone but Jesus. If you are feeling overwhelmed Jesus is calling you. If you are depressed, if you are hurt, if you are in pain, if you are troubled, if you are busy or self-contented, if you feel guilty, if you are working in your own strength, if you are lonely or stressed, Jesus is calling You!
C.S. Lewis once said, 'God whispers to us in our pleasure. God shouts to us in our pain. Troubles are God's megaphone to wake us up.'