Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

Charles Sludden.

25 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;26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[a] 27 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 labour 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.”

INTRODUCTION

Last month we look at God (covenant) Today we to begin a look at a new and difficult subject that affects us all. (But not nearly as difficult as some of the sermon titled suggested at yesterday’s seminar on abusive relationships!!!)

This  particular issue is pandemic…Along with taxes and death, it effects all of us- out of one. In fact, Biblically this problem leads to death…. It is of course…. SIN.

Before we get into today’s scripture, let’s take a look at:

  • the origins of temptation and sin and compare it with (PROBLEM)
  • Christ’s victory over temptation (wilderness) and sin (the Cross) and then go on to look (SOLUTION)
  • at how we can be victorious in the face of temptation (OUTCOME)

1.THE PROBLEM: The origins of sin and temptation

Turn with me to Genesis 3:1-7 and also Matthew 4: 1-11

In Genesis 3:1 Eve was deceived by the crafty wile of the serpent. With the benefit of hindsight, we see that temptation is not incidental or accidental. It is the strategic way the devil works to rob God of Glory i.e prevent us from being conformed to the likeness of Jesus.

The Bible is clear that we have an enemy who wants to distract, demoralise and destroy us- a fact which should make us alert and shake us from any passivity. Around any corner temptation and sin is waiting for us.

In Genesis 3 Eve is tempted by three things: Hunger (need), dissatisfaction (desire), status-elevated position (pride of the heart)

By deception she sees that the apple is good to eat (v6), the apple will open your eyes (v6), and believes the lie that she will become like God (pride of the heart)

They knew exactly what was forbidden (and its consequences) and yet Satan tempted them by planting doubt through question (“did God say?”) and then directly contradicting God’s Word (“You will not surely die), while simultaneously planting the thought that God is not really for her but He is really only protecting his own Lordship- he doesn’t want her to be like Him.)

Genesis 3 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Consequences And so the outcome is, shame (nakedness), broken relationship with God, and death.

2.THE SOLUTION: Christ’s victory over temptation (wilderness) and sin (the Cross)

LET’S COMPARE the temptation of Christ

After His baptism Jesus was led into the wilderness where he was profoundly tested by Satan. (Wilderness-(a sun-scorched, parched, withered, lifeless garden! (Symbolic of a sin-filled, decaying garden??)

Jesus is tempted by use of the same (general) approach used with Eve;

  • Need (hunger, bread)
    • Dissatisfaction/desire (principally through the eyes-         apple/beautiful kingdoms),
    • Status/Ego (elevated position-pride of the heart)

But unlike Adam, Jesus stood resolute and firm by proclaiming: “It is written….Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that come from the mouth of God.”

THE WORD (Jesus), DEFEATS SATAN BY THE WORD (Logos)

Where the first Adam failed, the second Adam (Jesus) succeeded and in doing so began his life’s calling, to be our substitute (Garden and Cross) and to defeat Satan and all his works- This he continued all the way to his death at Calvary.

Adam, made in the likeness of God but was not God, grasped at equality with God (his desire to be like God knowing good and evil)                                            Whereas, Jesus WAS God (the fulness of the deity in bodily form Col 2:9) and yet did not grasp at equality with God but laid his glory aside, was born as a man, took on the form of a servant, made himself nothing and humbled himself and became obedient to death and the most shameful death at that- death on a cross. (Phil 2).

In dying on the cross Jesus brought to completion a full, comprehensive defeat of the Evil One.

Colossians 2 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities[b] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.[c]

AND SO, when we look at this, we see that Jesus’ defeat of Satan, which began privately in the wilderness, found its culmination in very public shame at the cross where Jesus took on and totally defeated Satan, Sin and Death.

3. THE OUTCOME

The outcome is the comprehensive defeat of Satan and all his work but (like the headless chicken) there is a NOW AND NOT YET aspect to this.

Victory was comprehensive (total) and yet like PAUL, WE TOO CAN SAY:  Rom 7: 15 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.                                                                        Paul is talking about our two-fold nature, flesh and spirit, being at war.

ILLUSTRATION: Grandfather says to grandson “Inside each of us is a lamb (gentle compliant) and a wolf (fierce and rebellious) and they’re always fighting- battling for supremacy.

Grandson asks “which one wins Grandad? The one you feed of course!

Paul says exactly this: If you sow to the flesh you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom. 8: 12-13)

If you want 3 points on how to end sin in your life, here it is

  1. Put to death Me
  2. Put to death Myself
  3. Put to death I

I think Jesus gets right to the centre of the matter in Matthew 11 by saying exactly this.

Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV)  Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

25 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;26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[a] 27 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 labour 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.”

When we read this beautiful text often it is understood as saying…”When you’ve had enough, can’t take anymore, when it’s all getting on top of you then come to me in prayer… dump it all on me… and I’ll give you respite, relief or rest.

Of course, this I exactly what we need to do in these circumstances, but I don’t think it’s what Jesus had in mind.

THE CONTEXT of this passage is key to understanding it properly.

Now we know the Yoke was a farming device that allowed the farmer to link two animals together to cover the deficiencies of one or to create strength.

BUT the YOKE was a known metaphor for “the Law”

The Pharisees had created rules on rules and made obedience so difficult, so wearisome that it made life impossible for the common Jew. They had created such a HEAVY YOKE.

It seems here, Jesus is speaking of his deep desire to embrace us in our weakness and weariness and we see that our weariness is the very door into the gentle mercy of Jesus- i.e. Hi is speaking of relationship and discipleship under the grace of God and NOT LAW.

In other words, Jesus is declaring there are two yokes. The Law (flesh) and “MY YOKE” (spirit) THAT LEADS TO LIFE because HIS YOKE is one of:

  • A new heart
  • His indwelling presence and power, and of
  • discipleship and humble submission, through faith

REMEMBER Jesus is speaking to those who were steeped in Mosaic Law and the myriad of rules (with superimposed ‘bi-laws’) he says to them and to us”

“COME TO ME”, “TAKE FROM ME” and LEARN FROM ME”.

Let’s now consider these three imperatives COME TAKE & LEARN

COME….and I will give you rest

Jesus tenderly calls us to discipleship through intimacy with him, for all those who are exhausted and weighed down for NT believers trying to work things out in their own strength (Law)

Coming to Jesus means:

  • -to Journey to Jesus in heart and mind and allowing our relationship to Jesus to be real and living
  • -bringing an open spirit, willing to hear or see new things (mainly about ourselves)
  • -having a willingness to obey, whatever.
  • -journeying to Christ in increasing humility (saying: I must decrease and He must increase)

This invitation is to come and keep coming to the CONSTANT presence of Jesus.)

It is an invitation to lay down the old way and take up his way- The way of the Cross.

THEN we will find REST (including VICTORY OVER SIN)

Rest is … deep peace (shalom) – sense of ultimate well-being in every aspect of life and in particular with regard to our relationship to God and his commandments.

SABBATH–             OT One Day of rest

NT Jesus is Lord of Sabbath.

HE is our REST

We come and then we take        TAKE

To take his yoke, first we have to reject the old Yoke. If we don’t, we keep the old yoke in place and so can’t take on the New yoke Jesus offers.

Let’s be clear the YOKE is an instrument of subordination and submission and so being Yoked to Jesus means we are to assume an attitude of the humble learner who serves only his Master, who says: learn of me for I am gentle and humble of heart.

So taking Jesus Yoke is all about:

  • -laying down our own strength and determination to do things our way, (lifestyle, preferences opinions choices)
  • -relinquishing the old yoke of our past unsettled scores, past battles, unforgiveness
  • -It’s the handing over our tendency to manipulate to get our own way (persuasive, emotional argument, even scheming)
  • -submitting to the wisdom of God even when it seems unfair and we don’t understand

We have to be done with the OLD YOKE in order to take on Jesus’ yoke and learn.

LEARN

The Learning we need, is to be like Jesus in the wilderness rather than Adam in the garden, it is overcoming in the Spirit of God, who indwells the believer.

In our war with our old nature (our battle with sin) Jesus’ yoke brings rest for your souls because Jesus offers Himself- His indwelling- (to Live in and through us) and so empower us to be victorious over sin in the face of temptation.

Just as sin was fully defeated by Jesus humbling himself to death on a cross, So sin in us (our Rebellion, Refusal, self-Reigning) is only put to death by our continually humbling ourselves, and through discipleship, increasingly allowing Jesus to work submissive humility in us.

Jesus is saying; as you take my yoke and you walk with me, learn from me because I am gentle (I know your vulnerabilities, weaknesses and hurts) and I am humble of heart (I have no agenda other than your good. I am about the Father’s business and will do only what HE shows me and that is all good.)

So let me be at work in you to empower you to overcome sin in your lives.

Mark 8:34 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The Prophet Micah tells us 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

CONCLUSION

Has the Christian life become more like ritual rather than relationship? Do you find yourself weary – from habits, struggles, battles and disappointments with sin? Then Jesus’ invites us to, ‘Come to Him.

He offers us a lifeline. Having completely defeated all the works of the evil one by the cross, He invites us to take his Yoke (the gospel of Grace) to enter afresh into submissive humble discipleship to learn from Him -for in this you we will find HIS REST for our soul.

PRAYER:

Thanks to Jesus, temptation doesn’t have to be our undoing. 

COME, TAKE AND LEARN