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The Great Invitation (A Study of Matthew 11:28-30) Part 10b (Conclusion)

11 Aug

Friends: I consider it a great privilege to work on my blog every day. And for the next few posts I’ll be examining one of my favorite passages, Matthew 11:28-30. This is a text worthy of memorization (which I’m very bad at). I want to slowly go through these verses with you and see as much as we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help. Let’s look at that famous text once again:

We’ve seen the context of this incredible invitation, noticing some of the Koiné Greek and its implications. We began to outline the passage, observing that Jesus’ invitation is a qualified one, inviting not all, but all who are weary and burdened. We’ve also seen two great promises and two challenges to work and to learn of Him. In our last post we looked at His promise of SOUL-REST.

I. The Great Invitation (v. 28): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened . . .”

II. The Great Promise (v. 28): “and I will give you rest.”

III. The Great Command (v. 29): “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

     A. We are to WORK!

         and —

     B. We are to LEARN!

IV. A Second Great Promise — of Soul-Rest (v. 29)

As we conclude our study, let’s notice —V. A Great Explanation (v. 30)

Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This seems to be Jesus’ explanation as to why we should come to Him to work and to learn. Or  is it the reason why we should come to Him at all? Some might look at these two seemingly oxymoronic expressions (an “easy yoke” and a “light” burden) and respond, “An easy yoke? A light burden? Yes, that’s what I want!” But let’s examine the text carefully.

A. His Yoke Is Easy

Let’s not miss the fact that there is, indeed, a YOKE for the follower of Jesus! But it is of Jesus‘ construction (some commentators suggest that “easy” here means “non-chafing”) and fits us precisely. Notice that He describes it as “easy,” a term (χρηστός)  which is used 7 times in the New Testament and has the meaning of “fit for use,” “useful,” “mild,” “pleasant.” It is opposed to harsh or hard or bitter. It is the opposite of burdensome here in Matthew 11:30. We read of the kindness of God in Luke 6:35 and Romans 2:4 and I Peter 2:3 (“you have tasted the kindness of the Lord”). We are told in Ephesians 4:32 to “be kind” to one another. “Kind” or “non-chafing” seem better translations than “easy.”

B. His Burden Is Light

The term φορτίον (“burden”) is close to the word “burdened” in verse 28 (πεφορτισμένοι). The prefix περι can mean “about, concerning, around.” One is only concerned with one’s concerns, surrounded by worries! Those who “are burdened” in verse 28 are, in a sense, over-burdened. When one comes to Christ, he or she does not begin to live a burden-free life, but the burdens are given by Christ Himself. Someone has said that a burdened heart is a healthy heart!

What are we to understand by the term “light” (ἐλαφρόν)? This term “light” is an adjective meaning “light, not burdensome, not heavy.” It is only used 2 X in the New Testament: In our passage here in Matthew 11 and also in 2 Corinthians 4:17 where we read, “For our momentary lightness of affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison . . .”

What is meant by Christ’s burden being “light”? Well, we are yoked together with Him, so whatever burden we carry, HE is also carrying! We get in trouble when we think we are the only one under the yoke!

Jesus’ explanation of His yoke and His burden is counter-intuitive. This yoke, properly constructed to fit His servant, and this burden, designed not to crush His child, both raise many questions. But His invitation and His promises must draw the child of God to Him.

Conclusion: There is so much here in Matthew 11. You may have heard the following story: John Stott discusses how an invitation often has the cryptic letters “RSVP” at the bottom of the invitation.   This is a French request to “please reply to the invitation.” Stott says, “There was a couple who found political asylum in this country during the Second World War. They came from East or Central Europe. And they were not really well-versed in Western culture. One day they received an invitation to a wedding. And there, at the bottom of the invitation, were those cryptic letters: RSVP. And in his thick European accent, the husband said, “VIF, VAT does it mean?   ‘RSVP’? I don’t know VAT it means!” So they thought for a while and then suddenly inspiration dawned on him. And the husband said, “VIF. I know VAT it means! It means ‘REMEMBER SEND VEDDING PRESENTS!”

The only gift we give the Lord is . . . ourselves! And then He chooses to use us and give us His rest. Thank God for Matthew 11:28-30 today!

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2020 in Matthew 11

 

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