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

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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The Great Invitation (A Study of Matthew 11:28-30) Part 3

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. Here’s that famous text once again:

In our first post we thought a bit about the context of this incredible invitation. Our second post on this text looked a bit at the Koiné Greek of this passage and we saw certain terms repeated with a variety of important implications.

Let’s begin in this post to outline this passage.

I. The Great Invitation (v. 28):  Note that Jesus says, “Come to me . . .” He doesn’t say come to the Father, but come to me! We noticed in our first post that Jesus stated a few verses earlier: ”  27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” In no uncertain terms, the Son claims to be the only One who truly knows the Father and He has the power to reveal the Father to those He chooses.

One can’t help but be reminded of John 14:6 where we read, ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If He is indeed right, then the most rational step anyone could take would be to come to Jesus!

In our next post we will notice that this great invitation is not extended to everyone. Really.

Today’s Challenge: Christians have no right to waffle on the issue of Jesus’ being the exclusive way to the Father. Let us not be ashamed to proclaim Him — and Him alone — as the only Savior and the only way to the Father!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2020 in Matthew 11

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 7)

We only have two posts remaining in our study of what we are calling GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. The next two challenges are found in verses 15-16 —

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Be thankful (v. 15), and
(2) Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly (v. 16).

Have you known people who just seem to be naturally thankful? I have. But they are few and far between. Most people I know (including myself) find it far easier to complain about life and its many disappointments. BEING THANKFUL is a key virtue for the believer — and is one of the habits forsaken by the world (see Romans 1).

I don’t need to go into detail about the many blessings of life for which we should BE THANKFUL. One practice that is helping me is to occasionally (not every day) wake up and say out loud, “FOR WHAT 5 THINGS ARE YOU THANKFUL TO THE LORD TODAY?” Seriously. Even before my morning coffee, I’ve found that when I do that, my mind begins to get calibrated rightly. And my list isn’t always about huge blessings. A few days ago I even thanked the Lord that my dog Scrabble isn’t suffering anymore (we had to put him down). BE THANKFUL TODAY!

We are also to “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.” There is much here, but the image that comes to my mind is that the Good News about Jesus shouldn’t be like a squatter who’s staying in an abandoned house uninvited. Christ’s message is the guest of honor who will be shown every courtesy and welcomed into our hearts with enthusiasm. To “dwell among you richly” means it becomes the central focus of our lives. It is the most honored guest. And it is not coming for a brief visit. It is going to DWELL in us now and forever!

Jesus is a gentleman who does not force His message on us, but awaits our invitation. Is His message dwelling among you richly today?

 

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2019 in christian life

 

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