Tag Archives: toil

The Great Invitation (A Study of Matthew 11:28-30) Part 4

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. In our third post we began outlining the passage. And we noticed —

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

Did you see that the great invitation is not given to all? What?! Not all are invited to come to Jesus?! Yes! Notice how the Lord Himself qualifies His invitation: “all you who are weary and burdened . . .” But let’s not be too hasty. He does use the term “all.” So the invitation is all-inclusive . . . for those who are described as “weary” and “burdened.” In our culture (which seems to worship inclusivism) Jesus’ invitation is exclusive to those who fit these two categories.

The term “weary” is the Greek word οἱ κοπιῶντες. This verb (whose root is κοπιάω) is in the present active participle form and includes both the idea of 1) the passive state of being weary from labor and 2) the activity of hard labor, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.

The verb means “to grow weary, to toil, to work with effort (of bodily and mental labor alike).” Its cognate κόπος refers to “exhausting labor, to labor until worn-out, depleted.”

Used 23 times in the New Testament, Matthew 6:28 speaks about the flowers of the field who “do not labor or spin.” In Luke 5:5 we learn of Simon’s complaint that “we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything . . .” Sometimes the word simply means “tired” as in John 4 where we read that “Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.” Forms of the verb are found later in John 4 where Jesus says, “38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

In Acts 20:35 Paul is addressing the elders of Ephesus and says, “35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Other uses of this verb include Romans 16:12 (“12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.

We read in Ephesians 4:28 that the one who steals must steal no longer, but rather he must labor . . . with his own hands.” In Philippians 2:16 Paul fears that he has toiled in vain. I Thessalonians 5:12 tells us we should appreciate those “who diligently labor among you . . .” Paul challenges ministers to discipline themselves and says, “it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” (I Timothy 4:10). We read of hard working preachers in I Timothy 5:17 and hard working farmers in 2 Timothy 2:6. The church in Ephesus is commended in Revelation 2 for their deeds and their “toil.”

Today’s Challenge: Are you exhausted? Worn out from trying to work out your own salvation (in a wrong way)? Come to Jesus. Bring your weariness. And you will be glad you did!

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Posted by on July 26, 2020 in Matthew 11


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