Summary: Evangelistic message declaring Jesus’ message of welcome to those weary with life.
An Attractive Invitation
I. I’m not here as an entertainer though hopefully what I have to say will be interesting. I’m not here as a teacher though my passage and my message should be instructive. I’m not here to lay on you any kind of external compulsion. I’m here kind of like the mail-man; I’m here to bring the mail and if you find this invitation addressed to you it is your privilege to accept it.
A. Matt. 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
II. Jesus is here inviting the laborers: “Come unto me all ye that labor.”
A. The word “labor” implies more than work.
B. Work is a privilege and a source of some measure of satisfaction. No one can be happy who is not in some sense a worker. Work is a safeguard against temptation. Idle hours are hours of danger.
C. The root of this word labor is Kopos, kop’-os; meaning a cut, i.e. by analogy toil as reducing the strength, lit. or fig.; by impl. pains:--labor, + trouble, weariness.
1. It means work that is carried on at the price of willingness and pain.
2. It is work that is so heavy and hard or so futile that it becomes agony.
3. It is work that has degenerated into toil. The toil of the treadmill.
4. The monotonous struggle that ends in lean achievement or utter frustration
D. An example: One day Jesus commanded His disciples to enter into a ship and go to the other side of the lake. They obeyed with eagerness. These were veteran sailors. The lake had been their life. For a while the wind went with them and they sailed over the silvery water in simple beauty. But suddenly a tempest swept down upon them. Now there was no progress. The work of the beginning was turned into the labor Jesus talked about. They were straining far harder than they were when the sea was calm, but they were getting nowhere. Strain as they might all they could get out of it was weariness, blistered palms, frustration, and defeat.
E. In 1930 an unusual event took place. It still represents an open case in the FBI missing-person files. On August 15, after dining out with his family, a New York State Supreme Court Justice named Joseph Carter hailed a taxi and was never seen or heard from again. The FBI thought the disappearance might be work-related as the judge had heard many mob cases. But there was no real evidence to support that theory. All investigations led to dead-ends. The only clue was a note he left for his wife and family. It said, "I am very, very tired. Love, Joe." That was it. That was the last anyone ever heard from him.
F. I think many of us feel that way. Jesus has something to say to the person who is exhausted, to the person who is worn out, chewed up and spit out by life. He offers rest to those who are frustrated, hurting, and tired.
III. The second group Jesus invited is the burdened. Those carrying weighty loads hear a personal invitation: Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden.
A. Burdens of anxiety, tormented by fear.
B. Sin may have dominion over you or some member of your family. They are held captive and robbed of all spiritual or moral beauty.
C. Loads of deep fear.
D. Struggling under a burden of sorrow or disappointment. You once dreamed great dreams but they have come to nothing.
E. You have travelled a road that promised to lead to great and wonderful adventure but it has led to a swamp or a desert.
F. Others are carrying burdens of self-will: In the Arabian Nights a gentleman out of sheer kindness took a feeble old man on his shoulders to give him a lift but once he was there the old man refused to dismount. He was the old man of the sea and he became a crushing weight on the shoulders of the one who tried to befriend him. Self will is a heavier burden than the old man of the sea.
G. Augustine said, "I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful, but I never read in either of them, ’Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden.’"
IV. What did Jesus invite us to do?
A. “Come unto me” Jesus used this phrase on several occasions: