Summary: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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” Matthew 11:28-29.
A major problem in our nation today, and not a day goes by without it being mentioned in the news media, is corruption. All attempts to end it have proved unsuccessful as many people see nothing wrong with it. The reason is that they are always hearing that lying and cheating pays. We start hearing this through our much-acclaimed Anansi stories. The hero in these stories deceives, cheats, tell lies and is only concerned about his own wellbeing. He acquires what does not belong to him through deceitful means and is celebrated and admired as a wise and successful person. These Anansi stories have made cheating and corruption acceptable to many people and there are many Kweku Anansis in our midst who are being praised and celebrated. Since Anansi stories are part of our heritage we cannot discard them but the old Anansi can become a new Anansi who is honest and truthful, who is concerned about the welfare of other people, acts out of love and compassion and works hard to be successful. A new Anansi will impact our lives in a positive way and change the destiny of the nation. As a people, we need to embrace a righteous lifestyle and put an end to our sinful lifestyle and this is only possible when we heed the call of Christ to come to Him.
Step One: The call of Christ
a) To establish a relationship
Jesus Christ invites us to “Come to Him” to establish a relationship. We were created to have a relationship with God so that we could fulfil His divine will and purpose for our lives.
b) To free us from our heavy burdens
He calls us to free us from the heavy burdens that make life difficult and leads to death. In the case of the Jews they were tired with their unsuccessful attempts to obey the Law and the restrictions imposed on them by their religious leaders. They were tired of paying high taxes to the Romans and being compelled to serve them in various ways.
c) To reconcile us to God
Jesus Christ calls us to “Come to Him” to reconcile us to God. He calls us to come to Him and to no other person as He is the only way to the Father. The world thinks there are many ways to God just as there are many ways to Rome. Finding a way to Rome does not bring you to God. The truth is that there are many different situations, conditons and experiences that lead us to Christ who is only one way to the Father.
Jesus is still calling us today. Many people still have no relationship with Him and are carrying heavy loads. Many people are burdened with guilt, shame, and rejection, burdened with doubt and regret, and burdened with unforgiveness and bitterness. They are trying to meet the demands of the Law and the demands of some religious leaders. Only Jesus Christ can free us from these heavy burdens. The Law was not given to make us righteous although it is holy, just and perfect. It was given to reveal sin for without the Law we would not have known what sin is. When we find ourselves doing the very thing we hate it is the Law that reveals sin in us and our need for a Saviour.
The Law cannot make any one righteous as it requires the self-effort of man. Only Christ can make us righteous because it depends on what Christ has accomplished on our behalf.
Step Two: Salvation is God’s gift
a) We have all sinned
No man can fulfil the Law as of us have inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. (Rom 3:23) We all deserve to die “For the wages of sin is death”. (Rom 6:23) but Christ took our place and died to pay the price for our forgiveness.
b) Christ paid the penalty for sin
Christ, who was without sin, was made sin and endured the full judgement of God on sin for us to be forgiven of our past, present and future sins “For by one sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified”.
c) We are saved by grace
Our salvation does not depend on anything we have done but on what Christ has done for “By grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8)
When we come to Christ He gives us rest. We have peace with God. When we take His yoke, and learn from Him we have rest for our souls. We have the peace of God. The yoke of the Law is “The ministry of death carved in letters on stone”. (2 Cor. 3:7) When we are identified with Christ and with His death we are dead to the Law and free to come under the grace of God. We are not able to keep the Law of Moses because it depends on what we do. Grace however, does not depend on us but on Christ. Christ has paid the full price for the forgiveness of sin. It is a price we could never pay and our forgiveness is made available by grace. “The Law was given through Moses, grace and truth through Jesus Christ” (John 1:19) When Moses gave the Law on Mount Sinai at Pentecost, 3000 people died. When the Holy Spirit came at another Pentecost 3000 people were saved