Summary: Freedom is not found in discarding the yoke of Christ; it's found in losing our own burden. It's not found in discarding his authority; it's an amazing truth that freedom is found under the yoke of Christ.
Opening illustration: All of us enjoy receiving invitations—to a meal, a wedding, or a concert. Usually, when the invitation is printed on a little card, there are cryptic letters written at the bottom: RSVP. We know what those letters mean. They are an abbreviation of a French request to reply to the invitation. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that.
A couple found political asylum in the USA during the Second World War. They came from Central Europe, and they were not well versed in the American culture. One day they received an invitation to a wedding, and at the bottom of the invitation were those cryptic letters: RSVP. In his thick, Eastern European accent, the husband said, "Vife, vat does it mean: RSVP?” So they thought for a while, until inspiration dawned, and the husband said, "Vife, I know vat it means: Remember Send Vedding Presents."
They made a mistake by imaging that the message was a demand when, in reality, it was an invitation. Unfortunately, there are many people who make the same mistake about Jesus Christ and the gospel. They think it is a demand when in reality it is an offer—a free invitation.
Today’s passage is found in Matthew 11 and Jesus is not demanding anything … just making an offer. How we respond to it matters the most.
Introduction: No amount of philosophy or theology or speculation can give us the intellectual rest that comes through faith in Jesus. The Christian claim is that the relationship of the believer to Jesus is all important. We are saved by faith, not by our understanding or intellect. Many who have great intelligence are still lacking the wisdom that comes from believing in the Lord. Many of limited learning and understanding have the personal joy of knowing and loving the Savior and knowing that they are valued and loved by God. When we come to Jesus, we find rest for our souls––the Greek word is psyche––for our minds. We can rest from having to figure everything out, from having to understand the meaning of the universe. We can be free to give our doubts also to God. You can have peace of mind, rest in your quest, by receiving God's revelation in Jesus.
What is Christ asking us to lay down?
1. Vain Things (vs. 25-27) - Empty, fruitless, nothing of lasting value
Jesus is talking about the Father concealing things from those who are worldly wise and think they are too smart for the world and even for God. But all things have been revealed to Christ through the Father. Therefore all the vain things of the world must be put away so that God’s wisdom can be revealed to us in great measure. It is better to be a fool for Christ than be worldly wise in the sight of man. What are the vain things of the world that we must lay down at the feet of Jesus? The scriptures warn us of a number of these vain things (1 Corinthians 10:12).
• MAKING THIS WORLD & ITS ACTIVITIES THE GOAL OF YOUR LIFE – Ecclesiastes 1:2 (Neither pleasure, wealth, materialism, wisdom, death, labor, social standing, etc. give lasting satisfaction)