Summary: Message regarding the peace and rest offered by Jesus.
Take a Load Off Your Soul, Brother!
March 19, 2006
I went to some of the games at the State “B” basketball tourney this weekend. My nephew Bo, all 6’ 3” of him was playing for the team from Hurley.
During the Friday game I commented to my brother’s friends that Bo had gotten his athletic ability from his uncle – me.
They laughed at me. Almost as much as you just did…
As lame as that as, it’s not nearly as bad as a short, skinny, white guy trying to make jokes like, “Take a Load Off Your Soul, Brother!” Soul brother – get it? Okay, I’m forgetting that we’re in NE South Dakota. Oh well.
Today, as we continue our walk through the gospel of Matthew, we finish chapter 11, where Jesus gives one of the most classic invitations in all of the Bible.
This invitation is for everyone, and it has eternal implications. It’s the offer of rest for your soul.
I’m going to talk about it later in greater detail, but I want us to look a bit at what led up to that.
And as we do that, we’re going to work our way through these six verses. So I’m going to ask you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 11, and we’re going to look at verses 25-30. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats, this is found on page 689.
Today I want to show you three facts Jesus gives us in this passage that are very significant for life here on earth and for our eternal futures.
Actually, it’s really two facts and an invitation, but I think you’re sharp enough to pick up on that!
But before I do that, let me just refresh your memory about what we talked about last week, because that’ll help us understand a bit more of what Jesus is trying to communicate here.
Jesus had just got ripping on a bunch of cities, because in spite of the fact that he had lived among them and performed most of his miracles in them, they still didn’t get the picture that Jesus was the Messiah.
And now he makes a little shift and discusses just what he has to offer. So let’s pick this up as we work our way through this passage, okay?
Fact #1: Real spiritual knowledge is for the humble.
25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
He’s not saying “little children” in the sense of being chronologically young, although that may be part of it.
He’s saying that those who aren’t so full of themselves with all their “knowledge” are more likely to get the real picture.
The religious leaders in Jesus day had all sorts of knowledge. They had all the “schoolin’,” and could quote chapter and verse from the Old Testament and from the writings of the early rabbis concerning just about anything you could think of.
But the sad fact of the matter was that for all their knowledge, they still didn’t get that the Messiah was right in front of them.
The very person that the entire Old Testament points to regarding salvation and freedom from sin was right there, and they didn’t recognize him.
But I think it’s also important to understand that Jesus wasn’t just talking about the religious leaders with all their religious upbringing and training. Jesus was talking about all who were self-sufficient and thought they were wise. Or they thought they could make demands of God.
I have been in a number of conversations where a person will say to me something like, “If he’ll just show himself to me, I’ll believe,” or things like that.
But there are two problems with that.
* First, God has already shown himself a number of times, but let me just share three ways:
- Nature, which the Bibles says shows God’s eternal power and divine nature, according to Romans 1:20.
- His presence on earth in the cloud of smoke and pillar of fire during the Exodus (every day for 40 years!). Every day they could look at those and say, “Our God is with us.”
- The physical presence of Jesus, who was God in the flesh.
Not to mention the fact that we have the Bible, filled with eye-witness accounts of God and his working in the midst of people.
* The second problem, and probably the one that doesn’t get enough attention, is that God doesn’t bow to the demands of those who don’t believe in him. God responds to humility.
There’s story about an atheist who traveled around giving lectures at colleges and universities.