Summary: To those burdened by sin and dispair, Jesus gives an invitation to come unto him and receive his rest.
The Great Invitation
Matt. 11:25-30 (Luke 10:1-24)
In Luke chapter 10, Jesus sends out the 70. In Luke 10:17 we see the 70 returning rejoicing. Then in Luke 10:21-24, Jesus praises God. There is a parallel to these last four verses found in Matt. 11:25-30.
In Matt. 11:25-26, Jesus praises God:
1. As Father. Using this intimate term, Jesus claims equality with God (John 5:18).
2. As Lord of heaven and earth. The ONE with all rule and authority.
3. As the one who reveals “these things.” Things concerning the kingdom of God were not revealed to Pharisees and Sadducees, the wise and intelligent, but to fishermen and tax collectors; the spiritual babes. Those depending more on God than their own so called wisdom.
In Matt 11:27, Jesus claims authority over all things. Previously he had demonstrated his authority over:
1. Satan - - - Matt. 4:1-11. In verse 10, Jesus says, “Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ (vs. 11) Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”
2. Nature - - - Matt. 8:23-27. Here we see Jesus in the boat with his disciples when a storm arises. The disciples awaken Jesus and he commands the wind and the waves to be still.
3. Demons - - - Matt. 8:28-32. In this story, Jesus meets two demon possessed men. The demons in the men acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God and ask to be cast into a herd of swine. Jesus casts them into the swine and the swine run into the sea and drown.
4. Human handicaps and ailments - - - Matt. 9:1-8, 20-22. In this section, Jesus heals the paralytic, and the woman with a hemorrhage. In verses 1-8 a paralytic is brought to Jesus and when Jesus heals him he picks up his bed and walks away. Verse 8 is important for it says, “When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” Then in verses 20-22 while Jesus was walking, a woman who had suffered a hemorrhage for many years touched the hem of his garment and was healed.
5. Life and death - - - Matt. 9:18-19, 23-26. This passage raises the daughter of a ruler from the dead.
Finally in Matt. 11:27, Jesus makes this dramatic claim, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Based on that claim of authority then, Jesus issues his Great Invitation in Matt. 11:28-30.
1. First he says, “Come to me . . .” I have the power. I have the authority. I have proved it again and again. Devil, demons, nature, human ailments, death. Come to me AND NO ONE ELSE. I am the only one in the universe that can give you what you need.
2. “ . . . all who labor and are heavy laden.”
First problem. The people were weary to the point of collapse. They were laboring under the heavy load of the law and all the additions made to it by the elders. Jesus refers to this in Matt. 23:4, “ . . . and they tie up heavy loads and lay them on people’s shoulders . . .”
This statement refers to the Talmud which contained the Law plus the traditions of the elders which were considered as having equal authority. The Talmud created an impossible burden for those who were attempting to abide by the Law. But even without the additions of the Talmud, the Law was impossible to keep. Paul refers to it as a yoke of bondage in Acts 15:10 and a yoke of slavery in Gal. 5:1.
It is the law that requires perfect obedience James 2:10 says that if you violate just one point of the law, you have violated the whole law. It is the law of “sin and death.” YOU SIN AND YOU DIE! And Paul says in 3:23 that “all have sinned.” But as all have sinned, so Jesus offers rest from that burden to ALL who will come to him. For those who would come to Jesus, he offers REST.
3. “Come to me . . . and I will give you rest . . . rest for your souls.”
Jesus uses the term “rest” twice in this short passage for significance, for rest is the one thing needed most by those under the burden of sin and the law. Those of you who have been in the armed services will be familiar with the term, “R and R.” Rest and recreation. It is a time when the soldier, or sailor, or airman, is allowed to leave his duties and spend resting and regaining his energy. But eventually the soldier, sailor, airman, has to return to his duties and become weary again.