May 28, 2017   Matthew 11:28 – 30   Come and rest.   


    As we read the scripture and meditate on it we focus and find rest in Jesus.   As we take our burdens and trials to the Lord in prayer we find rest in Jesus.   As we fellowship and do bible study together we find ourselves refreshed and growing.   What have you focused on this week?    Correct focus can be challenging sometimes.   Sometimes we think and say and I am doing the best I can.  Often that is not true because we are not focusing and dealing with things that we should be dealing with. 

   John Ortberg shares about boarding an airport shuttle that drove people to and from the airport and rental car area.   That is a thankless job.   People are often tired when they travel and can be grumpy.  The people are always in a hurry to get somewhere else.  John said this man was an absolute delight.  He kept looking for anyone who needed a ride.  He said you could tell by the way the person looked.  He said I never want to miss one.   I can tell by their eyes he said.   Here is another one and he would jump out and grab their luggage before they could lift it.  And then they would be off.  He told them I will get you there as quickly as possible.  The people on the bus started cheering him on.  He created a community.  He was a leader and a friend.  People started telling others that were getting on to watch him.  Christians can create that kind of an environment.  Churches should be like that.  A Christian walking close to Jesus can create that kind of an atmosphere.  This man had a heart to serve.  He wanted to have fun at work. 

    Jesus said in this passage come unto me and I will give you rest.  This is an invitation to all that are weary and burdened.  C.S, Lewis said God whispers to us in our pleasure but shouts to us in our pain.  If you are weary and burdened this invitation from Jesus the King of Kings is for you.  God invites you to come to him.  This is a great invitation.   Turn to Jesus from your fear and He will give you rest.   Come to Jesus from your anger and He will give you rest.   Come to Jesus in your temptation and He will give you rest.   Come to Jesus in your brokenness and He will give you rest.   Come to Jesus with your unanswered questions about family and life and He will give you rest.   Come to Jesus with your physical issues and pain and He will give you rest.  Whatever causes you to be weary and burdened. Jesus said come.   Come to Jesus with your busy life styles.

    But you have to come to him.   You have to take time to come to him.   You have to squeeze out some of the other stuff and come to Jesus.   At work take a moment or two to reflect on him.   Put your favorite verse on your desk and look at it from time to time.   Pause and think about his love for you.   Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you he is mighty to save.   He will take great delight in you he will quiet you with his love for he will rejoice over you with singing.  

     We need to come to him in faith.   We need to remember that he is faithful and that God is great and God is good.  The disciples often missed it.   They witnessed Jesus feeding the multitudes with a couple of fish and loaves of bread and then when Jesus talked to them about the leaven of the Pharisees they thought that Jesus was saying that because they forgot to bring bread.   That is pretty interesting but we can be like that also.   Jesus said did you guys forget how the multitudes were being fed?   We can forget God’s blessing and deliverance in our lives.   We can forget his provision also. 

    Hebrews 4 tells us the message they heard was of no value to them because those who heard it did not combine it with faith.   Now we who have believed enter that rest just as God has said.   God in his anger said that they would not enter into his rest.    Hebrews 3:12 See to it brothers that none of you has a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.   It was their unbelief that prevented them from going into the Promised Land.   God wanted them to enter into his rest and into the land.   We walk by faith and not by sight.

        To come implies that we trust him and accept him.    The invitation is to the weary and to those who are exhausted and wore down.   That is exactly how the people felt under the yoke of pharisaical legalism.   Most likely Jesus was speaking to some who were seeking God and trying to get to God by doing works and by keeping the written man-made laws of the Jewish leaders.    Those that labor to get to heaven by works are burdened.  As Christians, we can rest in the work that Jesus did for us on the cross.  We do not have to worry if we are good enough to get into heaven.  We have righteousness because we have Jesus in our heart.  We do not labor for our salvation.  That work was done on the cross for us.  Jesu paid the debt.  Jesus paid it all.  Jesus took my sin.      

    Why does the Christian find rest in Jesus?    I think one key is right in this passage.   Jesus said I am meek and lowly in heart.   Jesus is not critical and judgmental if we come by faith and in humility. God is not arrogant.  God is not self centered.   Jesus said I am meek and lowly in heart.   There is not a lot of folks around with that kind of a heart.   Hebrews 4 we can come boldly before the throne of God through Jesus.  Jesus graciously responded to the humble.   He was known as the friend of sinners.   What a friend we have in Jesus.

    Jesus is not saying here that we no longer have to work, does he?  We have to work.  The yoke is a symbol of work.    But work can be good and made lighter if it is shared.    Work can be real tough.  It can be difficult when others do not pull along with us.  It can difficult when you have too much work to do or you have work to do that you do not know how to do it.  Supervisors can be difficult to work with.   Sometimes our burden is not light because we are not where God wants us to be.  We need to hear Jesus voice and get into the flow that God has for our life.  I think it is good to have a job you enjoy.  It is good to see people who fit with their job and like their job.  We should be serving Jesus through our work.  That should make work important and fulfilling.  We work for Jesus and not line someone’s pocket with money.  Do everything unto to the Lord.  The Christian seeks to please Jesus.   

    But sin is also a great cause of burden because sin tears down and our pride tears us down.  To rest in Jesus means that you are not in a far country living in riotous living.  There is bondage in sin.  Sin brings bondage.   If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   If we confess he forgives.   People have trouble forgiving others and ourselves but God forgives and accepts because of his great love   Romans 8 it is not God who condemns but God justifies and makes us right in his eyes.   Why do Christians find rest in Jesus?   The fruit of walking in the Holy Spirit is love, joy and peace.  Jesus promises peace to his followers.  Jesus promises to help us.  Jesus gives us strength and wisdom.  His spirit is good guide in life for us.    

    He said his yoke is easy and his burden is light.    Jesus said it was his yoke.  The yoke was made by him.   It was made by him and it is for you.  His yoke is easy.  Not your yoke but his yoke.  We tend to carry a lot of stuff that is not easy to carry.   I think life’s yoke and burden can be quite heavy if you do not pray and roll it onto Jesus.   At times I strain.  I take the whole load.   If I do not share it I am buried.   We need to see ourselves as equally yoked with Jesus.  Jesus made yokes as a carpenter and someone has commented that they advertised our yokes fit perfectly.   It is perfectly geared toward us but we share it with Jesus.  We need to see him pulling with us.  We can’t perfectly live up to God’s standards.  You can bury yourself with that burden.  The invitation is here and his acceptance is here.  Come to me Jesus said and if you do you will find rest for your soul.  

   We can be busy and have much work to do and be at rest.   We can walk in peace and find rest if he is first in our life.   Come unto me Jesus said.   Come to him.  In John Jesus told the Jews you will not come that you may have life.  Come and rest.   When you are driving on a long trip those rest areas can be a life saver.  After a while you look forward to the next one to pull off and be refreshed and perhaps get something to eat and drink.  Often we only stop for a few minutes but sometimes I need several hours or a day with the Lord.   It takes time to unload from life.  Take a rest with and in Him.   He pleads for us to come and none of us go to him enough.   God wants to give you rest.   The promise in this passage is that Jesus would give us rest.    If we come He gives rest.   That is exciting.    I need to go to Him to get it.   David wrote he leads me beside the still waters and he restores my soul.   

     The invitation is to come and learn and it is to take his yoke upon us.   I think that is an invitation to be his disciple.  That invitation is discipleship.  The disciple of Jesus is to forsake all to follow Jesus and it is to die daily to follow Jesus.    I think the yoke that He invites us to take upon us is the cross.   We die to our struggles.  We die to our wants and desires.       

      In Palestine, the ox yokes were made of wood.   The ox was brought and measurements were taken.    The yoke was then roughed out of wood and the ox was brought back to have the yoke tried on.   The yoke then was carefully fitted so that it was comfortable on the ox and did not gall the neck of the beast.    The yoke was custom fit.   It would fit the animal to the T.   The yoke implies submission.  For the ox it was submission to the load it had to pull whether working in the field or going around and around grinding grain or pulling some load.   For us the yoke is submission to Jesus and to the Spirit of God.   Instead of keeping our negative, critical, unhappy thoughts we give thanks and worship Him.  In doing so we find life and joy and victory.   It is to our best interests to become a person of thanksgiving.   It is to our joy to become yoked with Jesus and put off our self-centeredness.   We can live on a higher plane. 

    Life is not easy but His yoke makes life easier.  We can rejoice in the most difficult of situations or we can choose to be sad and depressed.   Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail in Acts 16.    They could have got angry with God and decided not to walk with Him anymore.   They could have been angry and depressed.  They could have decided to quit life and ministry but they prayed and sang hymns at midnight.    It is more fun to sing and worship I think.    Your loving heavenly father has allowed your load in life and that load fits you perfectly.   Rejoice in that burden and struggle and when you do it you will find the load is easier.  That yoke is meant to stretch us and to cause us to go to Him.   We can be a thankful people. 

      We need to learn of Jesus in every one of our daily challenges.   Jesus invites us to learn about him.  It is more than head knowledge.  Learn about his character.  See his gentleness.  See his sweetness.   We can learn of Jesus in that issue we cannot resolve.   We can learn of Jesus in that financial difficulty we are having.   We can learn of Jesus in the struggle with that spouse or child.      Everything that happens in my life is for a purpose and much of it is not easy.  Learn of Jesus in the good and learn of Jesus in the bad.     Can we see God moving in our difficulties?     Can we hear what God is saying to us in the situations of life?   My sheep hear my voice Jesus said.     The words learn of me are closely related to discipleship because a disciple is a follower and a learner.  Jesus disciples are submissive learners.  God speaks to us all the time.   He speaks to us through the scripture but I believe that He also speaks to us through life.   Everything that comes into my life is for a reason.   I think that everything that comes into my life has a purpose in it.

   Are you yoked with Jesus today or is that yoke getting dust on it?   Can and will you willingly take his yoke today?     Jesus can handle anything in your life and in this world.   Nothing is too hard for God.  Come to me Jesus said.  Learn of me.  Feast on Jesus love for you.  Fill your life with Him.  Let him encourage you and give you strength and wisdom.  Jesus said if you are weary come to him.  You can have a friend that is closer than a brother.