Warnings and Invitations

Matthew 11:20-30

IN Matthew 11:20-30, our Lord reaches one of the crossroads in His ministry. Hitherto He has preached to the lost sheep of the house of Israel the gospel of the kingdom, offering Himself as the long-expected Messiah. But Israel has refused Him, so now He pronounces judgment upon them and turns to the world at large with a general invitation for all who are weary—the laboring and the laden—to come to Him for rest.

It is a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy that the cities here condemned lie today in ruins. Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum are mute witnesses to the truth of this judgment. That it would be “more tolerable” for Sodom and Tyre and Sidon indicates that there will be degrees of punishment.

Then our Lord thanked God that the deeper truths were hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes. It has ever been so; the wise in their own conceits pass the gospel by while the simple receive it. Only those who abandon their pride and become childlike can enter the kingdom. If it were otherwise, men would take credit for being saved, and flesh would glory in His presence.

Then follows one of those sublime statements that show the resources of our Lord: “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Here all things belong to Jesus, and Paul says all things also are ours (1 Cor. 3:21-23), for we are joint-heirs with Christ. In this passage all things are Christ’s, and He says “Come” (v. 28). In John 3:35-36 again all things are His, and He says “Believe.” And in Matthew 28:18-20 all power is His, and then He says “Go.”

Having first stated His resources, Jesus then invites the laboring and laden to come to Him. Since all belong to these classes, all are invited. Notice, He says He will give us rest; but in the next verse He bids us learn of Him and find rest. Rest is both an obtainment and an attainment. Positionally, we receive His rest when we come to Him. But conditionally, in experience, this rest is ours daily as we abide in Him and learn of Him. It is not earned, but it is learned! Hebrews 4:9-11 bears the same thought concerning His rest: the person who has entered into God’s rest has ceased from his own works; yet the next verse bids us labor to enter into that rest. His yoke is not an extra burden to be added to our others, but it is meant to make all our burdens lighter! (Perhaps the collar of the “disciple” is meant here, rather than the yoke placed upon a beast of burden.)

Those who would reduce the Christian experience to a tedious round of observances and restrictions forget that His yoke is easy and His burden light.

Our faith is not weights but wings! Coming to Him, rest is ours; as we practice His rest, it becomes our condition as well as our position.

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