“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
After praising and thanking the Father for his sovereign election, that he has chosen to hide the truth of Christ from those considered wise by the standard of Jesus’ day and reveal the gospel to those who were commoners, Christ beckons his crowd to come to him on the condition that they are heavy laden. Jesus spoke like this often. In John 7:37b-38 He says:
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
Jesus equates the coming to Him and drinking of Him as metaphors for placing faith and trust in Him alone. He calls all men to who are in a certain condition. Of course not the condition of righteousness, good behavior, or proper use of sacraments, but those who are weary and heavy laden, those who thirst.
In order to come to Christ, we must first be broken. Broken must be our view of sin and the pleasures of this world. Broken must be our confidence in any idol or false god. Broken must be any hope in our own ability to save ourselves. We must come to God in a spirit of brokenness. As the psalmist says:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
What do the virgin celibate priest and the sexually promiscuous, drug inhaling junkie have in common? They both are hard-hearted. One depends on his works and his rituals. He believes something in his performance will earn him peace with God. The other has completely forgone peace with God and now delights himself in whatever his body fancies. He will suppress the truth perhaps with atheism or with the idea of a false god that just forgives all and could careless about righteousness. The reality for both these examples is that if they do not come to God broken and helpless with their sin they will perish.
To the one who is broken, the one who cries, “Woe is me I am a man of unclean lips!” That man is one to whom the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus said that one of the attitudes we must have is that of poverty. We must recognize the holiness of the God we have offended. That we are completely incapable of making amends with God and that we will be condemned. If we do not make amends we will only know the presence of His wrath poured out on us in hell. When we come to this poverty of spirit that is when we can see the great riches in Christ.
He calls to the weak, “Come to me.” He calls to the weak to cast the burden of their sin onto Him. He promises to take the yoke of every sinner who will believe because in all actuality he already has on the cross. John 3:16 says:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God gave His Son that whoever believes would not perish. God has chosen who will believe and He monorgistically brings all His elect children to the breaking point, where they are so burdened with sin that they must be made free. This is exactly what God did to Jacob by putting him under the authority of his deceitful uncle. This is what God did to Paul, blinding him for days so that He might show Paul all he would suffer on behalf of Christ.
Sinner if you feel this burden and the desire to be set free search no longer for your freedom is had by faith in Christ Jesus. Trust in His death and resurrection. Place your burden on Him! Not only does He take our yoke, the weight, and consequence of our sin, but he gives us His yoke, His perfect righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says:
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Christ, the only perfect man and only begotten of Son of God, took the full wrath of God on the cross that sinners may be reconciled to Him. Oh, what love is this that Christ would take the place of every repentant sinner! What love of Christ that he would stand in the gap between us and God, perfectly satisfying God’s justice by bearing the weight of our sin that we might be set free!
Sinner, leave your sin today! Repent of your self-righteousness. You are weak and incapable of bearing the weight of your sin. You carry the sentence of eternal death every day, a burden too great to bear. Cast that burden on the Lord Jesus Christ! Cast all your burdens on Him! Come to Him by faith and be set free from sin!
Jesus is the perfect, compassionate Savior. You need a Savior and if you would humble yourself today and come to Him He would faithfully cleanse you of your sin, free you from the wrath of God, and clothe you with His perfect righteousness. You would be transformed from a child of wrath to an object of God’s steadfast love. Why would you choose to bear the weight of your sin? Turn to Christ and live. Humble yourself before Him. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself before Christ and receive the salvation He offers for every weary sinner. Look to Christ.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” – John 10:11
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