Jesus the Evangelist

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

                                                                                                                                                                Matthew 11:28-30

                At the heart of Matthew’s Gospel is this beautiful passage which points us to only real solution to our problem as human beings.  Matthew records for us the invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ to us.  His invitation meets us in the depths of our weariness and need.  If we honestly examine our world we quickly come to the conclusion that we are desperately needy.  We hear each day about wars, rumours of wars, violence, crime, dishonesty, broken marriages, the exploitation of others, and the constant need to be on guard against the dishonesty of others.  Who has not seen the constant barrage of deceptive advertizing which has come to us through the internet?

As a world we are desperately needy.  We find ourselves thinking at times that if only the behaviour of others could be brought under control then all of the world’s problems could be solved.  This is where a second honest look is required.  This time we must look at ourselves.  When we do look at ourselves we discover that the problem is not just with other people.  It is with us as well.  We are desperately wicked, unable to be understood even by ourselves.  We have tried to reform ourselves but we constantly find ourselves failing.  We need help.

What is the solution?  We have grown weary trying to keep ourselves in line.  We have tried to live better lives.  Our yearly resolutions demonstrate this fact.  Like the resolutions our attempts at reformation often result in failure.  It is here that the Lord Jesus Christ brings us the only solution that will ever really be able to deal with our problem.  This is the gospel solution.  The Lord Jesus invites us to come to Him for rest in our weariness.  He is the solution.  The reason for this illustration is owing to the reason He came among us.  He came to bear our sin in His own body upon the cross so that we might live in His resurrection life.

In John 6:35 we read these words of the Lord Jesus Christ regarding the invitation He gives to us, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never go thirsty.”  In this verse John uses present participles to translate what Jesus says about coming to Jesus and believing in Him.  These participles refer to the actions of coming to Jesus and believing in Him as continual action in the present.  We are constantly coming to Him, and constantly believing in Him.  We did not just come and believe in Him at some point in the past.  It is a continual relationship of coming and believing in Him.  We are not coming to Him as an idea, or the head of a religious movement.  We are coming and believing in a person.  This person is God who took on human flesh in order to redeem us from sin through His cross.  When we come to Him and believe we enter into a relationship of faith in which we find ourselves resting in Him for all of eternity.  We find Him completely sufficient for our every need.

William Hendrickson in his New Testament Commentary on Matthew’s Gospel (page 504) gives us a hint about what Matthew is recording for us when he quotes from the Syriac (Peshitta) New Testament, “Come to me….and I will rest you…..for I am restful…..and you shall find rest for yourselves.”  The rest is in Him, and in Him alone.  We receive it when we come to Him.  All of life’s burdens are meant to teach us this one crucial thing.  This is that we need Him.  We must come to Him if we are to receive the rest that we so desperately need.  This is the evangelistic invitation that the Lord Jesus Christ gives to us.

The question for us is this.  Will we come to Jesus?  Will we receive the rest that He promises us?  The answer that we give to this question will determine our eternal home.