“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.
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 11:27–30 ESV)
I think I’ve always subconciously read 11:27 on its own, and read on its own it gets caught up into all the difficult debates about God’s sovereign choice. Today though I read straight on to the next verse, and it hit me forcibly that read together these verses explain exactly to whom Jesus chooses to reveal the Father.
Jesus chooses to reveal the Father to all who labour and are burdened. To all who struggle under burdens they cannot bear. Read on in Matthew and the next stories show how Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and came to restore Sabbath to its original purpose of celebrating and giving life, rather than being a burden. Read on further and Matthew quotes Isaiah 42 to describe Jesus, the one who will not put out a smouldering wick, or crush a bruised reed. To all who struggle under man made burdens, to all who are weary Jesus says one word:
Come. Come to me. He will give rest. He will give us a yoke that we can bear. It takes some learning. But we have a gentle and humble teacher. It could actually be that these verses are the source of the much maligned description “meek and mild”. We’ve taken those words to mean wimp. But they don’t. Not unless standing while you are whipped to an inch of your life before you are nailed to a cross (when you could call down a legion of angels in your protection) means you are a wimp.
And as we come, and as we take up His yoke, and as we learn from him what real gentleness and humility are we will find rest. Not an absence of work, but a yoke that fits. The ESV translates it as “easy”, but it could be translated “kind”, a yoke that is kind, and a burden that is light – the same word Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 4 about our “light and momentary troubles” which are outweighed by the eternal glory.
Do we want to know the Father better? Then come to Jesus, and take up his yoke – be ready to learn from him and know what it is to truly have rest – a work that fits us, and that is bearable – because it is Jesus who gives it to us. He is the God of the broken, the friend of the weak, he is the one who washes the feet of the weary and embraces those in need – he is the humble king – the God who loves so much he gives his all to draw us to him. The God who kneels in humility and washes our feet. The God who shows his glory by giving it away – whose glory is most clearly seen on a cross.
In all our strivings, all our works, all our efforts to serve God and do his will let us remember these things, and be those who point others back to the God of the broken.
I love this Vineyard song which sums up most of what struck me this morning: