This evening I want to begin with a very familiar reading found in Matthew 11:25-30. Please read with me.

Matthew 11:25-30 At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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."

  1. Note that these verses are a prayer that Jesus prayed.
  2. Note the writer sets the general context of the prayer with the words "at that time."
  3. Note his prayer focused on two desires Jesus had:
    1. His desire to praise God for a specific reason.
    2. His desire to help people.

  1. I want to begin by calling your attention to the context of this prayer.
    1. To me the broad context began in chapter 9 when Jesus did some incredible things to help struggling people who seemed beyond help.
      1. He healed a man who was paralyzed and forgave his sins.
      2. He invited Matthew, one of those despised tax collectors, to be his disciple.
      3. He attended a banquet honoring people who were tax collectors and sinners.
      4. He affirmed his compassion for the struggling.
      5. He raised a girl from the dead.
      6. He healed two blind men who believed in him.
      7. He cast a demon out of a man.
      8. And he concluded all this activity with this statement:
        Matthew 9:37,38 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."
    2. Then in chapter 10 Jesus commissioned his 12 disciples to go out into the harvest.
      1. He first gave them authority over unclean spirits and the power to perform all kinds of healing,
      2. He told them how they were to go.
      3. In no uncertain terms, he told them that they would encounter a lot of opposition and have a difficult time.
    3. Chapter 11 began by stating that after Jesus send the twelve out, he went on a preaching and teaching tour.
      1. As he was on his tour, several things happened.
      2. The imprisoned John sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one John was to present to the people.
      3. Jesus used scripture from Isaiah 35:5 following and 61:1 for his answer:
        Matthew 11:4-6 Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me."
        1. Then Jesus affirmed John was sent by God with one of the greatest missions God ever gave any person.
        2. He condemned some people for witnessing his great power and not listening to him.
        3. Then he prayed the prayer we read as we began.
    4. To me, the general context continues through at least the incident in chapter 12 when he is accused of violating the Sabbath.

  2. Now I ask you to give specific attention to the prayer itself.
    1. First, I call your attention to Jesus' praise of God.
      1. On this occasion, for what specifically did Jesus praise God?
        1. For hiding what God was doing [among God's people!] from the wise and intelligent--in general context, I would conclude from the religiously 'well-informed' [the religious authorities] in Israel, those who people thought were really connected to scripture and God's thoughts.
        2. For revealing what He was doing to babes--in general context, the outcast and struggling [those who humbly trusted God's work in Jesus], those that the religious community did not consider to have an understanding of God's ways or will.
        3. Jesus said it was doing this that made God happy.
        4. Then Jesus affirmed the special relationship that he and God had.
      2. In complete agreement with his praising God for hiding what God was doing from the wise and intelligent and revealing it to babes, Jesus issued an astounding invitation.
      3. Who is invited to come to Jesus?
        1. The weary.
        2. The burdened.
      4. What did he promise them?
        1. He promised he would give them rest.
      5. To get his promised rest, what did they need to do?
        1. Wear his yoke.
        2. Let him be their teacher.
      6. Why could he give them rest?
        1. Because he is gentle.
        2. Because he is humble in heart.
      7. How can they wear his yoke and find rest for their souls?
        1. His yoke is pleasant to wear.
        2. His load is light.
    2. Much of the time I feel a deep sense of sadness and grief.
      1. I grieve when I am reminded of how easily we miss God's concerns and purposes.
      2. I grieve when I see how easy it is to be committed to a system instead of being committed to a Savior.
      3. I grieve when I see how easy it is to replace devotion to God with defense of a movement.
      4. I grieve when I see how easy it is to follow rules instead of being devoted to discipleship.
      5. I grieve when I see how easy it is to love sin instead of fleeing from sin.
      6. I grieve when I see how easily we allow our lives, minds, and hearts to be a mess.
      7. I grieve when I struggle to keep from eating too much and think about the millions of people who live with hunger every day.
      8. I grieve when I take my medications and realize how many people in the world will never have the option to be healthy.
      9. I grieve when I see how much hate there is.
      10. I grieve when I see how much struggle there is.
      11. I grieve when I see how much hurt there is.
    3. And then I realize that if I am to praise my God as He should be praised, if I am to represent Him to others as he deserves to be represented, there must be joy in my sorrow.
      1. I must help people see the joy of a God who cares.
      2. I must help people see God's joy in Jesus' death and resurrection.
      3. I must help people see the joy found in a perfect Savior who perfectly addresses our eternal needs.
      4. I must help people see the joy found in trusting what God did in Jesus Christ.
      5. I must help people see the joy found in knowing that our repentance thrills God.
      6. I must help people see the joy found in God's continuing forgiveness.
      7. I must help people see the joy of belonging to the God who wants to help us with our failures.
    4. If I help people see the joy, my life must reflect the joy.

As you live this week, reflect God's joy. God did not call us to declare that if we belong to Him He will give us our heart's desire in our physical desires. God called us to declare that He can care for those things that really matter, matter eternally.

God gave us Jesus. Jesus will not destroy our burdens. Jesus will carry our burdens. In that there is the joy of life.

Grieve about those thing that break God's heart. Rejoice in God's love and salvation.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 3 November 2002

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