In Matthew 11:20 – 30, some of the most scathing words pass from our Savior’s lips concerning those cities that had rejected the Messiah. The phrase “Woe unto thee” uttered against Chorazin and Bethsaida signifies a dreadful judgement. No doubt as the passage continues the same could be said of Capernaum as well. These cities that had been given ‘woe’ judgments are compared to Tyre, Sidon, and the famed city of Sodom. Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom were known for their opulence and prosperity but were pitiful centers of sinful activity. Those rich cities had received the judgement of God. Now the Savior was comparing those sinful cities to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum; putting them on notice that they should have repented based on the great Light that they were given. As Matthew 4:16 tells us, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” But yet even at this, these people rejected the Messiah. As the warning had gone out the precious words of our Savior are spoken as He lifts up a prayer and compels those who will listen to a life of holiness. Transitioning from those remarkable words the Savior begins to lift up a prayer and also gives us some needful instruction. Mark what the Savior says:
"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 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. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:25-30)
In these verses we see that the Lord lifts up a Prayer of Praise. He praises His Father the ‘Lord of heaven and earth’. As the only begotten Son of the Father, He states His reason for the praise, “because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” The wise and prudent have the truth hidden from them. Those proud in worldly knowledge; those who by selfish desire, that have rejected the Gospel, have not the ability to see the truth. Paul stated such in
I Corinthians 1: 26, 27 “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” In that same chapter Paul earlier states, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
(I Corinthians 1:21) Worldly wisdom will never lead people to our Savior Jesus Christ. But it is God who has revealed Himself unto us. It is in this that you and I should lift up a prayer of praise. God in His great love, mercy, and grace called us unto Himself. When is the last time you praised the Lord for revealing Himself unto you?
Jesus goes on to state, “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.” We not only have the Prayer of Praise but secondly, we see the Path to Peace. The Lord emphatically tells us there is no way to the Father but through the Son. Those who will know the heavenly Father must come through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And so, it is our Lord and Savior tells us “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) This path to peace can only be found through Jesus Christ. God’s Word declares for us that we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2: 8,9) As the hymn writer Dr. John Moore penned, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary; Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near.” Dr. Moore recounts for us that he wrote this hymn after being at the bedside of a Seamen who accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Dr. Moore asked this young man, “Do you feel this burden on your back today?” speaking of the young man’s burden of sin. And as Dr. Moore recounts, “We prayed together and never shall I forget the smile of peace and assurance that lit up his face when he said that his burden was lifted!” It was from these magnificent words “My burden was lifted!” that Dr. Moore could not get past till he penned the blessed hymn Burdens are lifted at Calvary. The path to peace surely is the most blessed wonderous treasure. Let us never forget to give praise, glory, and honor to Him that sitteth on the throne for ever and ever!
We have found not only the prayer of praise and discovered the path to peace, but lastly our Savior tells us of an unusual rest; the Place for Perfecting. Many of us have observed that all men as they live upon this earth have burdens. There are financial burdens, physical burdens, social burdens, emotional burdens and most of all spiritual burdens. The burdens of life are upon us all. But yet the Lord gives us such great strength and encouragement. He states, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This idea of taking upon you a yoke speaks of strenuous labor. But it is when we discover who our yokefellow is that we can find “rest unto” our “souls.” Jesus gives the invitation to all that are burdened with the deceitfulness of this world and the bondage of sin to “Come unto me.” The question then becomes, are you tired? Are you heavy laden? Is your back buckling under the pressures of this dying world? Our Savior says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;” So many today are searching for rest. Much to our dismay many Christians are still buckling under the weight of this world because they have yet to submit to the place for perfecting; the yoke of Jesus Christ. As Matthew Henry states, “We must come to Jesus Christ as our Teacher, and set ourselves to learn of him, Mat 11:29. Christ has erected a great school, and has invited us to be his scholars. We must enter ourselves, associate with his scholars, and daily attend the instructions he gives by his word and Spirit. We must converse much with what he said, and have it ready to use upon all occasions; we must conform to what he did, and follow his steps, 1Pe 2:21.” The place for perfecting will result in the Christian finding rest for his Soul. I often say that a Christian will experience the most satisfaction and joy from exercising their talents and spiritual gifts in service to the Lord giving glory and honor to Him. I wonder have we submitted to the labor Jesus has called us to? Have we submitted to learn of Him? He assures us His “yoke is easy, and [His] my burden in light.”
- Pastor James Grandinetti, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
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