Matthew 11:20-30 "The Condemned and the Accepted"
Matt 11:20-30 "The Condemned and The Accepted" Marc Transparenti / General Opposition to the King / Predestination; Authority; Sovereign; Invite; Salvation; Condemnation; Rebuke; Prayer; Discipleship / Mt 11:20-24; Mt 11:25-30; Mt 11:25-27 Jesus condemns those who reject Him, and accepts those who accept Him, but all are invited to come. Good Morning Calvary Chapel Lake City! Announcement: 2021 Calvary Chapel Midwest Bible Prophecy Conference. Saturday, March 27th at Calvary Chapel Lafayette. Details are on our FB page. Pray for the speakers and the conference. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Last week we enterered into Matthew 11 where Matthew shifts his theme from "The King Revealed" (Chapters 1-10) to "The King Rejected" (Chapters 11-12), where we will see various ways Jesus was opposed. • Last week, we saw John the Baptist imprisoned which resulted in a crisis of faith...He misunderstood the ministry of Jesus, and sent two of his disciples to ask, "Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?" Many great people of faith have misunderstood God, but God can handle our doubts as we observed Jesus responding to John with reassurance. • Then we saw the generation of Jesus who were neither pleased by John's ministry...which paralled a funeral as John's ministry mourned over the state of Israel and called people to repentance. Nor were they pleased by Jesus' ministry, which paralled a wedding...a celebration of joy and grace. Today, we pick up in Matt 11, verse 20...from here out Jesus increases His intensity of condemning Israel...as a result...the rejection of Jesus increases as well. • Speaking truth and calling people out is not a popular church growth program these days, but what does Jesus know? The fact that we sit here today (almost 2000 years later) is a testimony to His method of speaking truth in love... something we should not shy away from. Today, we will again observe Jesus speaking truth in love to 2 people groups...in Vss 20-24, we observe "The Condemned," and in Vss 25-30, we observe "The Accepted." And, this will be our title for today's sermon... "The Condemned and The Accepted." Let pray... Matt 11:20-24 "Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you." 1. Today's account begins with "Then" and in V25 "At that time" which appears to place this account directly after Jesus reassuring John the Baptist. In three 'Harmony of the Gospels' I read, the Bible chronologers all placed Matthew 11 chronologically. a. However, in Luke 10, just prior to Jesus sending the 70 or 72 disciples (depending on your translation), Jesus pronounces these same woes upon these same cities. And, when the 72 return, He says the same prayer we'll read in Matt 11:25-30. i. And, why does this matter? Because context helps us to accurately interpret the intent of the passage. We'll come back to this context which becomes more significant in V25. 2. In VSS 20-24, Jesus pronounces woes upon 3 cities...V20 specifically states Jesus "began to rebuke the cities" (rebuke means "to reproach, to denounce")...and He does this expressely because "they did not repent." a. Their lack of repentance was the key reason these cities were condemned. And, refusing to turn from sin and turn to God is the same reason people are condemned today. Eternal condemnation or acceptance by God is determined by one thing...acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ. 3. I have a slide that shows a map of where these 3 Jewish cities were...all three cities were just North of the Sea of Galilee...all within a few miles of one another. a. Jesus pronouced woes upon Capernaum (named Jesus' "own city" Matt 9:1...His ministry headquarters), Chorazin (about 2 miles North of Capernaum), and Bethsaida (about 15 miles East of Capernaum; hometown of Peter, Andrew, and Philip). b. V20 describes these cities as where "most of His mighty works had been done." Mighty works of teaching, preaching, and healing. i. Scripture only mentions Chorazin twice, so we don't know what "mighty works" Jesus did there, but V20 said Jesus did mighty works in Chorazin... and John closes his Gospel stating, "there are also many other things that Jesus did..." essentially too many to record. ii. In Bethsaida Jesus Fed the 5000; Healed a blind man, and the disciples were on the way to Bethsaida when Jesus walked on water. iii. Capernaum is referenced 16x in the Gospels. This is the city where Jesus healed the Centurions servant, healed Peter's mother-in-law, and many who were sick and demon-possessed. It's where the paralytic man was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven and was healed. Several of the disciples were in Capernaum when Jesus called them to follow Him. c. These were 3 cities that were privileged to be eye witnesses to Jesus' ministry...His mighty works...yet they were hard hearted and as a whole did not repent...they did not turn from sin, tradition and religion...they did not make the mental u-turn to view Jesus as more than a great teacher, healer, prophet,...and accept Him as Lord and Messiah. They rejected Him, thus Jesus rebuked them. i. Be encouraged that even Jesus was rejected. Don't be discouraged if you share the gospel and are rejected. Jesus not only shared the message, but backed it with miraculous signs and wonders. 1. Some say, "If I just see a miracle, I'll believe." Not true. These cities didn't believe. 2. The Rich Man in Hades pleaded with Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers of the torment. Abraham told the Rich Man, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' " Lk 16:31. ii. Despite all that Jesus did, including rising from the dead, He was rejected, and still is by many. His ministry was met with resistance, rejection and ultimately His execution. By man's standards, you would call this a failure. But, in the eternal, God approved of Jesus seen verbally at Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, and ultimately in His resurrection. iii. Mankind may reject the gospel message. You can't control whether people will accept or reject the truth...that's not your calling. Your calling is to speak truth in love, and make disciples. 4. There is an interesting comparison of cities in these verses. Chorazin and Bethsaida are declared as worse than Tyre and Sidon. And Capernaum is declared worse than Sodom. a. Today, there are cities in the world known for embracing a party lifestyle...where anything goes...Amsterdam, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Havana, and so forth. To a Jew, if you asked them about the most sinful cities...Sodom would top the list, and Tyre and Sidon would come to mind as well. i. So, when Jesus compares these cities and proclaims..."Woe to you..." (which is a sad public denunciation)...Jesus is stating Capernaum is worse than the worst of the worst (Sodom), and Chorazin and Bethsaida are next in line. 5. Now Tyre and Sidon don't come as easily to mind as Sodom and Gomorrah in terms of wickedness, but indeed they were wicked. a. Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities on the Phoenician coast of the Mediteranean Sea. In the OT these cities were notorius for Baal worship and were spoken against by Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah. b. You may recall the account in the NT...in Acts 12, when Herod Agrippa visited Tyre and Sidon and gave a speech, they treated him as a god, repeatedly shouting, "The voice of a god and not of a man!"...an account verified by Josephus...so still a wicked city in the NT. c. But, as wicked as Tyre and Sidon were...Chorazin and Bethsaida were considered worse because they were without excuse...they beheld Messiah and His ministry, and still rejected Him. i. With privlege comes responsibility, and they failed...thus they would have a more severe punishment in the "day of judgment" looking forward to the Great White Throne Judgment Rev 20:11. V22 is another verse that attests to there being degrees of punishment in hell...just as we see degrees of reward in heaven in other verses. d. Jesus said Tyre and Sidon "would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes" if they saw His mighty works. Sackcloth and ashes- the traditional garments of mourning...indicative of repentance. 6. Jesus describe Capernaum, V23, as "exalted to heaven" because it had the immense privlege of being Jesus' headquarters... as prophesied in Isa 9:1-2 and fulfilled in Matt 4:13. But, because Capernaum did not repent, it would be "brought down to Hades..." i. Hades is not the same as eternal Hell...the Lake of Fire in Rev 19 and 20. Hades is compared to the Hebrew word Sheol, which was a temporary holding place for the dead. Hades was the setting in Luke 16...the Rich Man and Lazarus. The rich man was tormented in Hades, and Lazarus was comforted in Abraham's bosom..."Paradise" as Jesus described it on the cross. 1. And, sometimes Hades just represented death or dying, and that is likely how Jesus is describing the fates of these cities. They would die...come to ruin. 2. I do find it very interesting that today, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum are all in ruins; and Tiberias (west of the Sea of Galilee) remains, and Jesus did not pronounce woes on it. All this is a testimony to Scripture. I have 3 slides of these ruins. a. Slide 1 is Chorazin which was a smaller city, and is often skipped on tours of Israel today because there is not much to see. b. Slide 2 is Bethsaida...where there is even less to see. c. Slide 3 is Capernaum which became a Muslim city in the 8th and 9th centuries, until abandoned in the 11th century. 3. The imported white limestone synagogue stands out against the grey basalt ruins of residential structures. This synagogue is not the synagogue of Jesus' day, but was an ornate synagoge built in the 2nd-3rd century. 4. The octaganol structure that looks like a spaceship is a Catholic Church that was built in 1990 over the traditional house of Peter, and the ruins of a 5th Century octoganol shaped church built around Peter's house. ii. Back in Matthew, Jesus compared Capenaum to the notoriously wicked city Sodom, whose inhabitants were described as "exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD" in Gen 13:13. A city famously destroyed, along with Gomorrah, by brimstone and fire in Gen 19. 1. Take a look at this slide...a depiction of the judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and understand that Capernaum was deemed more wicked and will have greater judgment in hell for not repenting...for rejecting Jesus. a. This should motivate you to be bold about your faith. There are a lof of unbelieving people out there that are heading to eternal torment which is worse than the judgment on Sodom...because everyone is without excuse. b. Rom 1:18-21 reads "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." c. Our unbelieving family members, neighbors, colleagues, even people we meet around town...99% of them have heard of Jesus and they are supressing the truth that He is God and Savior unrighteously. As they look at the world, sunsets, trees, animals, as they look in the mirror...creation itself testifies that God is real. They are without excuse. d. And, don't talk to me about the pigmies in Africa. Plenty of missionaries have reached them too...they are without excuse. 2. If you are honestly seeking the Lord, He will reveal Himself...look at how many Muslims are getting saved in the persecuted Middle East as Jesus is appearing to them in dreams. Jer 29:13 reads, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." 7. In the next 5 verses, we see this same inviting heart of God for all people to come to Him. Matt 11:25-26 "At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." 1. In Vss 25-26, we observe a brief prayer of Jesus, but it is very profound, so let's take a moment to oberserve. a. As mentioned earlier, Jesus prayed this prayer upon the return of sending of the 72 disciples in Luke 10 and this context helps us with better interpretation. b. There are several things to observe about this prayer...and a good way to observe is to simply ask...who, what, where, when, why and how? 2. So, "Who did Jesus pray to?" a. Jesus said, "I thank You, Father..." Jesus consistently prays to the Father. In His model prayer, he begins "Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name..." So, Jesus models and teaches us to pray to the Father. i. The reason we can pray directly to the Father (which was not customary for a Jew; nor for religious people today who think they need to pray to a mediator, like a priest or a saint), but the reason we can "come boldy to the throne of grace" (Heb 4:16) is because of Jesus' finished work on the cross, His resurrection, and His present position seated at the right hand of the Father. ii. Because we have access to the Father through Jesus, it is also most appropriate that we conclude our prayers in Jesus' name...which Jesus taught us to do. Listen to these verses: 1. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matt 18:20 2. Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you." Jn 16:23 3. Paul instructed, "...giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." Eph 5:20 4. Paul also instructed, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Col 3:17 a. It is right to pray to the Father in Jesus' name. But, even more important (jumping ahead to the How) is How you pray...that you pray honestly, with sincerity, and with the understanding that you have a close relationship with God. b. Jesus said, "...for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God." John 16:27 And, no doubt every time Jesus prayed...He prayed with this understanding and sincerity. i. Notice also that his prayer is spontaneous. We should never shy away from a spontaneous prayer to God. Prayer does not have to be formal. Prayer does not have to be in a church or on your knees...just talk to God...that's what we observe Jesus doing here. 3. Next, let's look at "What Jesus prayed"...the content of His prayer. a. First Jesus says, "I thank You..." This is a prayer of thanks and praise. The word "thank" is a Gk. word that means to confess, and to profess. i. To confess means to agree with. ii. To profess means to acknowledge openly and joyfully; to praise. b. Second, Jesus addresses the Father as "Father, Lord of heaven and earth..." which is an appropriate title. i. "Father" indicates Jesus' unique position as the Son of God. Because of our acceptance of the Son, we are adopted/ grafted in His family and have access to come directly to our Father. ii. The second statement, "Lord of heaven and earth" acknowledges the Father's sovereignty. He is Lord- the Master of both heaven and earth...sovereign over all...including whom He chooses to be adopted as sons...to be granted spiritual revelation. c. Third, Jesus prays, "You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes." i. Jesus thanks the Father for His sovereign wisdom in who He conceals and who He reveals knowledge of "these things." So, what does Jesus mean by "these things"? Well, namely, Jesus means knowledge... 1. In context of the condemnation...the Woes upon Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum... "these things" first points to knowledge of the times...the Messianic age was upon them, and these cities were largely unaware. But God chose the disciples to see and acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. 2. "These things" also points to the knowledge of who Jesus is...the Christ...the Messiah as demonstrated by His mighty works...His ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing that both the condemned cities and the accepted disciples witnessed. But, the condemned did not come to knowledge of the truth...it was concealed. To the disciples, knowledge of the Messiah was revealed. d. Fourth, notice who God grants spiritual revelation...hidden to the "wise and prudent", but revealed to "babes." God has the sovereign choice of concealing and revealing as He wills. i. This is where the context in Luke 10 is very helpful. Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples and sent them "into every city and place where He Himself was about to go." Jesus instructed them on the mission, what to bring, what to do, how to respond when received or rejected...very similar instructions as Matt 10 when Jesus sent the Twelve Apostles on a mission. 1. But, unique to the instructions to the 72, Jesus pronounces Woes upon Chorazin, Bethasaida, and Capernaum, and upon the return of the 72, Jesus said the same prayer we are studying now. ii. With this context in mind...Who are the "wise and prudent" and who are the "babes?" 1. Some scholars are tempted to link the "wise and prudent" to Religious Leaders, after all they were the studied and learned, but were also spiritually blind, and I agree with that...just not in this context. 2. The context suggests a broader application... a. Jesus condemned the people of His generation and the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum for having experienced Jesus' mighty works, yet they did not repent. These people are the "wise and prudent" or "wise and understanding" to whom "these things"...the significance of Jesus, His ministry, and the times are concealed. b. In contrast, Jesus had mercy upon the "babes" or "infants" (figurative for the inexperienced, but those who can be taught). i. In John 3, Jesus said, "...unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." A new believer spiritual is like a baby, and then they mature in Christ. ii. Well, the babes of this passage in Matt 11 / Luke 10, given the context, are the 72 disciples. And, truly, all disciples whom God chooses to reveal the truth of Jesus. c. I like this quote from D.A. Carson, "The astonishing thing about God's activity is not that God acts in both mercy and judgment but who the recipients of that mercy and judgment are: those who pride themselves in understanding divine things are judged, those who understand nothing are taught." 3. Note Jesus' response to the Father's sovereign choosing of concealing and revealing...Jesus said, V26, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." I like the ESV phrasing, "...yes, Father, for such was your gracious will." a. Jesus agrees with the Father. If it pleased the Father to choose babes to carry out His mission, it pleased the son. Remember what the LORD said to Samuel, when David was chosen... "For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sa 16:7 b. Paul summed up God's sovereign choosing well in 1 Cor 1:26-29 "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence." i. I love that last verse as to why God calls the "have nots", the "B-List"...people like you and I ... "that no flesh should glory in His presence." ii. When God works through ordinary people, it's a testimony of His divinity to the "wise and prudent" of the world. Listen to the conclusion the Sanhedrin had towards Peter and John. 1. Acts 4:13 records, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." 2. Who got the glory? Jesus did. Not Peter and John...they were uneducated and untrained fishermen...foolish things of the world...babes in understanding. 3. That's who Jesus calls, and I praise God that He called this fool for His purposes. 4. Well, let's quickly look at the 'where, when, and why' of Jesus' prayer. And, it's subtle, but notice where Jesus prayed... a. Jesus prays in the open...aloud for all to hear. There's no problem with silent prayer, to pray in a secret place, but here... He wanted His disciples to hear His heart, and there are times when an audible prayer is appropriate. 5. "When and Why Jesus prayed" combine nicely into one explanation... a. The 72 disciples returned from their missionary journey with joy and a great testimony, and Luke 10:21 records, "In that hour, Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit..." Rejoiced means "jump for joy; to be exceedingly glad." That's when He prayed this prayer, at a spontaneous moment of joy to praise the Father. b. And that's the reason why Jesus prayed as well...because He was overwhelmingly joyful about the success of His disciple's mission, and that God in His wisdom sovereignly choose these babes to carry out His mission...what amazing grace...certainly something to thank the Father about. c. And, this is a good reminder for us. We have much to thank God for...so pray and praise Him! 6. Now, in Vss 27-30, Jesus addresses the disciples about these truths... Matt 11:27 "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." 1. V27 is one of those statements of Jesus that you have to read and re-read to grasp. It's a profound statement that is thick with theology, and theology is good for the soul. 2. The statement "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father" likely refers to the divine knowledge granted to Jesus which is easy to see at various times in His ministry as He discerns the intents of men, and knows when faith is true. 3. We also observe deep unity between the Father and Son who know one another. "Know" in Gk. is ĕpiginōskō- "to know thoroughly." It's root word, ginōskō, was a Jewish idiom for the intimate knowledge between a husband and wife. a. Jesus knows the Father because He has always been with the Father. John 1:1-2 declares "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God." John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." i. Jesus is the Word that became flesh...who was in the beginning, who was with God, and who is God. ii. Jehovah Witnesseses add to John 1:1 (which is prohibited by God) changing John 1:1 to, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." "A god" denies Jesus' deity. They falsely claim Jesus was inferior to Jehovah, that Jesus was a created angelic being...a physical manifestation of Michael the Archangel...none of which the Bible teaches, and that's why they created their own translation of the Bible and twisted verses like John 1:1. Well back to Matthew. 4. At the end of V27, Jesus states, "...and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." a. This statement blows my mind. In context of concealing/revealing, condemning/accepting, it seems Jesus has authority to reveal knowledge of the Father to whom Jesus chooses... "whom the Son wills to reveal Him." i. Jesus said in John 14:6 "...No one comes to the Father except through Me." b. Scripture is heavily focused upon the will of the Father, but here we see a rare expression of the will of the Son. i. The only other scripture I can think of is where Jesus' will is expressed in John 17:24, Jesus' High Priestly Prayer. Jesus prays, "Father, I desire [Gk. thĕlō "to will"] that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me..." ii. So, when Jesus expresses His will it is for those He chooses to have spiritual revelation and for them to be with Him in glory. When Jesus expresses His will He's doing it for you. He's saying I want that one to be with me, and with me forever. c. It's also important to understand, the will of the Father and the will of the Son are in harmony, yet Jesus gladly submits to and seeks the Father's will, as seen in Jesus' statements like Jn 5:30 "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me." 5. Before we move on...in the parallel passage in Luke, listen to what Jesus says to His disciples... Luke 10:22-24 "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." [same statement we just studied...Matt 11:27]...now listen to this..."Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; 24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it." a. The disciples had immense privleges in witnessing Messiah and His ministry. We too have many privleges in being Jesus' disciples...being able to look back on His finished work on the cross, His work approved through the resurrection, the in-dwelling Holy Spirit, the full revelation of His word, and the hope of things to come...blessed privleges indeed. 6. Jesus finishes with a gracious invition to all... Matt 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." 1. Jesus now invites and addresses all people "who labor and are heavy laden" to come to Him...with a promise of rest. a. In light of the context of spiritual revelation Vs 25-27, Jesus now extends an invitation to all... "Come to Me." What happens when you come to Jesus? You get saved...theologically speaking...you are justified...and the Holy Spirit in-dwells you. This is the beginning of the rest Jesus offers. b. There are many people laboring in life for rest. Many people think they will find rest in finances, relationships, entertainment...yoga...man has invented numerous temporary and fleeting forms of rest. They labor and remain in a state of unrest. And while these things are not spiritual, and the context of this verse is, there are many people seeking salvation in these things. These things have become their religion and their god. i. Some think they will be saved through good works. Jewish Religious leaders taughts the Jews they would be saved through a form of religion that added numerous traditions and rules on top of God's law. Jesus said "...they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders..." Mt 23:4. Legalistic churches, cults and world religions teach works based salvation to this day. ii. But, Jesus offers rest, by def. "an intermission from labor." You don't have to work for your salvation, you just need to come to Jesus. c. Jesus invites true rest to "all you who labor and are heavy laden..." meaning to be 'weary and weighed down' which is not difficult to experience in life. i. Even Christians can be weary and weighed down by life...illness, stress, depression, anxiety, addiction, tragedy, crime, discontentment, pressures, temptations, sin...these things weigh down the soul and cause mankind to feel weary in life. ii. And, I think there could be applications with those burdens and this verse, but as I read the context of spiritual revelation, I believe Jesus is primarily speaking about people who are laboring and heavy laden with the burden of trying to save themselves. 2. Jesus invites all to "Take My yoke upon you..." a. The yoke is a agricultural tool that fastens two animals, such as oxen, together so they share in pulling...a plow for example. Biblically, the yoke symbolizes a burden. A "heavy yoke" symbolizes oppression, but an "easy yoke" symbolizes the burden being lightened. Jesus says "My yoke is easy and My burden is light." b. Salvation is a heavy yoke for all who try to come to God by their good works. In Gen 4, Cain tried to please God by offering the fruit of his labors and failed. In Rev 20, unbelievers...the dead are "judged according their works" and are cast into the lake of fire. A works based theology for salvation is a heavy yoke, and many are oppresed by it. c. Jesus offers a better way...He says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me..." i. The light yoke Jesus offers is salvation through faith alone, not of works. Much easier. Jesus said..."My yoke is easy." ii. But, there is still a yoke and there is still labor, and that labor is to "learn from Me..." The disciplines of discipleship are the burden the Christian must bear, but Jesus said "My burden is light." iii. So, Jesus' invitation is three-fold: Come to Me; Take My yoke; learn from Me. 3. Jesus says, "...for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." a. All people, saved and unsaved, are seeking a form of salvation and a form of rest. And, we all serve a master. The trick is to find a Master that is not cruel. People who are laboring through worldly means for their salvation are serving cruel taskmasters. b. Jesus. Jesus is my Master...He is gentle and humble in heart, and in Him is a promise "...you will find rest for your souls." c. If you are here today, and you want that rest...you want to come to Him...the invitation is open. I'd love to pray with you today, and get a Bible in your hand. Worship Team Come. Today, we saw two groups- the condemned and the accepted, and their eternal destiny was determined by whether or not they accepted Jesus' invitation. The "wise and prudent" rejected Him, thus they were condemned. The "babes"... "the foolish and weak" accepted Him, thus they found rest. Rest in life and for all eternity boils down to accepting that invitation to Come to Jesus. Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? "By believing you may have life in His name." Let's Pray! Page . Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:08 PM June 7, 2021.