THE GREAT INVITATION OF CHRIST
In Matthew 11:25-30 we read these words of, Jesus “I thank you
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 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. Come unto Me, all you 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 easy and My burden is light.” It is an invitation to all of you who are labor, or are heavy laden with a load of sin, or the burden of your daily cares. You may come; your are bidden to come to the Lord Jesus, and the promise is that He will give you rest and peace of mind.” Verses 28,29 have been called by many preachers, “The Great Invitation.”
Let us first acknowledge the glory and splendor of the Person who could offer such an invitation to all mankind. No man before Christ has dared to offer such an invitation to the troubled millions of planet earth. One of the most magnificent things that can be said about this invitation is that there is a glory and splendor that belongs to Christ that He should be able to say such a thing as this, that it should be possible to say to all people in the world, “ Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Take the greatest poet, the greatest philosopher, the greatest scientist, the greatest world leader, the greatest king, and not one of them would dare to make such an offer to the laboring and heavy laden people in the world. . Who is this Person who could make such an offer? Put these words into the mouth of the apostle Matthew, Peter, John or Paul, and for them to say such things would be arrogant, presumptuous, blasphemous and shameful in the ultimate degree. I say to you that no one but God can offer such an invitation to mankind. Yet, from the lips of Jesus Christ those great words were only the simple truth, expressed by a Divine Being who was meek and lowly in heart.
What is the glory and splendor of Christ that qualified Him as a human being to offer rest and peace of mind to all troubled people of earth? None of us fully understand the mystery and glory of His Divine personality and incarnate Deity savimg God the Father. When He lived on earth, none knew Him fully Scripture says, “He came to His own, and
His own received Him not,” and yet all things were made by Him and without Him nothing was made that was made(John 1:1-5; 14). Just before uttering these gracious words, He stated that all things had been delivered to Him by God the Father. He went on to say that no one knows the Son but the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one who to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. The very fact that He stood there in human form possessed of all authority in heaven and on earth, and yet submitted to humiliation contradiction and rejection–all this proved His meekness, graciousness, and condescension. It would be far otherwise if He were not the glorious Person we know Him to be. He was the second Person of the Godhead who was with God the Father in the beginning, who then existed in the form of God, then became flesh and dwelled among us. The word of God says of Him, “Though He was rich, yet He became poor that we through His poverty might become rich.”
That is the best description of the incarnation of Christ in the Bible. He was rich when He existed in heaven as the second member of the Triune Godhead, but He became poor when He transformed Himself into a member of the Jewish race and wore the name of Jesus of Nazareth. In doing this He assumed the person of God's only begotten Son, born under the law, born of a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem. This is the greatest story that has ever been told or ever will be told. His mission to earth was to help God the Father increase the population of heaven with a new race of beings, made a little lower than the angels. Because of His glorious personality, unto Christ belongs splendor, power and majesty.
Secondly, I would call your attention to the fact that there are two personalities in this great invitation. Please look at the two personalities in the call, “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If you will look at this invitation carefully, you will notice there is a double personality in the offer. There are two pronouns in this invitation-- Me and you and I and you. We have already studied the greatness of the personality of Christ who does the inviting. He was God in the flesh, but what about the personality of the “you” in the invitation?. This you is a universal “you” and includes every human being who has ever lived on the earth since 33 A. D. in the first century of this era. . There is also a special greatness about every human being. In the eighth Psalm David said, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that You visit him. For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have owned
Him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands. You have put all things under his feet.” That
gives us some idea of how important the “you” is in this invitation. There is also a glory and honor in all the recipients of this great invitation.
Every human being needs to have a clear understanding of the glory of his or her own personality. Not only did God makes us just a little lower than the angels, He also created us in His own image, after His own likeness. I fear most people do not realize that they are unique individuals, distinct from everyone else. At the time of conception, medical science teaches that a complete model of every person exists n the genetic code called the DNA. All that makes him or her a human being or individual is all present. Each human being has his or her own DNA with a profile different from anyone else's. The body of every human being is specially crafted by God. Each one of us will assume the form as planned in the DNA the Creator gave us. Each person has his own blue prints and finger prints. No two persons are exactly alike. We have different looks, different gifts and different abilities. No one else in the world is exactly like you and me. . Each one of us is one of a kind. Each one of us is his own person. Each one of us a bundle of possibilities, but no person has the same possibilities. This fact gives us a sense of importance, and it tells us how important we are God. That is the YOU in this invitation; it includes all. people on planet earth today, and all are invited to come to another Personality. “Come to Me,” said Christ, and He promised to help a troubled world.
Furthermore, He gave this invitation specifically to, “all who labor and are heavy laden.” Jesus did not precisely define in what the toil and burden consisted, for He would include all and everything from whatever quarter their toil and burdens might come. It would include all the sufferings of the poor and despised people in the world. Others are burdened with sickness, disease, sorrow, and unhappiness. The greatest burdens are sins that we all commit from the time we knew right from wrong. God commands children to remember Him in the days of their youth, but few obey that command. Nevertheless, God will hold us responsible for all sins committed from the age of accountability to the time we accept His invitation and become one of His followers. A lifetime of disobedience to God is the greatest of all burdens humans have to bear. Disobedience to God should and does cause a great disturbance of conscience to all who believe the Bible. Our mental hospitals are full of people with a disturbed conscience that has shipwrecked their life. . Many will not forgive themselves for wrongs they have committed. All have heard of the Bible teaching that there will be a final judgment at the general resurrection of the dead. The fear of death and the fear of the judgment are burdens that trouble many people . Many are the
unfortunate people who suffer from all kinds of addictions, alcoholic and otherwise. Most of them are helpless to overcome these addictions. They could overcome these addictions if they would come to Christ. His invitation is to one and all who are unable to cope with life. Many are disturbed and miserable because of the immoral lifestyle they have fallen into. Sexual immorality has afflicted many with a variety of terrible diseases. One example is Aids which has brought many to a premature death and spread this terrible disease all over the world. The Bible teaches that such people are dead even while they are alive when living an immoral lifestyle.. They are dead to God and spiritual happiness. They render no more service to God than physically dead people. They are physically alive, but spiritually dead. Others are burdened with doubts about God, about religion, about heaven, and about hell. Others do not know what they should believe about themselves, about God and about Christ and about Christ's church.. Jewish and Moslem people are disturbed by the claims of the Christian religion that eternal life is available only in the Christian religion. There is much toil in this life of ours–endless and unsatisfactory toil The poor toil hard for their daily bread. The rich toil in the life of pursuing wealth and pleasure. Many, too, are heavy laden with the cares of this life, religious persecution, some with pain and sickness, and some with consciousness of sin. To all these people Christ says, if you will come to Me you will find rest to your souls.” This invitation is usually extended to the unconverted, and rightly so, but it also equally belongs to all who labor, whether they be advanced Christians or unconverted people. There are Christians who become worried about the things of the world and troubled about themselves . Some are perplexed and carried about by every wind of doctrine, like ships in danger at sea.. We are disturbed by doubts and fears. Hence, Christians have need to come to Christ over and over again, drawing near to Him once more, and getting in touch with Him again. The word of God says, “Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” But some how or other, some who are thus justified become distressed in spirit, bowed down in the heart, perhaps even fretful and complaining. When this happens we need to come to Him again. Be assured that the Christ who invites the lost person before conversion, invites also the erring Christian after conversion. We come to Him over and over again because of our imperfections. This wonderful invitation is for all who are in Christ and for all who are out of Christ. Finally, and most important of all, what is the rest which Christ gives to the heart, mind, and conscience of those who are willing to come to Him. Some commentators see two different kinds of rest
mentioned in this invitation. The promise of rest in verse 28 refers to a rest we receive during our lifetime on earth. In verse 29 He said, “Take
My yoke upon you and learn of Me, and you will find rest
to your souls.” This refers to the eternal rest we shall receive in heaven. The rest we receive in this life is marvelous indeed. The first rest He gives to all penitent, baptized believers is peace of mind. Scripture says, “Being Justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”(Romans 5:1} The sins we piled up in our lives from childhood to the time of conversion were washed away, forgiven, covered up and removed from us as far as the east is away from the west. This gave us peace of mind and conscience. At that time we ceased to be an enemy of God and became a friend of God, as well as a child in the spiritual family of our heavenly Father. At that time He gave rest to our conscience and removed all sense of guilt. Living the remainder of our life in the fellowship of the church, we live the abundant life. He fills us with all manner of happiness. Jesus said, “Happy are those who feel the need of God in their lives, for the kingdom of heaven on earth and the everlasting kingdom in heaven will be theirs. Happy are those who mourn over their sins, for they will be comforted. Happy are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, that is, they will enjoy the earth and make the best use of it. Happy are the merciful for they shall s obtain mercy. Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God. All this happiness on earth belongs only to Christians who have reconciled their lives to God. After we have finished our life on earth, then we will receive eternal rest when we enter that heavenly city whose builder and Maker is God. Hebrews 4:9 was written to Christians while living on the earth and says, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” That will be the eternal rest of heaven. This is the twofold rest of, “The Great Invitation” of Christ in Matthew 11:28,29.
I close with the incentive Christ gave to encourage all people of earth to accept His invitation, . “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.” A yoke was a device put on the shoulders of an ox when he rendered service to his owner. When we come to Christ, we come to render our service to Him. Christ's yoke of which He speaks is the yoke of Sonship, discipleship, and relationship to God. The Lord's yoke of service includes the responsibilities, duties and burdens which it involves. His yoke is the yoke of Christian profession, Christian living and Christian duty. The yoke is the service Christ asks us to
render, . but Jesus assures that His yoke is easy and His burden is slight. . How do people take this yoke upon them. He said, “Come learn of Me.”. We accept this great invitation as He directs, and we take His yoke on us when we hear the gospel of Christ, and believe that
Christ died for the sins of the world, that He was buried and rose on the third day, never to die again. With sincere sorrow for the way we lived in the past of our life, we sincerely have a change of mind about our past life, commit our lives to Christ, make the good confession that Christ is the Divine Son of God and finally submit to baptism. In the act of baptism we are pardoned and forgiven of a lifetime of sin. No person receives pardon before baptism. We rise from the baptismal water to walk in newness of life. and take upon us the the yoke of serving Christ for the rest of our lifetime. How sad it is that all do not come to Jesus! Good people lament this. Angels lament this. There is no excuse for those who will not seek such a blessed Savior.