Posted inForthright Magazine

Jesus’ beautiful invitation in context

Some of the most beautiful words of Christ are found in Matthew 11.28-30, where he offers rest to the weary and an easy yoke:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.

These loving words warm the heart. But they occur in a context of rejection of his Messiahship, in chapters 11-12. Neither John nor Jesus pleased the Jews, 11.1-19. The words of invitation also follow Jesus’ sad and condemning woes against entire cities, 11.20-24. In the face of rejection, however (the text says, “At that time”), our Lord can still rejoice and praise the Father, vv. 25-26, because he is intimately connected with the Father and reveals him to whomever he desires, v. 27.

What do these words of Christ, in the context of Matthew’s gospel, have to say to us?

#1. To accept Jesus’ invitation, humility is needed ─ in order to become one of God’s little ones and accept Christ on his own terms, without trying to distort his plan and mold him to our own selfish interests (see no. 2), vv. 25-26.

#2. To accept Jesus’ invitation, it is necessary to reject those who reject Jesus: the wise and cultured, that is, those who are proud of their knowledge and their traditions, vv. 25-26. See Matthew 12.1ff; Jeremiah 9.23-24. Reject human teachers, listen only to Jesus. It’s either him or them.

#3. To accept Jesus’ invitation, one must recognize that he is the source of God’s revelation, v. 27. See John 14.6. He is exclusive. No one else has the truth of God. Let his words soak in: “All things have been handed over to me by my Father.”

#4. To accept Jesus’ invitation, one must go to him ─ take the necessary steps to reach him, v. 28. He says, “Come.” Let us go to him. The first steps are clear and simple. See Acts 2.38. Life in Christ is also challenging in the perfect degree, with the power of the Spirit to make it all possible. Jesus has it all, Colossians 3.11, pardon, power, and possibility.

#5. To accept Jesus’ invitation, it is necessary to give up the human religious tradition that oppresses and causes fatigue, to take on the yoke (teaching and work) of Jesus, v. 29. Learning from Christ is a joy. See Matthew 15.1-20.

From these points, we can take away the following, a fitting conclusion for you if you have not yet followed Christ and for those who have:

  • Accept the invitation of Jesus. He invites while we yet live and and will invite until his return. One day, however, the invitation will no longer be offered. The time to accept is now.
  • If you follow the Lord, offer the invitation of Jesus to others. This is our blessed and urgent task, and none other. The time to speak is now.


J. Randal Matheny
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Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. He is one of God's little ones. He seeks to speak the truth simply and lovingly. His personal site is

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