Come to Him
Matthew 11:20-30 NET
20 Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which he had done
many of his miracles because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you,
Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been
done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth
and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on
the day of judgment than for you! 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be
exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the
miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have
continued to this day. 24 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the
region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!” 25 At that time
Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you
have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed
them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows
the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all
you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and
my load is not hard to carry.”
We are continuing to look at the commands that Jesus gave us in the
Gospels. We have moved from those commands found in his sermons on
the mount and the plain, but we will still find many important commands as we read the narratives in the Gospels, and we will also notice several more sermons.
Today we focus on Jesus’ command for the weary and burdened to come to him. We find that command in verse twenty-eight. It comes with a promise from the Lord that those who come to him will find rest.
If we back up seven verses, we find that …
The Lord came to three cities with the gospel (21,23).
Those three cities are all in the region of Galilee, where Jesus performed
most of his miracles during this time in his ministry. Jesus grew up in Nazareth of Galilee. After his hometown rejected him, he moved to Capernaum, and the focus of his early ministry was in the region consisting of that city and others (like Chorazin and Bethsaida).
Jesus and his disciples visited all three of these cities numerous times, and they preached the gospel there. They gave ample evidence of the truth of their message by performing signs and wonders. All three of these cities are proud of the fact that they had a rich spiritual heritage. Capernaum, for example, seems to have adopted a motto that because of Jesus’ work among them, Jesus would exalt them to heaven. These cities expected Jesus to bless them because he had exposed them to the gospel.
But those cities refused to come to Him! (20,22,24).
Matthew tells us that Jesus criticized these cities because they did not
repent. In other words, Jesus had invited them to come to him, but they never came. It was like they had bragged about all the invitations they had received for the wedding but never got around to going to the ceremony.
You might remember that Jesus gave a parable (recorded in Matthew 22) about a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. In that parable, the king’s command was “Come to the wedding banquet.” The king became furious because the people he had invited “were indifferent and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.”
When people refuse God’s gracious invitation to come to his Son, it infuriates him. To show this, Jesus picked three pagan cities, notorious for their sinfulness. Those cities were Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon. These were three bad apples – rotten to the core. But Jesus said that on Judgment Day, these three cities would fair better than Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida.
Jesus said that because he had not blessed Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon by his presence like he had blessed Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida. The king had not invited them to the wedding banquet. Those who God blesses with the message are responsible to respond to the message. It is a sin to hear the gospel and to be indifferent to it.
But there is good news in today’s text. After his condemnation of
Jesus Praises his Father for those who did come to Him (25-27).
Despite the refusal of these Galilean cities to repent and come to Jesus,
many individuals had responded to his message, repented of their sins,
and forgave them and welcomed them.
Jesus’ prayer in today’s text reveals two principles. Both principles are valid scriptural truths. People have problems with one or the other of these biblical truths. The reason is that it is hard to hold to one of these principles without denying the other.
The first principle is that everyone is responsible to repent of their sins and come to Christ. The second principle is that no one understands this responsibility unless God supernaturally reveals it to them.
The Galilean cities had heard the gospel many times, but they never responded to it. But the king was not going to sit idly by while those he invited refused to come to his son’s wedding. He told his slaves to go into the main streets and invite everyone they find to come.
The citizens of those Galilean cities were happy to be associated with Christ and his ministry, but they considered themselves too wise and intelligent to respond to the gospel by repenting of their sins. But there were some little children who were meek mourners who were poor in spirit, and hungry and thirsty for God’s righteousness.
Jesus blessed his apostles because they were hungry and thirsty for his righteousness, and he promised them that they would be filled. He gave them the proper wedding garments – he clothed them in his righteousness.
Jesus invites us all to come to Him (28-30).
He tells all of us who are weary and burdened that we can come to him
and find rest. This is the rest of God’s grace. We cannot earn this rest. It
only comes to those who choose to let God save them.
The invitation is to all. Even those Galilean cities are the target of this
invitation, even though they repeatedly refuse it. On the day of
Judgment, the books will be opened. A record of every time the gospel
was presented will be noted. A record of every time a person thought
“Not now” will be revealed.
He tells all of us to put his yoke on our necks. The version I read says
“you will find rest for your souls” but souls do not wear yokes. You put a
yoke on your neck. The master carpenter has built a yoke for you that fits
perfectly. When you are doing your work wearing his yoke, it will not
seem like work. It will be work and rest at the same time.
He tells all of us to learn from him. Oh, the hardship we suffer needlessly
because we stubbornly refuse to follow instructions. He has taught us
all we need to know to live our best life, but we leave his book on the
shelf. If there is one resolution I recommend every year it is to get back to
the Bible. Learn the word of God. Learn from the teacher who obeyed
every word his Father gave him.
The reason Jesus is the best teacher is that he is gentle and humble in
heart. We all know what it is like to have a teacher who is proud, cruel, and abusive. You can’t learn anything with that kind of teacher. But our
teacher cares about us. He is patient with us, giving us the same
instruction again and again until it sticks.
His yoke is easy to bear, and his load is not hard to carry. Compared to
the load the devil gives us, living the Christian life is a piece of cake. It is
a burden, but it is a light burden. Even when Jesus commands us to love
our fellow Christians, we will find that the more we do that, the more joy
we will experience in this life. We will find ourselves saying “He ain’t
heavy, he’s my brother.”
Now, what happened with the inhabitants of Chorazin, Bethsaida and
Capernaum? The citizens of those cities were told a lie and believed it.
The devil told them that there are three ways to live. He told them that
they didn’t have to live the devil’s way, and they didn’t have to live
Jesus’ way either. They could follow Frank Sinatra and live life their way.
Folks, I hope you are not planning to stand before Christ on Judgment
day and tell him “I did it my way.” “My way” is the devil’s way. Jesus
said that He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through Him.
Jesus invites us all to come to him because He is the way to the Father
Jesus invites us all to come to him because whoever believes in him will
not perish but have permanent life (John 3:16).
Jesus invites us all to come to him because the result of living life my way
is permanent death, but the Gift of God through Jesus Christ is
permanent life (Romans 6:23).
Jesus invites us all to come to him because God has given us a chance to
live a permanent life, and this promise of a permanent life is exclusively
for those who are in his Son. The one who has the Son has this permanent
life: the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this
permanent life (1 John 5:11-12).
Delco is not listed among the cities that Jesus condemned in today’s text.
But we are in danger of sharing their fate. We have been blessed with the
proclamation of the gospel, and with much evidence of its reality. We
have no excuse if we choose to live life our way – the devil’s way. The
invitation to come to Christ has been given. Each of us is commanded