The final verses of Matthew 11 are easy to read, but they are also profound – and demand our understanding. Jesus declares, in prayer to his Father (from verse 25), “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children; yes Father for such was your gracious will”. This reminds us of Paul’s anxieties over the believers in Galatia, “… my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (4:19). Our attitude to life ‘in Christ’ must be child-like, trusting and humble if we are to accept into our hearts the teaching of Christ; we must put his words into practice to prove they are in our hearts – all sense of human pride and ego must be vanquished. Jesus then says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (verse 27). Jesus has all authority and our relationship with God is through Jesus, he represents God, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Jesus says to his disciples, and to us, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me”. We cannot learn from Jesus unless we are yoked to him! He shares our burdens; this is not theoretical, this is real! It must be practised, our minds must sense the reality of it happening – our meditative reading of God’s word is an essential foundation.
Our chapter reaches its climax; “for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. Then, with something of a shock, we see the contrast in verse 20! “Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done because they did not repent”. They had seen wondrous happenings, but had not been affected in the way they should!
We have the whole of God’s word to read and inspire us – they didn’t. We have seen prophecy fulfilled, especially the drama of God’s nation Israel reborn. How great their joy in entering Jerusalem. Let us come more fervently to Jesus – to a living relationship with him, his words constantly echoing in our hearts saying, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me”.
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