“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:28-29).
Jesus says, “Come to me….”
He tells us to come. But more than that, he tells us to come as we are. “All you who are weary and carry heavy burdens.” He doesn’t wait for us to get our act together and then say to us “Now that you are acceptable, come to me.” Jesus wants us as we are. Weary. Heavy burdened. Weighed down by sin and the world and life. And it isn’t because Jesus has some sort of weird thing for people who are weighed down by life. And it isn’t so He can laugh at us. It isn’t so he can berate us.
Why does Jesus call us to Himself when we’re down and out? To give us rest! While we’re devastated by sin, downtrodden by life, desperate for love and acceptance but can’t find it – it is precisely at that moment that Jesus comes to us and says “Come to me.”
Our sin put us in that predicament. The sinful human nature – our “Old Adam” as we learn in confirmation class – starts us out in life at a crippling disadvantage. And we take ourselves down from there with all the sin that we fill our lives with. The selfishness, the “me first” attitudes – “my feelings count more than your feelings,” “I’ve sacrificed enough, it’s time for me to get something now,” “I need to do what will make me happy – and it doesn’t really matter how that affects you – deal with it!” Just an example of what makes our lives so miserable and meaningless.
Jesus says, “Come to me.” He will give us rest. By his death, he destroyed death. By his rest in the tomb, he gives us the rest we’ve been desperately looking for – in all the wrong places. That rest was with Jesus all along!
But look at what else Jesus says.
Jesus says, “Let me teach you….”
I realize that some of you are kind of fed up with learning – I appreciate that, I really do. I was there once, too! But if you are, you must know there will come a day when you are like some of the rest of us – you want to learn more. Not in the classroom, not by taking tests and memorizing – but by living, reading, studying things that interest you, that you can care about.
Jesus says to us, “Let me teach you….”
He will teach us what really matters most to us:
How to love. – by giving of yourself sacrificially
How to live. – by living for God and thinking of others first.He will teach us about God Himself – the creator of the universe and the father of us all.
He will teach us that we have significance, that God truly does love us so much that he sent his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him will not parish but eternal life.
Jesus, thank you for loving just as we are. Thank you for not leaving us that way! Thank you for giving us a new life, for giving us rest, for teaching us about ourselves, about our lives, and about our God. Give us the courage to come to you as you call us out of our live of sin and death and desperation. Give us the strength to leave that all behind and live in the rest you teach to us. Amen.