In each of our lives, we deal with quite a bit of stress. We feel the pressure to make good grades, to do well as we compete, to please our parents, to impress our friends, to reach people with the love of Christ, to perform well at work, to win scholarships for college or to get accepted into college. I simply want to ask how we can deal with life’s various challenges without being so heavily burdened as we continue to grow and as we are given more responsibility in this life.
Then He proceeded to denounce the towns where most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes long ago! But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until today. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure. All things have been entrusted 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 desires to reveal Him.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
In Matthew, we see Jesus going to all these places and performing miracles. So many people saw these miracles, they saw the evidence, and still did not repent of their sin and follow Christ. Jesus actually spoke against the people who did not repent. Remember that they were Jews looking for Jewish prophecy to be fulfilled, but even as Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy, many Jews chose not to repent.
See, there were many people who might have wanted a savior in Jesus’ day, but not enough that they would deny themselves and admit their sin. Without repentance (admitting sin and turning from it to God), Christ told these people, who were Jews, that they would go down to Hades. In fact, He said that even Sodom would be better off than them in the judgment.
These Jews were knowledgeable, but prideful. Pride is a monster that will literally take us all the way to Hell if we let it. The first step in accepting God’s gift of eternal life is us admitting that we are wrong and then we even choose to humbly follow Christ. We should always be careful because pride can always resurface in our lives. While we cannot lose our salvation, pride can keep us from growing in Christ.
Here, I would simply like to ask why humility is so important. Imagine that there is a jar. We will call this the creation jar. In it is everything that has ever been created. This means that you and I are also in the jar because we were created. If you don’t believe me, you can ask your parents. Beyond this jar is everything that exists but was not created. For example: this is where God would be and this is where energy would be. Now imagine that there is another jar inside this jar. This jar has everything that exists in what we call the natural world. This is where we are while things like heaven and angels are beyond it. If we use only our own power of observation and only our own power of reason, we will not be able to see passed the first jar. All we can observe is the natural world.
This means that if we want to know God, we must be humble enough to have Him revealed to us. God will reveal Himself in a variety of ways. The first is through the person of Christ and in Scripture. God may even reveal Himself through people, dreams, matters of conscience or in our personal epiphanies. Jesus even says it here, no one knows the Father except Him and whomever He chooses to reveal the Father to. We must have humility if we want to experience God positively throughout our lives.
In the context of this passage, Jesus tells all those who are weary and burdened to come to Him. First of all, He offers to reveal the Father. Jesus doesn’t threaten to keep God secret. He invites us to come. Second, I learn that the burden and the weariness that Jesus talks about comes directly from our own pride. Please don’t hear me wrongly. It is important for us to work hard at everything we do and for us to care deeply about people; but If we are burdened with things like school grades, it means we are thinking about something before we are thinking on Christ. All of the sudden we are defined by our grades in school rather than by the relationship that Christ has started with us. We live our lives to fulfill our own desire for good grades instead of living to please God. This is pride, and it leads to great burden. In the same way we can be burdened with:
- A job.
- Pleasing parents, or pleasing a significant other.
- We can be burdened in our hobbies.
- We can be burdened with ministry.
- We can be burdened with outreach.
- We can be burdened with sickness.
- We can be burdened about the future.
- We can be burdened because of our age.
- We can even be burdened with social media.
- We can be burdened because of sin in our lives.
- We can be burdened because of our religion.
Considering all of these things that burden people, we see Christ say, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Remember that some of these things are very good for us to focus on (even necessary in our lives), but it becomes a sin when we are burdened by them because we have found our identity in them instead of in Christ.
This is liberating because the secret to a life with light burdens is trust in Christ, who plans for our good. We can work hard, and trust God with the results. This is only possible if we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ and made Him our Lord.
 Matthew 11:20-30 (HCSB)