Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Weary and Heavy-Laden

Have you ever felt the weight of your sins? Do you know what it means to have your guilt overcome you to the point of desperation? How about a godly sorrow and a hatred for what you’ve done? I’m not just talking about the fear of getting caught and of what other men might say if they only knew the real you. I’m talking about gaining a meaningful understanding about how wretched you are before the sight of the one holy God.

I have experienced this before, and it is a frightening thing to feel the weight of my sins before the infinite God, Maker of heaven and earth. There is good news for those of us who have felt such a burden! In fact, Christ calls us to him: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NASB).

What has amazed me about the unlimited wisdom of God displayed in the gospel of His Son, is who and how God has chosen to save. Earlier in Matthew, Jesus is giving instructions to his disciples as they go out to preach that the kingdom of God is at hand. One thing that I thought was odd is that Christ instructs the disciples not to go to the Gentile cities or to the Samaritans, but only to Israel (10:5-6). Obviously, the gospel is meant for all peoples today, but Christ’s purpose at that time was not meant to reach every individual. Applying that to today – where the gospel is meant for all people everywhere – we know that the gospel is heard by everyone the Lord so intends.

The Lord knew and knows all things, including the persecution his followers would face. He even forewarns them of the difficulties to come: “Behold, I sent you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:16-18, NASB).

Amazingly, many who heard the preaching of Christ and even saw many miracles did not and would not repent and believe in Him. Our Lord took special notice of those who heard and saw the most and declared the coming judgment upon them for their lack of faith. In fact, Sodom would be better off during the Final Judgment than these present unrepentant cities!

Immediately following this pronouncement of judgment by Christ, he gives thanks to the Father for keeping hidden spiritual truth from the wise and intelligent but making it known to infants (Matthew 11:25). What a truly remarkable prayer! This is perfectly in line with the rest of the Scriptures – consider Paul’s statements to the Corinthians, as one example.

Does it not amaze you that the King of the universe has withheld spiritual understanding from those our world considers wise? God has not chosen to save those human beings we would expect an almighty God to save. But because of His own sovereign will (11:27), the infants of the world are born again to be freed from the bondage of sin and its consequences, and are now slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Only those who are weary and heavy-laden with the weight of their sins are willing to come to Christ. The question might be asked, “Who is weary and heavy-laden with their sins?” And this is a fair question. Answer: the one having dealings with God’s Holy Spirit, who convicts sinners of their sins. It is not enough to say that you have felt conviction of your sins at one point in time. It is not enough to have moments where you regret particular sins. You must recognize your wretched and helpless state before the only true God and come to Him through faith alone, trusting fully in His ability to deliver you from a life and consequences of sin.

If you do not feel the weight of your sins, I implore you to consider your ways, your thoughts, your heart. You know how sinful you are, especially compared to the perfection of the triune God. Beg Him to cause you to hate your sin. Admit that you have no love for God and that you are utterly dependent on Him if you are to have salvation.

I would like to conclude with this: if you have not heard the good news about Jesus Christ, or even if you have but do not find yourself believing, I would love to talk with you sometime. The invitation is there =)

Thanks for reading,

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post and passage of Scripture, brother! :) I've always loved those verses, but one of my favorite parts is when Christ reveals the secret to a truly restful life- learning from Him how to be gentle and humble in heart. It's an often missed yet very important part of that verse and has such wonderful consequences for the believer. :) Imagine a life of rest and peace in any circumstance!

    I love that in the same passage there is not only a call to sinners to come to Christ while fully realizing the weight of their sins, but also an instruction to His children to learn His humility and gentleness. There are so few Christians who focus on reflecting and understanding those qualities of Christ, and yet the reward is so sweet- a restful life.

    Thanks for the encouragement! :)