Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Call to worship: https://youtu.be/sOSMWvm2VW8
103 God Is love
Prayers of Adoration, thanksgiving and confession
When I was young, my sister and I, would do this thing, where I would say, “What do you want to do?” She would say, “I don't know, What do you want to do?” this would go on and on, if we wanted to be awkward, we wouldn't like whatever was suggested.
This Is precisely the kind of behaviour Jesus is talking about in this passage. It’s a passage which records Jesus talking about John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a very important character in the Gospels and in Jesus’s life, he was in fact a cousin of Jesus and a messenger to prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus. John isolated himself from society, he lived in the wilderness and yet the people criticised him. Jesus came, He met, ate and talked with people who people weren’t usually associated with, lepers tax collectors etc.
They didn't listen, they missed the point. As William Barclay writes, ‘they called John’s self denial, madness; and they called Jesus's sociability laxness of morals. They could find grounds for criticism either way.’
As people we find it hard to listen. That is the same whether we are 2 years old or 92 years old even George has mastered selective hearing. Whatever age we are, if we don’t want to listen we make excuses. However there is a well known saying, actions speak louder than words, this is what Jesus means when He says, Wisdom has been shown right by her actions.You see, the Jews may have criticised John for his isolation and way of life, but, he moved the hearts of men and women to God as they hadn’t been moved in generations. Equally, the Jews criticised Jesus simply for mixing with ordinary life and ordinary people but in Jesus, people were able, are able to find a new life, a new goodness, a new power to live as they should and a new way to God.
Jesus came as the saviour, our saviour, in the passage from Matthew's gospel He describes his listeners as children playing, repeating back to them the criticisms they had said, the town gossip if you will, that He had been called a glutton and a drunkard, stubborn and a party goer. The Jews had had teachings from both John and Jesus yet they were so busy amongst themselves and criticising that the missed the point. They had waited for a messiah for generations yet they didn't recognise him when He came.
247 I danced in the morning
Gospel reading Matt 11:25-30
531 what a friend we have in Jesus
So Jesus's audience, the people who heard him say these words hadn't listened yet in this passage Jesus is saying that God The Father had hidden such things from the wise and revealed them to small children. He was speaking to people of the Jewish faith and as a Faith, as a way of life it can appear from the outside, quite heavy, it is full of burdens and strict Laws etc.
Now, Jesus, in true Jesus style, He overturns the norm. He is saying that to know him is to know the Father. The Jews had been waiting such a long time for the Messiah, they had waited, they had obeyed the law, they had prayed as a people they were tired, Jesus chooses this timing to offer them true rest and a light burden.
To us today this still sounds refreshing. I am ashamed to look back and think that I thought I was tired on a Friday or tired because I hadn’t gotten away from work on time or having to get the half 6 train into work. That’s not tiredness. Being a mum is tired, being a mum is worrying as people we worry we look for worries I know I do. Imagine someone saying come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest. I can feel my eyes close at the thought. This went deeper though this isn’t a night in a comfy bed this is freedom, and forgiveness because Jesus says whoever knows the son knows the Father. Jesus is calling us to Him, he is calling us to have a relationship with him.
The only burden we need to carry is love, because a burden carried in love is light, remember b the song He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother, that’s exactly what it means.
Now then there’s another funny word that Jesus used. Yoke, Jesus says come to me all who are weary and I shall give you rest for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Well before tractors were invented animals we used to plough the fields and the yoke is what was fitted across the animal’s shoulders. Each yoke was fitted well so it didn’t rub and irritate the animal. Now then I’m giving all you grown ups a freebie this morning because I learnt that ready comes from a Greek word, chrestos, I apologise for pronunciation however this word can also be used to mean well fitting. William Barclay writes how there is a legend that Jesus made the best ox homes when He was a carpenter in galillee and that people would come from mill knees around to his shop. In those days just like they do now, shops had signs above their doors so maybe above a tiny carpenters shop in Galilee the sign would have said my yoke fits well. So maybe when Jesus says my yoke is light he means, my yoke fits well. The life I give you is not a burden to cause you pain, your tasks are made to measure and fit you well. Whatever God sends us is made to fit our needs and abilities exactly.
Imagine their souls voyaging through the sea of life.
Imagine the spray on their faces, the wind in their hair, and the smell of the sea – to rejoice in the exhilaration of being at sea,
Give thanks to God.
Now I'd like us to reflect on the dangers at sea – to bring to mind any rocks, currents or stormy weather that cause us anxiety in their own lives, and to ask God to guide us safely through.
Now imagine a safe harbour where we can rest safely at anchor.
We are reminded of Jesus words ‘Come to me, and you will find rest for your souls’.
517 Eternal Father Strong to save offering
645 Will your anchor hold