Sunday Service has been held at Pilgrim Hall in the UK on 31st January 2021, with a message preached by Pastor Andrew on Matthew 11:20-30 titled “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened”.
In the passage, Jesus rebukes 3 cities; Capernaum where Jesus conducted a great amount of His ministry, and performed many miracles, as well as the nearby cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. He compares them to 3 other cities well-known for their perversion, sin and immorality; Sodom, Tyre and Sidon. Jesus rebukes Capernaum as the people there had been given great access to the Son. They had seen miracles, and heard the Word, but yet they had rejected Christ. Luke 12:48 teaches that to those who have been given more, that much more will be expected from them. So to those whom Jesus has come to, who have heard the Word, and seen His miracles, that much more is expected. They should recognize Jesus as Lord and be reborn in His love and grace.
However, the Jewish leaders in those cities rejected Christ. Every teaching He gave, even with every healing and miracle He performed, they hated Him even more; they were blind to Jesus, and their ears were deaf to Him.
We must realize why the religious leaders of the time rejected Jesus, and why they were deaf and blind to Him. Jesus then goes on to praise God, for He has hidden the Truth of the Kingdom of God from the “wise and learned”, but has revealed them to “little infants”. What does this mean? He praises the Father because He has opened up salvation and the Truth for all mankind. When humans are little infants, they are so weak. They rely absolutely on their parents for everything. They cannot even lift their heads or do anything for themselves. Among all creatures on earth, human infants are the weakest and most vulnerable. So even the weakest of all weak things on this earth, Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of God has been given even to them.
How can this be? It is because salvation does not come by our worldly knowledge, or the wisdom we learn from this world. It does not come because of our deeds or how useful we can be for God, or because we have noble ancestry or authority. It comes only through what God has done for us. Not because of what we have done or can do, but because of what Jesus has done for us. And so even though we have a useless and weak image before God, like a little infant absolutely dependent on its mother, we can receive the Truth, and we can receive the Lord of salvation.
So salvation is 100% from Jesus, and it is for every man. The only thing that can hinder our salvation and stop us receiving Jesus is our own pride and arrogance. Jesus says God has hidden these things from the “wise and learned”. Jesus is talking about the worldly wisdom and intelligence that would distract our eyes, minds and take control of our hearts. So the ones who only look for worldly wisdom, and have their eyes fixed on worldly things, they will no longer look for God. They have become blinded from seeing God, and have become deaf to the Word of the Lord. As Romans 1:22 says, although they claimed to be wise, they become fools.
The Jewish leaders of the time rejected Jesus. They had arrogance and pride in their hearts, and thought they knew everything already. Their eyes were fixed on their position and authority. They had studied and learned all the laws of the Old Testament, and kept all the spiritual standards to boast in front of the people. However, with their understanding frustrated at the level of worldly wisdom, their faith was false. They created more than 600 laws from the Commandments, and tied them around the necks of all the believers; telling them they must keep all for their righteousness, or else they would be condemned and rebuked. They thought they could earn their righteousness by their deeds; piling up their actions against God and making Him the debtor who owes them. So even when Jesus came to them, they could not recognize Him, their eyes were blinded to His love, and their ears were deaf to His message of grace.
They could not see the world of love that Jesus spoke about, which cannot be understood by worldly wisdom and analysis. The world of love is where the loving shepherd would leave the 99 to find the 1 lost lamb. It cannot be understood by the logic and calculation of this world.
And this is God’s love for us. That even though we are useless to Him, and so weak and full of sin – our image is truly like a little baby who relies upon their mother for food, clothing and everything in life. But still God sent His Son to us – this is grace!
So Jesus says to all those who have been made burdened and weary by this faith that you can earn your righteousness by deeds, He says “Come to me”. Urgently He is calling us to Him, saying if we just receive Him by faith, we will find rest for our souls.
We must receive Christ into our hearts, knowing that it is not by our deeds we are saved, but only by the cross of Jesus Christ. This amazing grace that gives us true peace and comfort in our souls; when we receive this we willingly take the yoke and burden of Jesus, which He says is easy and light. The yoke of Jesus is the way of love. In love all things are carried lightly and joyfully. In Galatians 5:13 and 6:2 it describes this yoke of Jesus that we now come to carry. We serve one another in love. This is how we fulfil the law of Christ.
Pastor Andrew encouraged all members that if they feel any weariness and burden at present, they should check if they have strayed from the true faith. It is not by our wisdom, or skills, or hard work nor good deeds, but it is only by faith in the Son. Let us realize this deeply once again and find true rest in the Lord, and then serve even more greatly in our lives with the love of God, and with a light, easy and joyful heart.