Simply click on the appropriate sermon series below. Within that series you will find individual sermons which you can review.
I wonder how many of us have burdens today.
How many of us are carrying pain?
How many of us experience various hardships?
How many of us are feeling weary?
How many of us are worried, anxious or fearful?
How many of us have difficulties resting in Christ?
If we answered one of these questions with “yes, that’s me, I feel this way at times” or “I experience these things,” then this message is for us. I pray that God Almighty would open our hearts, open our minds, open our eyes, and open our ears. May we hear what God will say to us now. In Jesus' name, I pray, amen.
Our well-known text today is Matthew 11:28-30. It is part of a bigger picture: Jesus’ public ministry and His teachings. In vs. 20-24, Jesus rebukes the religious leaders and the unrepentant crowds. Then in vs. 25-27, Jesus praises God the Father and His sovereignty, and His perfect plan for redemption. Jesus knew that it is God the Father’s will that all would receive His care and His love in the same way that humble and repentant children would.
That’s why in Matthew 11:25 we read that At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
If you were a Pharisee who thought of yourself highly, how would you feel hearing Jesus’ words, “many things are hidden from you”? After all, Pharisees were learned and educated so they would’ve expected that they would be receiving more revelations instead of having revelations hidden from them. Jesus said God’s revelations are given to infants and children. If we lived during that time, who would we be more like? A Pharisee or a child?
God’s kingdom works differently than our earthly kingdom.
In Mark 9:35-36, He [Jesus] sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them, and taking it in his arms he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
Pharisees didn’t welcome children, as they found them more as a nuisance who didn’t deserve much attention. But that’s not how Jesus saw the children. If anything, Jesus wants us to come to Him the same way that little children do, to believe Him, to trust Him, to lean on Him, and rely on Him completely. That is why Jesus calls His disciples little children too. He did that after He washed His disciples’ feet after they broke the bread together at His last supper. After Judas, the betrayer, left.
Jesus said in John 13: 33-34 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
Are we obeying Jesus? Are we like little children? Because little children are usually more trusting than adults are. They have faith in people; they expect and believe they are dependent. I remember when my children were small, they would look at me with their big, beautiful trusting eyes that were full of love. I couldn’t do anything wrong in their eyes. Now that they are teenagers, it’s another story. As we are Jesus’ disciples, let us remember that He calls us little children when looking at today’s text. Amen?
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Jesus is not inviting those who do not sin, not who are not angry, upset, or worried but those who are weary and heavily burdened. Jesus is inviting us by saying “come to me”. Yet are we answering His invitation?
If we are not, what is stopping us from coming to Jesus?
Who is stopping us from coming to Jesus?
Are we stopping anyone from coming to Jesus? Jesus summons not the mighty or wise to come to Him. Instead, He summons the weary, the humble, and those with heavy burdens. He invites us to come just as we are to Him, with all our doubts, our pains, with our insecurities and anger outbursts, bitterness, contempt
Only as we answer Jesus’ invitation to come to Him will He give us rest. “Rest” is a gift that is unearned and free to all who come to Him. This rest is twofold.
The first part of this rest is the rest of salvation. When Jesus becomes our Savior, we receive rest and relief in our conscience when we realize that the penalty of our sins has been paid once and for all. Since Christ paid that penalty, once we pray and ask God to forgive our sins and we believe in our hearts that Jesus died for us on the cross, we are guaranteed eschatological rest. Eschatology the part of theology, that speaks of death, judgment, and destiny. Basically, the end of the present age, the end of times. But if Jesus is our Savior, we can rest for we’ll spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. We don’t need to pay penalty for our sins for Jesus paid it all.
The second rest has to do with our everyday lives, as we long for rest. We want rest and peace while we face various challenges as individuals, as families, and as the church. Often we are weary & burdened when we are overworked when things don’t happen our way, or we don’t see the results we hoped for. We get worried, anxious or stressed, for we don’t know what the future holds for us or the church. But guess what? We don’t need to know the future. We don’t need to be worried about where we will be tomorrow or where our church will be. For Jesus is the head of the church and we are His body.
Jesus in Matthew 6:34 says, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
If you don’t have enough trouble, then do worry about tomorrow. But if you worry about tomorrow, then you are not coming to Jesus, and He cannot give you rest.
I truly love this about Jesus, He invites all of us. However, it is up to us whether we decide to accept His invitation or not. He doesn’t force us. People will force all kinds of things on us. People will coerce us and bully us to do what they want. People will manipulate us, but Jesus will never do that. He doesn’t do it because that is not in His nature! That is not who Jesus is. Jesus’ heart is full of love, humility, gentleness, and peacefulness, for He is called the Prince of Peace. Often we look to examine Jesus’ role as the Prince of Peace during Advent.
And we see Jesus’ character in the next verse.
Matthew 11:29 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.”
Jesus states that He is humble. Jesus states that He is gentle. Because of His humble & gentle heart, because people responded to His invitation to come to Him, He will give them rest for their souls. And that is why Jesus is saying, “take my yoke”. Many of us haven’t seen what a 'yoke' looks like. Yet there are over 50 references in the Bible to yokes. A yoke was a wooden frame or bar used to fasten over the necks of two animals to enable them to pull a load. There are two aspects of a yoke: 1) an image of service and 2) bondage. The literal translation of a yoke occurs in ceremonial law. But there are more Biblical references to figurative/symbolic yoke. In most cases ‘yoke’ infers a negative image. Yet, that is not how Jesus is using this word. He is using it in a positive way because He wanted also to correct the misconceptions and the wrong teachings of the Jewish teachers.
Jewish teachers spoke of bearing the yoke of God’s kingdom through the yoke of the law.
But we know from Matthew 5:17, Jesus’ words “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
Jesus fulfilled the law, and He is God. Only God could refer to the yoke of God’s kingdom or the yoke of the law as “my yoke.” When the law was understood as a way of salvation in the Old Testament context, it became a “yoke of slavery,” but that’s not what Christ’s purpose was and is.
Galatians 5:1, For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
And not to submit to a yoke of slavery is to come to Jesus. But are we coming to Jesus? Or do we live in a yoke of slavery?
Only when we come to Jesus can we let go of our yoke of bondage. Only then we can pick up Jesus’ yoke, which is an image of service that we are doing together with Christ. Taking Jesus’ yoke means entering to submission to Him.
It means receiving His will for our lives.
It means turning control of our lives to Him.
It means receiving His plan for our lives and not worrying about tomorrow.
It means to trust God that He will supply all our needs and not wants.
If we trust that God is looking after us. If we trust that He will never leave us nor forsake us, then our burden will be light. Because we are yoked with Christ, we are not on our own. He is helping us carry the burdens and difficulties. It starts with learning from Jesus. Jesus says, learn from me but that’s not what the world teaches us.
When I went with my son to Eaton Center Indigo store, I saw countless of shelves full of self-help books. There were so many books on self-help but not on how to lean on God and who God is. No wonder we get miserable because we lean on ourselves. We lean on self-help books, as we go through 3-step books, 5-step books, 10-step books, and we fail. When we fail, we get miserable, we beat ourselves for failing, and we are far from being peaceful and having rest.
But Jesus doesn’t tell us to go through a multi-step process nor to get rest from self-help books. He is asking us to receive help from Him, to give Him all our burdens, to take His yoke, and He will give us rest for our souls. He is teaching us how to rest and how to submit ourselves to God as He did.
Jesus in Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not what I want but what you want.”
Matthew 26:42, Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
Matthew 26:44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
How many of us pray these kinds of words and truly believe them? Jesus knew that unless He trusted God the Father unless He committed Himself under the Father and His will, He would be miserable. And that’s what often happens to us: we are miserable because we want God to do our will in our lives. Even at times when we don’t explicitly say it, we act like it. If we pray and say “God can you please do this,” “God can you please do that, after all, we are doing this for you.” “God, we are doing stuff for you, why the church is still not growing?” “God, I am doing this stuff for you, and my situation has not changed.” Are we truly doing stuff for God? How could we even think this way or say these things to God? How about we are privileged when God works through us? Unless we start to think like this, we will not have rest.
If we give ourselves to God and allow Him to work through us, we will have rest. And how can we not? If we do what we are called to do, the outcome will not make us defeated because we trust that God will guide us to the best outcome. A month later we might still be doing the same things, but the outcome may be different, but we changed: our hearts changed, and our desires changed. The only way we can have rest in our souls is to remember that once we take the yoke of Jesus, we are guided by a stronger partner. When we are weary, we can lean on Him.
When we are anxious, we should do as Peter says in 1 Peter 5:7-8, Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary, the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.
Disciplining means taking our thoughts captive, being alert, and not becoming chow for the devil. I know that this is the key in overcoming devil’s attacks.
When I was sick with COVID, I couldn’t do any work for church or school or even to do anything at home. It was a very difficult time for me. I had to repeat Matthew 11:28-30 in the middle of the night over and over until I felt this inward rest. My situation didn’t change, but I received rest and peace of Christ when I focused on Christ instead of my circumstances. It is our relationship with Jesus that changes us on the inside. It gives us an inward rest, free from anxieties even when we go through trials and tribulations.
Hebrews 12:7-8, Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children, for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children.
So, if we are God’s children we will go through discipline, we will go through trials, but we can rest in Christ, for we know that God loves us and He is taking care of us because he is our loving Father. But we need to come to Him and submit ourselves to Him.
Jesus will give us the promised blessing, He will give us rest.
Yet, never make a mistake that this rest will be not doing anything for the rest of our life, and will look like putting our feet up, watching TV or Netflix, or YouTube videos or playing games on the computer.
We can do that, but then we also do what God called us to do.
And when we do what He called us to do, we will have this whole new energy and a new motive.
We come to Jesus by faith, for our object of faith is not a church, a creed, or a pastor but the living Christ. Our salvation is in the Person of Christ and not in methods. Our rest is in Christ and not in systems nor processes.
Jesus in John 16:33 said I have said this to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution, but take courage: I have conquered the world!”
And if we believe that Christ has conquered the world, we can rest in Him, for His church will prevail. He is the Head, and we are the body. We can rest in Christ, and even when we don’t see differences in our situation, in our finances, in our relationships or our health. We can rest in Christ, for we trust Him. He is God, and we are not.
Jesus' yoke is not lighter because He expects less of us, but it is because He bears more of the load. We can rest in Christ, for He has conquered the world. We can rest in Christ because He told us, ‘Come to me all who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.’
But are we trusting Jesus and accepting His invitation to receive His promised rest?