The Invitation of All Invitations
Whenever you receive invitations, you probably find yourself asking the same sorts of questions: Who is it from? Who is it for? Why does it matter? This verse presents one of the loveliest invitations in the whole of the New Testament—but to understand it best, we must ask those same questions.
First, this is a personal invitation. It is not an invitation to a program, nor is it an invitation to a religion or philosophy to be included alongside Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, New Age-ism, humanism, or any other “ism” that may be found among today’s worldviews. It is an invitation from Jesus Himself. He is bidding each of us, “Come to me.”
The significance of the invitation lies in who is issuing it. In the Gospels, Jesus declares who He is: the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Son of God (see John 4:25-26; 1 John 4:14). By virtue of this identity, Jesus could command a response—but instead, He extends an invitation.
And who does He invite to come? “All who labor and are heavy laden.” This invitation is all-inclusive. It doesn’t single out a certain group among a larger group but describes all of humanity. Each of us needs to hear these words, because there’s not one person who isn’t figuratively pushing around a wheelbarrow filled with all the cares, responsibilities, fears, and failures that make up his or her life.
Why does all this matter? Jesus invites us to find “rest for your souls.” He’s speaking in eternal terms of a rest that never fails. He’s beckoning us towards a banquet, and He doesn’t even ask us to provide the clothes. We show up for the banquet just the way we are. God takes all the “Here are my good deeds” clothes that so many of us like to dress up in, calls them rags, and tosses them aside. He takes all the “I’m so bad and messed up that there’s no hope” clothes and tosses them aside too. In their place, He covers us over with “the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10), which is provided by Jesus Christ Himself. We can rest from our striving to make something of ourselves or to earn heaven for ourselves when we come to Jesus and receive all we need, and could ever need, from Him.
This is the invitation of all invitations. Today, for the first or the thousandth time, bring your burdens to Him. Receive His rest.
Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest
25At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.7 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
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