Read Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Children shouldn’t have been throwing the ball in the church’s fellowship hall downstairs, but they were… and the inevitable happened: striking the wall by accident, the boys left a small, indented “crater.” One of the older men came in the next morning with his tools, calling out to me as he went downstairs “I’ll have it fixed in no time.” Several hours later he emerged covered in white dust. “You’ll have to call a professional,” he said as he exited the building, “I’ve done all I can do.”
I went downstairs to survey the repair attempt, only to find a hole that was four feet across! Rather than admit he was powerless to remedy the situation, my brother’s best efforts only made the hole larger and harder to repair.
Many people are searching for answers to their deepest questions and heartfelt longings. In this passage, Jesus gives instruction on how to find just such a spiritual “home.”
Jesus begins by exposing five attitudes that will keep you from finding your spiritual home. Like my well-intentioned church member, you might discover that your very best efforts to get answers about God have only served to carry you further away from Him.
1. “It’s all about me.” (vs. 16-17) Jesus compares some of the people in His day to children playing in a large open marketplace. One group of children chides another for not playing the game they want, the way they want it played, at the time they want it played. This attitude may be cute in children, but it is spiritual suicide to a real seeker of God.
2. “I know what an authentic religion should look like.” (vs. 18-19) The generation rejecting Jesus also rejected John the Baptist. Preaching a message of repentance, John was rejected for being too austere. Preaching the good news of redemption and forgiveness, Jesus was rejected as having too much fun, eating and drinking with sinners. Jesus wasn’t religious enough!
3. “I know what I am talking about.” (vs. 25a-26) Later Jesus praises God for revealing truth, not to the ones who thought themselves to be wise and learned, but to the “infants” in the crowd. People who think they already have the answers have stopped asking questions. This is deadly to a genuine pursuit of God.
4. “I do not need anything from you.” (vs. 25b) God chooses to reveal Himself to the “infants”—the ones who are most dependent on another for life and survival. The difference lies not in the intellect, but in the consciousness of need. The more conscious you are that you need a Savior, the more ready you are to recognize Him when He comes.
5. “I already know what God must be like.” (vs. 27) Jesus states in the clearest terms that He alone knows what God is really like. You must be willing to lay down your assumptions about God in order to learn the real truth from Jesus.
The call to your spiritual home is an invitation to:
Enter into an Intimate Encounter with Jesus Christ. (vs. 28)
Jesus says, “Come to Me.” He does not call us to a religious tradition or set of man-made practices, but to Himself. The qualified respondents will be those who are tired of keeping rules without a real relationship with a living God. Jesus also issues His invitation to those who have been loaded down by the religion-mongers of the world. His promise is real and simple. Literally, He says: I will rest you.
Embrace the Mission of Jesus Christ and Your Personal Assignment. (vs. 29-30)
Jesus says, “Take up My Yoke.” Like two oxen teamed together to plow a field, Jesus invites you into His work. For the seeking ones, He gives direction to God. For the hurting ones, He offers relief from God. His mission worked out through your life will be a unique one. In verse 30 He explains that His yoke is “easy” and the burden is “light”: literally, He means that it is “form-fitted” for you alone.
Experience His Guidance Through Every Step of the Journey. (vs. 29)
Jesus says, “Learn from Me.” The mission of Jesus and the person of Jesus are inseparable. You cannot serve Him without His help and power. He will guide us to not only do His will, but to become like Him in every area of our lives: self-controlled in action and humble in attitude.
If you will respond to this very personal invitation from Jesus, He promises you will find rest for your soul (vs.29): a true spiritual home.