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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
Matthew 11:28

"Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
New American Standard Bible

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Faith;   Gifts from God;   Jesus, the Christ;   Penitent;   Salvation;   Scofield Reference Index - Christ;   Thompson Chain Reference - Blessings-Afflictions;   Comes;   Divine;   Endowments;   Gifts;   God;   Invitations, Divine;   Invitations-Warnings;   Promises, Divine;   Seven;   Spiritual;   The Topic Concordance - Burden;   Jesus Christ;   Labor;   Learning;   Lowliness;   Meekness;   Yoke;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflicted Saints;   Compassion and Sympathy of Christ, the;   Gifts of God, the;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jesus christ;   Kindness;   Meekness;   Yoke;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Disciple, Discipleship;   Gospel;   Humility;   Jesus Christ;   Persecution;   Rest;   Work;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Hutchinsonians;   Meekness;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Call;   Rest;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Matthew, the Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abbreviations;   God;   Gospels;   Mss;   Rest;   Text of the New Testament;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Attraction;   Attributes of Christ;   Burden;   Call, Calling;   Character;   Character of Christ;   Children of God;   Coming to Christ;   Consciousness;   Consolation;   Dates (2);   Deliverance ;   Discipleship;   Discourse;   Doctrines;   Endurance;   Error;   Evil (2);   Example;   Fellowship (2);   Foresight;   Free Will;   Gift;   Gospel (2);   Happiness;   Holiness Purity;   Hope;   Ideas (Leading);   Incarnation (2);   Invitation;   Labour (2);   Lord's Prayer (Ii);   Love (2);   Majesty (2);   Mission;   Mystery ;   Necessity;   Oppression;   Paradox;   Peace (2);   Pharisees (2);   Preaching Christ;   Premeditation;   Promise (2);   Quotations (2);   Reconciliation;   Redemption (2);   Religious Experience;   Repose;   Rest (2);   Sacrifice (2);   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Seventy (2);   Simple, Simplicity ;   Sorrow, Man of Sorrows;   Soul;   Trinity (2);   Trust;   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Rest;   12 Rest Liberty;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Bread;   Rest;   Sabbath;   Vagabond;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Ass;   Stretch;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Vocation;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Authority in Religion;   Between the Testaments;   John, Gospel of;   Justification;   Life;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Mediation;   Rest;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for November 26;   Every Day Light - Devotion for May 11;   Faith's Checkbook - Devotion for January 14;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse Matthew 11:28. Come unto me — This phrase in the new covenant implies simply, believing in Christ, and becoming his disciple, or follower.

All ye that labour and are heavy laden — The metaphor here appears to be taken from a man who has a great load laid upon him, which he must carry to a certain place: every step he takes reduces his strength, and renders his load the more oppressive. However, it must be carried on; and he labours, uses his utmost exertions, to reach the place where it is to be laid down. A kind person passing by, and, seeing his distress, offers to ease him of his load, that he may enjoy rest.

The Jews, heavily laden with the burdensome rites of the Mosaic institution, rendered still more oppressive by the additions made by the scribes and Pharisees, who, our Lord says, (Matthew 23:4,) bound on heavy burdens; and labouring, by their observance of the law, to make themselves pleasing to God, are here invited to lay down their load, and receive the salvation procured for them by Christ.

Sinners, wearied in the ways of iniquity, are also invited to come to this Christ, and find speedy relief.

Penitents, burdened with the guilt of their crimes, may come to this Sacrifice, and find instant pardon.

Believers, sorely tempted, and oppressed by the remains of the carnal mind, may come to this blood, that cleanseth from all unrighteousness; and, purified from all sin, and powerfully succoured in every temptation, they shall find uninterrupted rest in this complete Saviour.

All are invited to come, and all are promised rest. If few find rest from sin and vile affections, it is because few come to Christ to receive it.

Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​acc/​matthew-11.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

50. The judgment and mercy of God (Matthew 11:20-30)

The Galilean towns of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum, where Jesus did much of his work, were not as immoral as certain Gentile cities of the Old Testament era such as Tyre, Sidon and Sodom. However, because the Galilean towns had witnessed the ministry of Jesus then deliberately rejected him, they would suffer a more severe judgment than the Gentile towns that had never heard of him. Their greater privilege placed upon them a greater responsibility, and this meant that their failure would bring a greater judgment (Matthew 11:20-24).

Very few of the privileged and learned classes turned to Jesus, as they felt comfortably secure and satisfied with their achievements in life. But many who felt helpless turned to Jesus to satisfy their deepest needs, and through him came into a new relationship with God. They found true refreshment in learning from Jesus and obeying his teachings. In submitting to his lordship they found true life (Matthew 11:25-30).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bbc/​matthew-11.html. 2005.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shalt find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

THE GREAT INVITATION

Again we have in this place, and in Matthew 11:27 preceding, words from Christ which demand that we hail him as God Incarnate, or a fool. That only he knows the Father, that he will give all the weary rest, that only those may know God to whom Christ reveals him — these are all statements that cannot be reconciled with ordinary man. Christ was more than a man, and every line of the New Testament emphasizes this transcendent fact.

These last three verses of Matthew 11 are called the Great Invitation. Those invited are "all ye that labor and are heavy laden." Christ’s teaching has a special appeal for the poor, the downtrodden, the despised, rejected, and suffering of earth; but it is incorrect to assume that only these are invited. Rather, all people are invited to fly unto Jesus for peace and redemption; and, in one sense or another, at one time or another, by some means or another, every soul ever born into this world is "weary," "heavy laden," and troubled by the common sorrows and calamities to which flesh is heir. In this larger view of the unmitigated sorrow in which all men dwell, the Great Invitation excludes no one. The common burden of sin, sickness, death, doubt, disillusionment, and sorrow is an invariable heritage of every man coming into the world. Reasons why men should come to Christ are: (1) for the rest he will give, (2) for the rest they will find, and (3) because Christ is meek and lowly in heart, thus fully qualified to provide sympathy, love, understanding, and whatever else may be required to alleviate human distress and to provide eternal life.

The means of accomplishing all this is the "yoke" of Christ. What is that? Men are naturally leery of yokes; and Christ adds that his yoke is easy and his burden light. Christ’s metaphor here is best understood by those who have journeyed to those lands where yokes are still found upon men’s shoulders. In Pusan, this writer once saw a Korean Papa-San struggling up an inclined road with an incredibly large burden of hay. The progression of that haystack up that road appeared absolutely impossible, until investigation revealed the secret. The worker was using an "A-frame," padded, and fitted across his shoulders. The long sides of the "A" came down almost to the ground, and the cross member formed the span across his shoulders. The hay was ingeniously rigged on the frame. By placing his shoulders in the proper place, by stooping down and bending his knees, the worker could lift the whole load by straightening up. He would then stagger a few steps forward; and, when exhausted, he would flex his knees, stoop slightly, and rest the entire load on the ground. After resting a moment he would proceed, and in that manner moved the whole load half a mile! Now that "A-frame" itself was a burden, but it was the burden that enabled him to carry an immensely greater burden which would have been impossible without the "A-frame." In exactly the same manner, Christ’s burden, his "yoke," is the burden that makes all other burdens bearable. Under the yoke of Christ, men can withstand all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. They can carry whatever burdens of sorrow, misfortune, disease, or mortality that may come upon them — burdens which, if undertaken without his "yoke," would surely crush the unfortunate attempting to carry his burden alone.

It only remains to inquire, "How may men take Christ’s yoke upon them?" This is done, as he said, by those who "learn" of him. This refers to hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, being baptized, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. People take Christ’s yoke upon them by obeying the gospel and taking up their full duties and obligations in the church which is Christ’s body. That such is surely a burden or "yoke," none may deny; but it is a burden which makes all other burdens light.

Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bcc/​matthew-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

All ye that labour and are heavy laden - The Saviour here, perhaps, refers primarily to the Jews, who groaned under the weight of their ceremonial laws and the traditions of the elders, Acts 15:10. He tells them that by coming to him, and embracing the new system of religion, they would be freed from these burdensome rites and ceremonies. There can be no doubt, however, that he meant here chiefly to address the poor, lost, ruined sinner: the man “burdened” with a consciousness of his transgressions, trembling at his danger, and seeking deliverance. For such there is relief. Christ tells them to come to him, to believe in him, and to trust him, and him only, for salvation. Doing this, he will give them rest - rest from their sins, from the alarms of conscience, from the terrors of the law, and from the fears of eternal death.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bnb/​matthew-11.html. 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

28.Come to me all that labor He now kindly invites to himself those whom he acknowledges to be fit for becoming his disciples. Though he is ready to reveal the Father to all, yet the greater part are careless about coming to him, because they are not affected by a conviction of their necessities. Hypocrites give themselves no concern about Christ, because they are intoxicated with their own righteousness, and neither hunger nor thirst (Matthew 5:6) for his grace. Those who are devoted to the world set no value on heavenly life. It would be in vain, therefore, for Christ to invite either of these classes, and therefore he turns to the wretched and afflicted. He speaks of them as laboring, or groaning under a burden, and does not mean generally those who are oppressed with grief and vexations, but those who are overwhelmed by their sins, who are filled with alarm at the wrath of God, and are ready to sink under so weighty a burden. There are various methods, indeed, by which God humbles his elect; but as the greater part of those who are loaded with afflictions still remain obstinate and rebellious, Christ means by persons laboringand burdened, those whose consciences are distressed by their exposure to eternal death, and who are inwardly so pressed down by their miseries that they faint; for this very fainting prepares them for receiving his grace. He tells us that the reason why most men despise his grace is, that they are not sensible of their poverty; but that there is no reason why their pride or folly should keep back afflicted souls that long for relief.

Let us therefore bid adieu to all who, entangled by the snares of Satan, either are persuaded that they possess a righteousness out of Christ, or imagine that they are happy in this world. Let our miseries drive us to seek Christ; and as he admits none to the enjoyment of his rest but those who sink under the burden, let us learn, that there is no venom more deadly than that slothfulness which is produced in us, either by earthly happiness, or by a false and deceitful opinion of our own righteousness and virtue. Let each of us labor earnestly to arouse himself, first, by vigorously shaking off the luxuries of the world; and, secondly, by laying aside every false confidence. Now though this preparation for coming to Christ makes them as dead men, (71) yet it ought to be observed, that it is the gift of the Holy Spirit, because it is the commencement of repentance, to which no man aspires in his own strength. Christ did not intend to show what man can do of himself, but only to inform us what must be the feelings of those who come to him.

They who limit the burden and the labor to ceremonies of the Law, take a very narrow view of Christ’s meaning. I do acknowledge, that the Law was intolerably burdensome, and overwhelmed the souls of worshippers; but we must bear in mind what I have said, that Christ stretches out his hand to all the afflicted, and thus lays down a distinction between his disciples and those who despise the Gospel. But we must attend to the universality of the expression; for Christ included all, without exception, who labor and are burdened, that no man may shut the gate against himself by wicked doubts. (72) And yet all such persons are few in number; for, among the innumerable multitude of those that perish, few are aware that they are perishing. The relief which he promises consists in the free pardon of sins, which alone gives us peace.

(71)Combien que ceste preparation a recevoir la grace de Christ despouille desia entierement les hommes, et monstre qu’ils sont du tout vuides de vertu;” — “though this preparation for receiving the grace of Christ already strips men entirely, and shows that they are wholly devoid of virtue.”

(72)Par une desfiance et facon perverse de douter;” — “by a distrust and wicked manner of doubting.”

Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​cal/​matthew-11.html. 1840-57.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Chapter 11

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of these commandments, he departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities ( Matthew 11:1 ).

So He sent them out in front of them, and then He departed and was following up now, and coming into the cities. They were sort of the advance men for Him to go out in advance.

Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and he said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? ( Matthew 11:2-3 ).

Now John had been placed in prison by Herod. John had been preaching the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And he said, "There is one who is coming after me who is mightier than I am, I am not worthy to untie his shoes" ( Matthew 3:11 ). But here is John still in Herod's prison and he is saying to the Lord, hey, let's get this show on the road, for even John did not fully understand the mission of Christ in His first coming, but was anticipating the immediate establishment of the kingdom of God as was promised in the Old Testament scriptures.

And so the fact that Jesus had not yet proclaimed His power, and overthrown the Roman yoke and John was still in prison, he was getting impatient. He sends his disciples to Jesus asking, "Are you the one, or shall we start looking for someone else?" What he was really saying is, let's get this thing going. I am tired of sitting here in jail. Let's get the kingdom on the road. Let's get this movement going. Are you the one we should look for, or should we start looking for someone else?

Now Jesus answered and said unto them.

Go and show John those things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever is not offended in me ( Matthew 11:4-6 ).

Now Jesus, rather then answering John directly, points to His ministry, the works that He was doing.

You remember on the night that Jesus was betrayed, as He was talking to His disciples, and John records it so faithfully there in the fourteenth chapter, where Jesus had been saying, "Now look, I am going to the Father, and if I go, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also". And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said, Lord, we really don't know where you are going; and how can we know the way? Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no ones comes to the Father, but by me." And He said, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father also."

Philip said, "Lord, if you will just show us the Father, it will suffice us". Jesus said, Have I been so long a time with you, and haven't you seen me, Philip? "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; why do you say then, Show us the Father? Don't you believe not the Father is in me? And the works that I do, I don't really do of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father or else believe me for the very works' sake" ( John 14:2-11 )

In other words, Jesus was pointing to the works as the evidence of His commission, of His person, and of His authority, pointing to the works. He also said, "The works that I do they do testify of me" ( John 10:25 ). They were the evidence. He was fulfilling the promises of the kingdom in the Old Testament, as far as the lame walking, the blind seeing, the dumb speaking, the deaf hearing, he was fulfilling. The dead were being raised, the poor had the gospel preached, and he was fulfilling those aspects of the kingdom. His works were a witness and a testimony. All He did was heal a few of the sick that were around there, open the eyes of the blind, and all, and He said, now you just go back and tell John what you see. And just tell him, Blessed is the one who doesn't get offended because of my not really establishing the kingdom immediately, and over throwing the Roman yoke and establishing a physical, visible, earthly kingdom.

Now they departed, Jesus began to talk to the multitudes concerning John the Baptist, And he said, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken in the wind? ( Matthew 11:7 ).

John was preaching down at the Jordan River, a lot of reeds down at the Jordan River. Did you go down to the Jordan River just to watch the reeds being blown by the wind? How come you went out of the cities and down to the Jordan? What did you go there to see? But what did you go out for to see? You obviously didn't go out to see the reeds being blown in the wind.

But what did you go out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment [a man who was wearing fancy clothes]? behold, those that wear soft clothing are in king's houses [they are not in the king's prisons] ( Matthew 11:8 ).

John was in the king's prison at that time. And those who wear that kind of clothes are in the king's houses or palaces.

What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say unto you, more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee ( Matthew 11:9-10 ).

He is declaring to them that John was indeed the fulfillment of the promise of a forerunner who would come before the Messiah to prepare His way.

Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of woman there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he ( Matthew 11:11 ).

In other words, our position as children of God through Jesus Christ puts us in a greater position than those of the Old Testament. Our position of having the Holy Spirit indwelling us, puts us in a greater position. Of all the men born of women, not a greater prophet than John the Baptist, yet the privileges that God has bestowed upon us in the church exceed those privileges.

So often times we think, Oh, how blessed it must have been for Abraham to have had that kind of a relationship with God, and Moses, David and all, but in reality the potential of relationship that is ours through the Spirit is tremendous. That God would dwell in us, by His Spirit, that God would empower us with His Spirit, is absolutely amazing. So even the least of us, filled with the Spirit of God, walking in this glorious fellowship with Jesus Christ, have greater privileges than those of the old dispensation.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence ( Matthew 11:12 ).

John was thrown into prison and soon he is to be beheaded. The kingdom of heaven is going to suffer violence. The King Himself is going to be crucified. And so the kingdom of heaven is suffering the violence of man.

And the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are able to receive it, this is [Elijah], which was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear ( Matthew 11:12-15 ).

Now in an interesting way, according to Jesus, John the Baptist was Elijah. This does bring up some confusion and when we get to the seventeenth chapter, we will look at this again in a little more detail.

When Zechariah the priest was fulfilling his ministry in the temple, the angel Gabriel came to him and told him that his wife Elizabeth, who had been barren, was in her old age, going to bear a son, and he was to call his name John. And the angel told him, "He shall go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the children unto their fathers " ( Luke 1:17 ). He quotes this prophecy that Jesus quoted concerning the forerunner of the Messiah. And basically the Lord was saying John the Baptist was going to be the forerunner of the Messiah, coming in the spirit and in the power of Elijah.

When in the gospel of John, John the Baptist began his ministry; they came out to him and began to challenge him concerning his authority. And they said unto him, "Who are you?" And they asked him point blank, "Are you Elijah?" and John answered, "No." Then they said, "Who are you?" He said, " The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths " ( Matthew 3:3 ), quoting another passage of scripture concerning the forerunner.

Now, the reason for the ambiguity here, is the fact that before Jesus comes again and establishes His visible, physical kingdom upon the earth, Elijah will be coming, of which John the Baptist was a type, for he came in the spirit and in the power. So even as there were two aspects of the coming of Jesus Christ: the first to be crucified, suffering violence; the second to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, so there are two aspects of the forerunner Elijah.

So John the Baptist came to fulfill the first coming in the spirit and power of Elijah, but Elijah himself will actually come before Jesus returns again. Elijah will prophesy before the Lord to the Jewish people, not to the world, but to the Jewish people to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers; that is, to bring the Jewish people back unto the faith of the patriarchs in God the Father.

In Revelation 11:2 ,I am convinced that one of those two witnesses in Jerusalem will indeed be John the Baptist, for he has the power to shut up heaven, that it not rain in the time of his ministry, even as Elijah prayed and it rained not. And he has power to call down fire on his enemies to consume them, even as Elijah called down fire upon the captain with the fifties who came out from the king to take him in. So Elijah coming before the Lord.

Because I believe that the coming of the Lord is so near, I do believe that somewhere in the earth today, Elijah probably is alive and living, because I believe that we are that near the coming of the Lord. I don't think that anybody knows who he is or where he is. He may know himself, but I am not looking for him. I am looking for the Lord to come for me. I think that it is easy for us to get our eyes off the main attraction and start looking for little side events. "Oh, who is the Antichrist? I wonder if this one could be the Antichrist." But let's look for the main event, Jesus Christ.

So Jesus is saying, Hey, this is tough to take. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." I mean, if you can take it, if you can handle it, if you will receive it, this is he. This is Elijah, if you can receive it. If you can't receive it, then take it however you want, but "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear". So in a sense it was Elijah, coming in the spirit and power, as a forerunner of the Messiah, but not the total fulfillment of that promise in Malachi.

Now what shall I liken this generation to? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, that are calling to their fellows ( Matthew 11:16 ),

They're seeking entertainment.

And they saying, We have piped to you, and you didn't dance; we mourned, and you didn't cry ( Matthew 11:17 ).

What do you want? What are you looking for?

So John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, and the Pharisees said, He has a devil. The Son of man came both eating and drinking, and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children ( Matthew 11:18-19 ).

What did the people want? They really didn't know what they wanted. John came as an asthenic. And they said, "He's got a devil." Jesus came mixing with people, and they said, "Oh, He is a friend of the sinners. He is a friend of the publicans, a wine bibber."

Then he began to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they did not repented ( Matthew 11:20 ):

It is interesting that these cities that He upbraided around the Galilee have all been destroyed, and today are nothing but ruins. In fact, it wasn't until just recently that they even discovered the sight of Bethsaida. For a long time it was thought that maybe the Bible was speaking of some fictitious place, until more recently the archaeologists have uncovered Bethsaida. But Jesus in these cities that He pronounces woes upon, it is interesting that they have totally disappeared. Whereas many of the other cities, such as Tiberias, which was the capital of the Galilee region where Herod lived, Jesus didn't really go to Tiberias, it still remains today Tiberias. The city is still there. But Capernaum is gone, Bethsaida is gone, Chorazin is gone, so that these cities that he upbraided have disappeared off the map.

Woe, unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day ( Matthew 11:21-23 ).

Capernaum was the headquarters of Jesus, that was His city, that's where He spent the majority of His ministry. His earthly ministry was spent in and around the city of Capernaum. The majority of the miracles that Christ wrought, were wrought in Capernaum. And yet, the people there did not repent. And He said, "If the works had been done in the city of Sodom that were done here in Capernaum, they would have repented." And so the judgments that He pronounces upon Capernaum to be cast down to hell.

But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for thee ( Matthew 11:24 ).

Why? Unto who much is given, much is required. The greater understanding and light that a man receives, the greater will be the judgment of that individual. And so when God does judge, it will be according to the understanding or the knowledge that God has given. According to the grace they have been exposed to, will be the degree of judgement by which they will be judged.

At that time Jesus answered and said ( Matthew 11:25 ),

He has just rebuked these cities for their failure to repent, for their failure to receive, and then He turns from the rebuking of these cities to the Father in a prayer in which He said,

I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto the babes ( Matthew 11:25 ).

Father, I thank you that the great people of the earth, those great people of Capernaum, and Bethsaida and all, you have hid the truth from them. But here are these babes, simple ordinary people that you've chosen to reveal your truth and your love to. Jesus said,

Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight ( Matthew 11:26 ).

I thank you, Father, that you've chosen just to use the common, ordinary people to reveal your love and truth to. I am too. How glorious that God has chosen to reveal Himself to just the common.

All things are delivered, [Jesus said] unto me of my Father: and no man really knows the Son, but the Father; and neither knows any man the Father, except the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him ( Matthew 11:27 ).

Now Jesus after this prayer, "Thank you, Father, because you've chosen to reveal yourself not to the wise and the prudent, but just to babes," then He said, "No one really knows the Father, but the Son. And no one really knows the Son, but the Father. And the only ones who really know the Father, are those to whom the Son reveals Him."

There are a lot of people who thought they knew the Father, but they had wrong concepts of God. There are a lot of people today who think they know God, but their concepts of God are all messed up. Jesus said, "No one really knows the Father, unless I reveal the Father to them." I look at the concepts that many people have of God, concepts that they have developed in their own minds. "If I were God this is how I would live; this is what I would do; this is how I would react; this is how I would respond; and so this is my god. I've created my own god, after my own likes and wishes and all." And this has been endemic of man through history, creating his own gods. "But no man really knows the Father, except the Son, and the ones to whom the Son reveals."

Then Jesus makes the broad invitation,

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ( Matthew 11:28 ).

You see, Jesus is relating the restlessness of humanity with its godlessness. And He is saying that you will never really know what it is to rest, until you know God. Come unto Me, I'll give you rest. Come unto Me, I'll reveal the Father to you.

Now the invitation, of course, is from Jesus to you. The invitation is to come to Him, and the promise is, "if you come, He will give you rest." So that the first consciousness that a person has when they have come to Jesus Christ, the very first consciousness that they possess is a deep, beautiful peace inside. It just feels so good. I can't tell you why, but I feel good. You see, I am not running from God anymore. I am not fighting God anymore. In fact, I begin now to really understand the Father, and my restlessness was my godlessness. But now as I've come to Jesus Christ, suddenly there is a beautiful peace inside, a rest.

And then Jesus said,

Take my yoke upon you ( Matthew 11:29 ),

The yoke was the thing that was put on the ox so he could pull a plow. Basically what the Lord is saying is, "Let me have the reigns of your life, and I will guide you to that work that I have for you," for the Lord has a purpose and a plan for each one of you.

Paul the apostle writing to the Philippians said, "I have not yet apprehend that for which I was apprehended by Jesus Christ" ( Philippians 3:12 ). Jesus Christ has apprehended every one of you. And when He apprehended you, He apprehended you for a specific purpose and plan that He has for your life. The Lord has a work for each of you to do for Him. He's got a plan for each one of your lives. The Lord does not waste anything. He is very conservative, uses everything, and when He apprehended you, He had in mind a purpose and a plan for you to fulfill for His glory, and for the kingdom's sake.

Paul recognizing that, having devoted himself to serving the Lord, after some thirty years said, "I am not yet apprehended that for which I was apprehended. Neither are things yet complete, but I am pressing towards the mark for the price of the high calling of God. I am still pushing on, seeking to apprehend that for which I was apprehended." Take My yoke upon you. I've got a plan for your life. Now you let Me take over the reigns, and let Me begin to guide you into My purposes, and into My plans for you.

And then the third thing Jesus said,

Learn of me ( Matthew 11:29 ),

Now you need to know the Father, and you can't know the Father unless I reveal the Father to you. Learn of Me, because as you learn of Me, you'll know the Father. He who has seen Me, hath seen the Father. So learn of Me, that you might know the truth of God, that He might reveal to you the truth of the nature of God. And as you learn the truth of God, you'll learn that He is a God of love, a God of compassion, a God of great deep concern for you. A God who cares for you more than you could ever dream, a God who is interested in every minute detail of your life. "Learn of me," Jesus said, for in learning of Him, you will learn of the Father, and you'll have a true revelation of the Father.

And then Jesus adds,

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light ( Matthew 11:30 ).

That's in sharp contrast to those who go around telling me about the heavy burden they've been under lately. "Oh man, I've been under such a heavy burden. I don't know if I am gonna be able to handle it, Man. The burden is so heavy on me." Wait a minute! I believe that it is possible for us to take on burdens that are not from God, burdens that we take upon ourselves. It's possible for us to get ourselves into some real messes.

I feel that I've taken on many burdens that God didn't lay on me and I sometimes complain about the burdens. Right now I am sort of complaining at home about the burden of going to Norway. I don't know if God laid it on me or not. I accepted the invitation and now I sort of wish I hadn't. I am just tired, and I would like to stay home. But nonetheless, I have to go. But I can't say, "Oh, the Lord has laid this heavy burden on me. I've got to go to Norway." If the Lord indeed has sent me, than He is going to give me the strength and the energy and I am going to do great. If I've taken the burden on and He hasn't, then pray for me, I am in trouble. For the Lord said, "My yoke is easy, my burden is light."

Hey, wait a minute, what was His yoke? Every man bares a burden. A man's burden is that master passion by which his life is governed. Jesus said, "My burden is light." What was His burden? What was behind the life of Jesus? What was the main thrust behind His life? He revealed it in His first recorded words, when He was just twelve years old, when He said to His mother Mary, "Didn't you know that I must be about my Father's business" ( Luke 2:49 ).

Now when a person says, "I must," you better listen, because you're getting close to the heart of the issue. So many times a person says, well, I really ought to do that. I know I should. Forget it, you're not getting close yet. When a person says, "I must," then listen. "Didn't you know I must be about my Father's business." That was the burden in His life, His Father's business. "I do always those things that please the Father" ( John 8:29 ). "I came not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me" ( John 6:38 ). And He prayed: "Father, I have finished the work you have given me to do" ( John 17:4 ).

And what does He say about His burden? He said, "My burden is light." It is light to do the will of the Father, to please the Father. It is not a heavy burden. Who is He calling? Those who are heavy laden, those who are carrying a heavy burden. "Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden."

What are the heavy burdens of man? What is the burden of life that you are trying to carry? What is the master passion behind your whole life? You say, well, I am being honest and looking at myself, the master passion of my life is money. I love good things. I love nice things. I want to live comfortably. And so the master passion of my life is just to possess nice things, and to live a comfortable life. Someone else may say, well, the master passion of my life is fame. I just want people to admire me and to look up to me, and I want to be famous. Someone else might say, well, really the real thrust behind my life is pleasure. I just like excitement and pleasure, and the only reason why I work is to get enough money to go out and have a good time. I hate the job, and I hate working, but I have to work in order to get the money. I can't wait for the weekends, man, where we can just really have a great time, and my whole life is geared around the weekends, and the fun that I can have, and I'd have to say, that's the burden of my life.

Look a little deeper, because none of these are the burdens that any of you are carrying. Who do you want the money for? Who are you seeking fame for? For whose pleasure are you looking? And when you get behind these things, you have to say, well, I am seeking money for myself. I want to be wealthy. I am seeking fame for myself. I am seeking pleasure for myself. Now you've come to the truth. The burden that Jesus said is heavy, one that will weigh you down, is living for yourself. When a person is seeking to live for himself, that is a heavy burden that one day will become intolerable, and you will just come to the cynicism and say, life isn't worth going on. You will become totally cynical, because you'll never be able to satisfy yourself. The yoke is too hard. The burden is too heavy.

But Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, my yoke is easy, my burden is light". Living for God has to be the most satisfying life in the world. Nothing is more satisfying than to commit your life totally to God and to live for His glory. As Jesus said back in chapter ten, "he who finds his life, shall lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake shall find it." My yoke is easy, My burden is light, because my yoke is living to satisfy and to please God. And you find that is much easier to please God, then it is to please yourself. You'll never be able to please yourself, as you just live for yourself, because you're not answering to the basic purpose of your creation. When God designed you and created you, God purposed that you should be for His pleasure and for His glory.

As the elders are ascribing praise unto God and the worthiness of God to receive the praise of the Cherubim, "Thou art worthy oh Lord, to receive glory and honor, for thou hast created all things, and for your good pleasure they are and were created" ( Revelation 4:11 ). God did not create you to live for your own pleasure. And if you live for your own pleasure, your life is gonna be empty, frustrating, and dissatisfying. But if you will live for God's pleasure, if you take up the light burden, then your life will be fulfilling, rich, full. In fact even more, as David said, "my cup runneth over" ( Psalms 23:5 ). And your life will be like an overflowing cup.

May the Lord put His hand upon your life, fill you with His Spirit, and guide you with His councils. May you be strengthened in your walk with Him. May you begin to experience greater victories over those areas of the flesh that have dominated, and may you begin to experience more and more the power of God's Spirit within your life, giving victory. May the Lord be with you and may the Lord keep you in His love during the time that we're absent from each other. And may you just grow in your knowledge of Him, and in your fellowship in Jesus Name. "



Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​csc/​matthew-11.html. 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

A. Evidences of Israel’s rejection of Jesus 11:2-30

Matthew presented three evidences of opposition to Jesus that indicated rejection of Him: John the Baptist’s questions about the King’s identity, the Jews’ indifference to the King’s message, and their refusal to respond to the King’s invitation.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/​matthew-11.html. 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

3. The King’s invitation to the repentant 11:25-30

This invitation is a sign of Israel’s rejection of her King since with it Jesus invited those who had believed in Him to separate from unbelieving Israel and to follow Him. In Matthew 11:20-24 Jesus addressed the condemned, but in Matthew 11:25-30 He spoke to the accepted. This section is a Christological high point in the Gospel.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/​matthew-11.html. 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

This invitation recalls Jeremiah 31:25 where Yahweh offered His people rest in the New Covenant. The weary are those who have struggled long and toiled hard. The heavy-laden are those who stagger under excessive burdens.

"The one [term] implies toil, the other endurance. The one refers to the weary search for truth and for relief from a troubled conscience; the other refers to the heavy load of observances that give no relief, and perhaps also the sorrow of life, which, apart from the consolations of a true faith, are so crushing." [Note: Ibid., p. 170.]

Jesus, the revealer of God, invites those who feel their need for help they cannot obtain themselves to come to Him (cf. Matthew 5:3; Revelation 22:17). Israel’s spiritual leaders had loaded the people with burdens that were heavy to bear. The rest in view involves kingdom rest (cf. Hebrews 4), but it is a present reality too.

Throughout Israel’s history God held out the promise of rest if His people would trust and obey Him. The Promised Land was to be the scene of this rest. However, when Israel entered Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, she enjoyed rest there only partially due to limited trust and obedience. As her history progressed, she lost much rest through disobedience. Now Jesus as her Messiah promised that the rest she had longed for for centuries could be hers if she humbly came to Him. He provided this rest for anyone in Israel who came to Him in humble trust. [Note: Feinberg, p. 66.] He will provide this rest for Israel in the future in the Promised Land. This will take place when He returns to earth to establish His kingdom.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/​matthew-11.html. 2012.

Barclay's Daily Study Bible

Chapter 11

THE SIX ACCENTS IN THE VOICE OF JESUS ( Matthew 11:1-30 )

Matthew 11:1-30 is a chapter in which Jesus is speaking all the time; and, as he speaks to different people and about different things, we hear the accent of his voice vary and change. It will be of the greatest interest to look one by one at the six accents in the voice of Jesus.

The Accent Of Confidence ( Matthew 11:1-6)

11:1-6 And when Jesus had completed his instructions to the twelve disciples, he left there to go on teaching and to go on making his proclamation in their towns.

When John had heard in prison about the things that the Anointed One of God was doing, he sent to him and asked him through his disciples: "Are you the One who is to come, or, must we go on expecting another?" "Go back," said Jesus, "and give John the report of what you are hearing and seeing. The blind are having their sight restored, and the lame are walking; the lepers are being cleansed, and the deaf are hearing; the dead are being raised up, and the poor are receiving the good news. And blessed is the man who does not take offence at me."

The career of John had ended in disaster. It was not John's habit to soften the truth for any man; and he was incapable of seeing evil without rebuking it. He had spoken too fearlessly and too definitely for his own safety.

Herod Antipas of Galilee had paid a visit to his brother in Rome. During that visit he seduced his brother's wife. He came home again, dismissed his own wife, and married the sister-in-law whom he had lured away from her husband. Publicly and sternly John rebuked Herod. It was never safe to rebuke an eastern despot and Herod took his revenge; John was thrown into the dungeons of the fortress of Machaerus in the mountains near the Dead Sea.

For any man that would have been a terrible fate, but for John the Baptist it was worse than for most. He was a child of the desert; all his life he had lived in the wide open spaces, with the clean wind on his face and the spacious vault of the sky for his root And now he was confined within the four narrow walls of an underground dungeon. For a man like John, who had perhaps never lived in a house, this must have been agony.

In Carlisle Castle there is a little cell. Once long ago they put a border chieftain in that cell and left him for years. In that cell there is one little window, which is placed too high for a man to look out of when he is standing on the floor. On the ledge of the window there are two depressions worn away in the stone. They are the marks of the hands of that border chieftain, the places where, day after day, he lifted himself up by his hands to look out on the green dales across which he would never ride again.

John must have been like that; and there is nothing to wonder at, and still less to criticize, in the fact that questions began to form themselves in John's mind. He had been so sure that Jesus was the One who was to come. That was one of the commonest titles of the Messiah for whom the Jews waited with such eager expectation ( Mark 11:9; Luke 13:35; Luke 19:38; Hebrews 10:37; Psalms 118:26). A dying man cannot afford to have doubts; he must be sure; and so John sent his disciples to Jesus with the question: "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" There are many possible things behind that question.

(i) Some people think that the question was asked, not for John's sake at all, but for the sake of his disciples. It may be that when John and his disciples talked in prison, the disciples questioned whether Jesus was really he who was to come, and John's answer was: "If you have any doubts, go and see what Jesus is doing and your doubts will be at an end." If that is the case, it was a good answer. If anyone begins to argue with us about Jesus, and to question his supremacy, the best of all answers is not to counter argument with argument, but to say, "Give your life to him; and see what he can do with it." The supreme argument for Christ is not intellectual debate, but experience of his changing power.

(ii) It may be that John's question was the question of impatience. His message had been a message of doom ( Matthew 3:7-12). The axe was at the root of the tree; the winnowing process had begun; the divine fire of cleansing judgment had begun to burn. It may be that John was thinking: "When is Jesus going to start on action? When is he going to blast his enemies? When is the day of God's holy destruction to begin?" It may well be that John was impatient with Jesus because he was not what he expected him to be. The man who waits for savage wrath will always be disappointed in Jesus, but the man who looks for love will never find his hopes defeated.

(iii) Some few have thought that this question was nothing less than the question of dawning faith and hope. He had seen Jesus at the Baptism; in prison he had thought more and more about him; and the more he thought the more certain he was that Jesus was he who was to come; and now he put all his hopes to the test in this one question. It may be that this is not the question of a despairing and an impatient man, but the question of one in whose eyes the light of hope shone, and who asked for nothing but confirmation of that hope.

Then came Jesus' answer; and in his answer we hear the accent of confidence. Jesus' answer to John's disciples was: "Go back, and don't tell John what I am saying; tell him what I am doing. Don't tell John what I am claiming; tell him what is happening." Jesus demanded that there should be applied to him the most acid of tests, that of deeds. Jesus was the only person who could ever demand without qualification to be judged, not by what he said, but by what he did. The challenge of Jesus is still the same. He does not so much say, "Listen to what I have to tell you," as, "Look what I can do for you; see what I have done for others."

The things that Jesus did in Galilee he still does. In him those who were blind to the truth about themselves, about their fellow-men and about God, have their eyes opened; in him those whose feet were never strong enough to remain in the right way are strengthened; in him those who were tainted with the disease of sin are cleansed; in him those who were deaf to the voice of conscience and of God begin to listen; in him those who were dead and powerless in sin are raised to newness and loveliness of life; in him the poorest man inherits the riches of the love of God.

Finally comes the warning, "Blessed is he who takes no offence at me." This was spoken to John; and it was spoken because John had only grasped half the truth. John preached the gospel of divine holiness with divine destruction; Jesus preached the gospel of divine holiness with divine love. So Jesus says to John, "Maybe I am not doing the things you expected me to do. But the powers of evil are being defeated not by irresistible power, but by unanswerable love." Sometimes a man can be offended at Jesus because Jesus cuts across his ideas of what religion should be.

The Accent Of Admiration ( Matthew 11:7-11)

11:7-11 When they were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. "What did you go out to the desert to see?" he said. "Was it a reed shaken by the wind? If it was not that, what did you go out to see? Was it to see a man clothed in luxurious clothes? Look you, the people who wear luxurious clothes are in kings' houses. If it was not that, what did you go out to see? Was it to see a prophet? Indeed it was, I tell you, and something beyond a prophet. This is he of whom it stands written: 'Look you, I am sending before you my messenger, who will prepare your way before you.' This is the truth I tell you--amongst those born of women no greater figure than John the Baptizer has ever emerged in history. But the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is."

There are few men to whom Jesus paid so tremendous a tribute as he did to John the Baptizer. He begins by asking the people what they went into the desert to see when they streamed out to John.

(i) Did they go out to see a reed shaken by the wind? That can mean one of two things: (a) Down by the banks of the Jordan the long cane grass grew; and the phrase a shaken reed was a kind of proverb for the commonest of sights. When the people flocked to see John, were they going out to see something as ordinary as the reeds swaying in the wind on Jordan's banks? (b) A shaken reed can mean a weak vacillator, one who could no more stand foursquare to the winds of danger than a reed by the river's bank could stand straight when the wind blew.

Whatever else the people flocked out to the desert to see, they certainly did not go to see an ordinary person. The very fact that they did go out in their crowds showed how extraordinary John was, for no one would cross the street, let alone tramp into the desert, to see a commonplace kind of person. Whatever else they went out to see, they did not go to see a weak vacillator. Mr. Pliables do not end in prison as martyrs for the truth. John was neither as ordinary as a shaken reed, nor as spineless as the reed which sways with every breeze.

(ii) Did they go out to see a man clothed in soft and luxurious garments? Such a man would be a courtier; and, whatever else John was, he was not a courtier. He knew nothing of the courtier's art of the flattery of kings; he followed the dangerous occupation of telling the truth to kings. John was the ambassador of God, not the courtier of Herod.

(iii) Did they go out to see a prophet? The prophet is the forthteller of the truth of God. The prophet is the man in the confidence of God. "Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets" ( Amos 3:7). The prophet is two things--he is the man with a message from God, and he is the man with the courage to deliver that message. The prophet is the man with God's wisdom in his mind, God's truth on his lips, and God's courage in his heart. That most certainly John was.

(iv) But John was something more than a prophet. The Jews had, and still have, one settled belief. They believed that before the Messiah came, Elijah would return to herald his coming. To this day, when the Jews celebrate the Passover Feast, a vacant chair is left for Elijah. "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes" ( Malachi 4:5). Jesus declared that John was nothing less than the divine herald whose duty and privilege it was to announce the coming of the Messiah. John was nothing less than the herald of God, and no man could have a greater task than that.

(v) Such was the tremendous tribute of Jesus to John, spoken with the accent of admiration. There had never been a greater figure in all history; and then comes the startling sentence: "But he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he."

Here there is one quite general truth. With Jesus there came into the world something absolutely new. The prophets were great; their message was precious; but with Jesus there emerged something still greater, and a message still more wonderful. C. G. Montefiore, himself a Jew and not a Christian, writes: "Christianity does mark a new era in religious history and in human civilization. What the world owes to Jesus and to Paul is immense; things can never be, and men can never think, the same as things were, and as men thought, before these two great men lived." Even a non-Christian freely admits that things could never be the same now that Jesus had come.

But what was it that John lacked? What is it that the Christian has that John could never have? The answer is simple and fundamental. John had never seen the Cross. Therefore one thing John could never know--the full revelation of the love of God. The holiness of God he might know; the justice of God he might declare; but the love of God in all its fulness he could never know. We have only to listen to the message of John and the message of Jesus. No one could call John's message a gospel, good news; it was basically a threat of destruction. It took Jesus and his Cross to show to men the length, breadth, depth and height of the love of God. It is a most amazing thing that it is possible for the humblest Christian to know more about God than the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. The man who has seen the Cross has seen the heart of God in a way that no man who lived before the Cross could ever see it. Indeed the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than any man who went before.

So John had the destiny which sometimes falls to men; he had the task of pointing men to a greatness into which he himself did not enter. It is given to some men to be the signposts of God. They point to a new ideal and a new greatness which others will enter into, but into which they will not come. It is very seldom that any great reformer is the first man to toil for the reform with which his name is connected. Many who went before him glimpsed the glory, often laboured for it, and sometimes died for it.

Someone tells how from the windows of his house every evening he used to watch the lamp-lighter go along the streets lighting the lamps--and the lamp-lighter was himself a blind man. He was bringing to others the light which he himself would never see. Let a man never be discouraged in the Church or in any other walk of life, if the dream he has dreamed and for which he has toiled is never worked out before the end of the day. God needed John; God needs his signposts who can point men on the way, although they themselves cannot ever reach the goal.

Violence And The Kingdom ( Matthew 11:12-15)

11:12-15 "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by storm, and the violent take it by force. For up to John all the prophets and the Law spoke with the voice of prophecy; and, if you are wiping to accept the fact, this is Elijah who was destined to come. He who has ears to hear let him hear."

In Matthew 11:12 there is a very difficult saying, "The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force." Luke has this saying in another form ( Luke 16:16): "Since then the good news of the Kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently." It is clear that at some time Jesus said something in which violence and the kingdom were connected, something which was a dark and a difficult saying, which no one at the time fully understood. Certainly Luke and Matthew understood it in different ways.

Luke says that every man storms his way into the Kingdom; he means, as Denney said, that the "Kingdom of heaven is not for the well-meaning but for the desperate," that no one drifts into the Kingdom, that the Kingdom only opens its doors to those who are prepared to make as great an effort to get into it as men do when they storm a city.

Matthew says that from the time of John until now the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. The very form of that expression seems to look back over a considerable time. It indeed sounds much more like a comment of Matthew than a saying of Jesus. It sounds as if Matthew was saying: "From the days of John, who was thrown into prison, right down to our own times the Kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and persecution at the hands of violent men."

It is likely that we will get the full meaning of this difficult saying by putting together the recollection of Luke and Matthew. What Jesus may well have said is: "Always my Kingdom will suffer violence; always savage men will try to break it up, and snatch it away and destroy it; and therefore only the man who is desperately in earnest, only the man in whom the violence of devotion matches and defeats the violence of persecution will in the end enter into it." It may well be that this saying of Jesus was originally at one and the same time a warning of violence to come and a challenge to produce a devotion which would be even stronger than the violence.

It seems strange to find in Matthew 11:13 that the Law is said to speak with the voice of prophecy; but it was the Law itself which confidently declared that the voice of prophecy would not die. "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you, from your brethren." "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth" ( Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 18:18 http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Dt+18%3A18) . It was because he broke the Law, as they saw it, that the orthodox Jews hated Jesus; but, if they had only had eyes to see it, both the Law and the prophets pointed to him.

Once again Jesus tells the people that John is the herald and the forerunner whom they have awaited so long--if they are willing to accept the fact. There is all the tragedy of the human situation in that last phrase. The old proverb has it that you can take a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink. God can send his messenger but men can refuse to recognize him, and God can send his truth but men can refuse to see it. God's revelation is powerless without man's response. That is why Jesus ends with the appeal that he who has ears should use them to hear.

The Accent Of Sorrowful Rebuke ( Matthew 11:16-19)

11:16-19 "To what will I compare this generation? It is like children in the market-place, calling to their companions, and saying, 'We piped to you and you did not dance; we wailed and you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'The man is mad.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look you, a gluttonous man and a wine-drinker, the friend of tax-collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is shown to be right by her deeds."

Jesus was saddened by the sheer perversity of human nature. To him men seemed to be like children playing in the village square. One group said to the other: "Come on and let's play at weddings," and the others said, "We don't feel like being happy today." Then the first group said, "All right; come on and let's play at funerals," and the others said, "We don't feel like being sad today." They were what the Scots call contrary. No matter what was offered, they found a fault in it.

John came, living in the desert, fasting and despising food, isolated from the society of men; and they said of him, "The man is mad to cut himself off from human society and human pleasures like that." Jesus came, mixing with all kinds of people, sharing in their sorrows and their joys, companying with them in their times of joy; and they said of him, "He is a socialite; he is a party-goer; he is the friend of outsiders with whom no decent person would have anything to do." They called John's asceticism madness; and they called Jesus' sociability laxness of morals. They could find a ground of criticism either way.

The plain fact is that when people do not want to listen to the truth, they will easily enough find an excuse for not listening to it. They do not even try to be consistent in their criticisms; they will criticize the same person, and the same institution, from quite opposite grounds. If people are determined to make no response they will remain stubbornly unresponsive no matter what invitation is made to them. Grown men and women can be very like spoiled children who refuse to play no matter what the game is.

Then comes Jesus' final sentence in this section: "Wisdom is shown to be right by her deeds." The ultimate verdict lies not with the cantankerous and perverse critics but with events. The Jews might criticize John for his lonely isolation, but John had moved men's hearts to God as they had not been moved for centuries; the Jews might criticize Jesus for mixing too much in ordinary life and with ordinary people, but in him people were finding a new life and a new goodness and a new power to live as they ought and a new access to God.

It would be well if we were to stop judging people and churches by our own prejudices and perversities; and if we were to begin to give thanks for any person and any church who can bring people nearer to God, even if their methods are not the methods which suit us.

He Accent Of Heartbroken Condemnation ( Matthew 11:20-24)

11:20-24 Then he began to reproach the cities in which the most numerous of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. "Alas for you Chorazin! Alas for you Bethsaida! For, if the deeds of power which happened in you had happened in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes long ago. But I tell you, it will be easier for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you! And you Capernaum, is it not true that you have been lifted up to heaven? You will go down to Hell, for, if the deeds of power which happened in you had happened amongst the men of Sodom, they would have survived to this day. But I tell you--it will be easier for the land of the men of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."

When John came to the end of his gospel, he wrote a sentence in which he indicated how impossible it was ever to write a complete account of the life of Jesus: "But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." ( John 21:25). This passage of Matthew is one of the proofs of that saying.

Chorazin was probably a town an hour's journey north of Capernaum; Bethsaida was a fishing village on the west bank of Jordan, just as the river entered the northern end of the lake. Clearly the most tremendous things happened in these towns, and yet we have no account of them whatever. There is no record in the gospels of the work that Jesus did, and of the wonders he performed in these places, and yet they must have been amongst his greatest. A passage like this shows us how little we know of Jesus; it shows us--and we must always remember it--that in the gospels we have only the barest selection of Jesus' works. The things we do not know about Jesus far outnumber the things we do know.

We must be careful to catch the accent in Jesus' voice as he said this. The Revised Standard Version has it: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!" The Greek word for woe which we have translated "alas" is ouai ( G3759) ; and ouai expresses sorrowful pity at least as much as it does anger. This is not the accent of one who is in a temper because his self-esteem has been touched; it is not the accent of one who is blazingly angry because he has been insulted. It is the accent of sorrow, the accent of one who offered men the most precious thing in the world and saw it disregarded. Jesus' condemnation of sin is holy anger, but the anger comes, not from outraged pride, but from a broken heart.

What then was the sin of Chorazin, of Bethsaida, of Capernaum, the sin which was worse than the sin of Tyre and Sidon, and of Sodom and Gomorrah? It must have been very serious for again and again Tyre and Sidon are denounced for their wickedness ( Isaiah 23:1-18; Jeremiah 25:22; Jeremiah 47:4; Ezekiel 26:3-7; Ezekiel 28:12-22), and Sodom and Gomorrah were and are a byword for iniquity.

(i) It was the sin of the people who forgot the responsibilities of privilege. To the cities of Galilee had been given a privilege which had never come to Tyre and Sidon, or to Sodom and Gomorrah, for the cities of Galilee had actually seen and heard Jesus. We cannot condemn a man who never had the chance to know any better; but if a man who has had every chance to know the right does the wrong, then he does stand condemned. We do not condemn a child for that for which we would condemn an adult; we would not condemn a savage for conduct which we would condemn in a civilized man; we do not expect the person brought up in the handicaps of a city slum to live the life of a person brought up in a good and comfortable home. The greater our privileges have been, the greater is our condemnation if we fail to shoulder the responsibilities and accept the obligations which these privileges bring with them.

(ii) It was the sin of indifference. These cities did not attack Jesus Christ; they did not drive him from their gates; they did not seek to crucify him; they simply disregarded him. Neglect can kill as much as persecution can. An author writes a book; it is sent out for review; some reviewers may praise it, others may damn it; it does not matter so long as it is noticed; the one thing which will kill a book stone dead is if it is never noticed at all for either praise or blame.

An artist drew a picture of Christ standing on one of London's famous bridges. He is holding out his hands in appeal to the crowds, and they are drifting past without a second look; only one girl, a nurse, gives him any response. Here we have the modern situation in so many countries today. There is no hostility to Christianity; there is no desire to destroy it; there is blank indifference. Christ is relegated to the ranks of those who do not matter. Indifference, too, is a sin, and the worst of all, for indifference kills.

It does not burn a religion to death; it freezes it to death. It does not behead it; it slowly suffocates the life out of it.

(iii) And so we are face to face with one great threatening truth--it is also a sin to do nothing. There are sins of action, sins of deed; but there is also a sin of inaction, and of absence of deeds. The sin of Chorazin, of Bethsaida, and of Capernaum was the sin of doing nothing. Many a man's defence is: "But I never did anything." That defence may be in fact his condemnation.

The Accent Of Authority ( Matthew 11:25-27)

11:25-27 At that time Jesus said: "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and the clever, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for thus it was your will in your sight. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wishes to reveal his knowledge."

Here Jesus is speaking out of experience, the experience that the Rabbis and the wise men rejected him, and the simple people accepted him. The intellectuals had no use for him; but the humble welcomed him. We must be careful to see clearly what Jesus meant here. He is very far from condemning intellectual power; what he is condemning is intellectual pride. As Plummer has it, "The heart, not the head, is the home of the gospel." It is not cleverness which shuts out; it is pride. It is not stupidity which admits; it is humility. A man may be as wise as Solomon, but if he has not the simplicity, the trust, the innocence of the childlike heart, he shuts himself out.

The Rabbis themselves saw the danger of this intellectual pride; they recognized that often simple people were nearer God than the wisest Rabbi. They had a parable like this. Once Rabbi Berokah of Chuza was in the market of Lapet, and Elijah appeared to him. The Rabbi asked, "Is there among the people in this market-place anyone who is destined to share in the life of the world to come?" At first Elijah said there was none. Then he pointed at one man, and said that that man would share in the life of the world to come. Rabbi Berokah went to the man and asked him what he did. "I am a jailer," said the man, "and I keep men and women separate. At night I place my bed between the men and the women so that no wrong will be committed." Elijah pointed at two other men, and said that they too would share in the life to come. Rabbi Berokah asked them what they did. "We are merry-makers," they said. "When we see a man who is downcast, we cheer him up. Also when we see two people quarrelling with one another, we try to make peace between them." The men who did the simple things, the jailer who kept his charges in the right way, the men who brought a smile and peace, were in the kingdom.

Again, the Rabbis had a story like this: "An epidemic once broke out in Sura, but in the neighbourhood of Rab's residence (a famous Rabbi) it did not appear. The people thought that this was due to Rab's merits, but in a dream they were told ... that it happened because of the merits of a man who willingly lent hoe and shovel to someone who wished to dig a grave. A fire once broke out in Drokeret, but the neighbourhood of Rabbi Huna was spared. The people thought it was due to the merits of Rabbi Huna,...but they were told in a dream that it was due to the merits of a certain woman, who used to heat her oven and place it at the disposal of her neighbours." The man who lent his tools to someone in need, the woman who helped her neighbours as she could had no intellectual standing, but their simple deeds of human love had won them the approval of God. Academic distinctions are not necessarily distinctions in the sight of God.

"Still to the lowly soul

He doth himself impart,

And for his dwelling and his throne

Chooseth the pure in heart."

This passage closes with the greatest claim that Jesus ever made, the claim which is the centre of the Christian faith, that he alone can reveal God to men. Other men may be sons of God; he is The Son. John put this in a different way, when he tells us that Jesus said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" ( John 14:9). What Jesus says is this: "If you want to see what God is like, if you want to see the mind of God, the heart of God, the nature of God, if you want to see God's whole attitude to men--look at me!" It is the Christian conviction that in Jesus Christ alone we see what God is like; and it is also the Christian conviction that Jesus can give that knowledge to anyone who is humble enough and trustful enough to receive it.

The Accent Of Compassion ( Matthew 11:28-30)

11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are exhausted and weighted down beneath your burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Jesus spoke to men desperately trying to find God and desperately trying to be good, who were finding the tasks impossible and who were driven to weariness and to despair.

He says, "Come unto me all you who are exhausted." His invitation is to those who are exhausted with the search for the truth. The Greeks had said, "It is very difficult to find God, and, when you have found him, it is impossible to tell anyone else about him." Zophar demanded of Job: "Can you find out the deep things of God?" ( Job 11:7). It is Jesus' claim that the weary search for God ends in himself. W. B. Yeats, the great Irish poet and mystic, wrote: "Can one reach God by toil? He gives himself to the pure in heart. He asks nothing but our attention." The way to know God is not by mental search, but by giving attention to Jesus Christ, for in him we see what God is like.

He says, "Come unto me all you who are weighted down beneath your burdens." For the orthodox Jew religion was a thing of burdens. Jesus said of the Scribes and Pharisees: "They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders" ( Matthew 23:4). To the Jew religion was a thing of endless rules. A man lived his life in a forest of regulations which dictated every action of his life. He must listen for ever to a voice which said, "Thou shalt not."

Even the Rabbis saw this. There is a kind of rueful parable put into the mouth of Korah, which shows just how binding and constricting and burdensome and impossible the demands of the Law could be. "There was a poor widow in my neighbourhood who had two daughters and a field. When she began to plough, Moses (i.e. the Law of Moses) said, 'You must not plough with an ox and an ass together.' When she began to sow, he said, 'You must not sow your field with mingled seed.' When she began to reap and to make stacks of corn, he said, 'When you reap your harvest in your field, and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it' ( Deuteronomy 24:19), and 'you shall not reap your field to its very border' ( Leviticus 19:9). She began to thresh, and he said, 'Give me the heave-offering, and the first and second tithe.' She accepted the ordinance and gave them all to him. What did the poor woman then do? She sold her field, and bought two sheep, to clothe herself from their fleece, and to have profit from their young. When they bore their young, Aaron (i.e. the demands of the priesthood) came and said, 'Give me the first-born.' So she accepted the decision, and gave them to him. When the shearing time came, and she sheared them, Aaron came and said, 'Give me the first of the fleece of the sheep' ( Deuteronomy 18:4). Then she thought: 'I cannot stand up against this man. I will slaughter the sheep and eat them.' Then Aaron came and said, 'Give me the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach' ( Deuteronomy 18:3). Then she said, 'Even when I have killed them I am not safe from you. Behold they shall be devoted.' Then Aaron said, 'In that case they belong entirely to me' ( Numbers 18:14). He took them and went away and left her weeping with her two daughters." The story is a parable of the continuous demands that the Law made upon men in every action and activity of life. These demands were indeed a burden.

Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon our shoulders. The Jews used the phrase the yoke for entering into submission to. They spoke of the yoke of the Law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the Kingdom, the yoke of God. But it may well be that Jesus took the words of his invitation from something much nearer home than that.

He says, "My yoke is easy." The word "easy" is in Greek chrestos ( G5543) , which can mean well-fitting. In Palestine ox-yokes were made of wood; the ox was brought, and the measurements were taken. The yoke was then roughed out, and the ox wigs brought back to have the yoke tried on. The yoke was carefully adjusted, so that it would fit well, and not gall the neck of the patient beast. The yoke was tailor-made to fit the ox.

There is a legend that Jesus made the best ox-yokes in all Galilee, and that from all over the country men came to him to buy the best yokes that skill could make. In those days, as now, shops had their signs above the door; and it has been suggested that the sign above the door of the carpenter's shop in Nazareth may well have been: "My yokes fit well." It may well be that Jesus is here using a picture from the carpenter's shop in Nazareth where he had worked throughout the silent years.

Jesus says, "My yoke fits well." What he means is: "The life I give you is not a burden to gall you; your task is made to measure to fit you." Whatever God sends us is made to fit our needs and our abilities exactly.

Jesus says, "My burden is light." As a Rabbi had it: "My burden is become my song." It is not that the burden is easy to carry; but it is laid on us in love; it is meant to be carried in love; and love makes even the heaviest burden light. When we remember the love of God, when we know that our burden is to love God and to love men, then the burden becomes a song. There is an old story which tells how a man came upon a little boy carrying a still smaller boy, who was lame, upon his back. "That's a heavy burden for you to carry," said the man. "That's no' a burden," came the answer. "That's my wee brother." The burden which is given in love and carried in love is always light.

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

Bibliographical Information
Barclay, William. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dsb/​matthew-11.html. 1956-1959.

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 11:28

1. The Plea    - "come"

2. The Person    - "to me"

            not to Moses, Mohammed, or man

3. The People    - "all who labor" all, laboring under sin

4. The Promise    - "I will give you rest"

5. The Proposal    - "Take jy yoke on you"

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​gbc/​matthew-11.html. 2021.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Come unto me,.... Christ having signified, that the knowledge of God, and the mysteries of grace, are only to be come at through him; and that he has all things relating to the peace, comfort, happiness, and salvation of men in his hands, kindly invites and encourages souls to come unto him for the same: by which is meant, not a local coming, or a coming to hear him preach; for so his hearers, to whom he more immediately directed his speech, were come already; and many of them did, as multitudes may, and do, in this sense, come to Christ, who never knew him, nor receive any spiritual benefit by him: nor is it a bare coming under the ordinances of Christ, submission to baptism, or an attendance at the Lord's supper, the latter of which was not yet instituted; and both may be performed by men, who are not yet come to Christ: but it is to be understood of believing in Christ, the going of the soul to him, in the exercise of grace on him, of desire after him, love to him, faith and hope in him: believing in Christ, and coming to him, are terms synonymous, John 6:35. Those who come to Christ aright, come as sinners, to a full, suitable, able, and willing Saviour; venture their souls upon him, and trust in him for righteousness, life, and salvation, which they are encouraged to do, by this kind invitation; which shows his willingness to save, and his readiness to give relief to distressed minds. The persons invited, are not "all" the individuals of mankind, but with a restriction,

all ye that labour, and are heavy laden; meaning, not these who are labouring in the service of sin and Satan, are laden with iniquity, and insensible of it: these are not weary of sin, nor burdened with it; not do they want or desire any rest for their souls; but such who groan, being burdened with the guilt of sin upon their consciences, and are pressed down with the unsupportable yoke of the law, and the load of human traditions; and have been labouring till they are weary, in order to obtain peace of conscience, and rest for their souls, by the observance of these things, but in vain. These are encouraged to come to him, lay down their burdens at his feet, look to, and lay hold by faith on his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; when they should enjoy that true spiritual consolation, which could never be attained to by the works of the law.

And I will give you rest; spiritual rest here, peace of conscience, ease of mind, tranquillity of soul, through an application of pardoning grace, a view of free justification by the righteousness of Christ, and full atonement of sin by his sacrifice; and eternal rest hereafter, in Abraham's bosom, in the arms of Jesus, in perfect and uninterrupted communion with Father, Son, and Spirit. The Jews say y, that מנוחת תורה, "the law is rest"; and so explain

Genesis 49:15 of it: but a truly sensible sinner enjoys no rest, but in Christ; it is like Noah's dove, which could find no rest for the soles of its feet, until it returned to the ark; and they themselves expect perfect rest in the days of the Messiah, and call his world מנוחה, rest z.

y Tzeror Hammor, fol. 39. 3. z Tzeror Hammor, fol. 150. 2.

Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​geb/​matthew-11.html. 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Christ's Invitation to Burthened Souls.


      25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.   26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.   27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.   28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.   30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

      In these verses we have Christ looking up to heaven, with thanksgiving to his Father for the sovereignty and security of the covenant of redemption; and looking around him upon this earth, with an offer to all the children of men, to whom these presents shall come, of the privileges and benefits of the covenant of grace.

      I. Christ here returns thanks to God for his favour to those babes who had the mysteries of the gospel revealed to them (Matthew 11:25; Matthew 11:26). Jesus answered and said. It is called an answer, though no other words are before recorded but his own, because it is so comfortable a reply to the melancholy considerations preceding, and is aptly set in the balance against them. The sin and ruin of those woeful cities, no doubt, was a grief to the Lord Jesus; he could not but weep over them, as he did over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41); with this thought therefore he refreshes himself; and to make it the more refreshing, he puts it into a thanksgiving; that for all this, there is a remnant, though but babes, to whom the things of the gospel are revealed. Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall he be glorious. Note, We may take great encouragement in looking upward to God, when round about us we see nothing but what is discouraging. It is sad to see how regardless most men are of their own happiness, but it is comfortable to think that the wise and faithful God will, however, effectually secure the interests of his own glory. Jesus answered and said, I thank thee. Note, Thanksgiving is a proper answer to dark and disquieting thoughts, and may be an effectual means to silence them. Songs of praise are sovereign cordials to drooping souls, and will help to cure melancholy. When we have no other answer ready to the suggestions of grief and fear, we may have recourse to this, I thank thee, O Father; let us bless God that it is not worse with us than it is.

      Now in this thanksgiving of Christ, we may observe,

      1. The titles he gives to God; O Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Note, (1.) In all our approaches to God, by praise as well as by prayer, it is good for us to eye him as a Father, and to fasten on that relation, not only when we ask for the mercies we want, but when we give thanks for the mercies we have received. Mercies are then doubly sweet, and powerful to enlarge the heart in praise, when they are received as tokens of a Father's love, and gifts of a Father's hand; Giving thanks to the Father,Colossians 1:12. It becomes children to be grateful, and to say, Thank you, father, as readily as, Pray, father. (2.) When we come to God as a Father, we must withal remember, that he is Lord of heaven and earth; which obliges us to come to him with reverence, as to the sovereign Lord of all, and yet with confidence, as one able to do for us whatever we need or can desire; to defend us from all evil and to supply us with all good. Christ, in Melchizedec, had long since blessed God as the Possessor, or Lord of heaven and earth; and in all our thanksgivings for mercies in the stream, we must give him the glory of the all-sufficiency that is in the fountain.

      2. The thing he gives thanks for: Because thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and yet revealed them to babes. These things; he does not say what things, but means the great things of the gospel, the things that belong to our peace,Luke 19:42. He spoke thus emphatically of them, these things, because they were things that filled him, and should fill us: all other things are as nothing to these things.

      Note (1.) The great things of the everlasting gospel have been and are hid from many that were wise and prudent, that were eminent for learning and worldly policy; some of the greatest scholars and the greatest statesmen have been the greatest strangers to gospel mysteries. The world by wisdom knew not God,1 Corinthians 1:21. Nay, there is an opposition given to the gospel, by a science falsely so called,1 Timothy 6:20. Those who are most expert in things sensible and secular, are commonly least experienced in spiritual things. Men may dive deeply into the mysteries of nature and into the mysteries of state, and yet be ignorant of, and mistake about, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, for want of an experience of the power of them.

      (2.) While the wise and prudent men of the world are in the dark about gospel mysteries, even the babes in Christ have the sanctifying saving knowledge of them: Thou hast revealed them unto babes. Such the disciples of Christ were; men of mean birth and education; no scholars, no artists, no politicians, unlearned and ignorant men, Acts 4:13. Thus are the secrets of wisdom, which are double to that which is (Job 11:6), made known to babes and sucklings, that out of their mouth strength might be ordained (Psalms 8:2), and God's praise thereby perfected. The learned men of the world were not made choice of to be the preachers of the gospel, but the foolish things of the world (1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:10).

      (3.) This difference between the prudent and the babes is of God's own making. [1.] It is he that has hid these things from the wise and prudent; he gave them parts, and learning, and much of human understanding above others, and they were proud of that, and rested in it, and looked no further; and therefore God justly denies them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and then, though they hear the sound of the gospel tidings, they are to them as a strange thing. God is not the Author of their ignorance and error, but he leaves them to themselves, and their sin becomes their punishment, and the Lord is righteous in it. See John 12:39; John 12:40; Romans 11:7; Romans 11:8; Acts 28:26; Acts 28:27. Had they honoured God with the wisdom and prudence they had, he would have given them the knowledge of these better things; but because they served their lusts with them, he has hid their hearts from this understanding. [2.] It is he that has revealed them unto babes. Things revealed belong to our children (Deuteronomy 29:29), and to them he gives an understanding to receive these things, and the impressions of them. Thus he resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble,James 4:6.

      (4.) This dispensation must be resolved into the divine sovereignty. Christ himself referred it to that; Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. Christ here subscribes to the will of his Father in this matter; Even so. Let God take what ways he pleases to glorify himself, and make us of what instruments he pleases for the carrying on of his own work; his grace is his own, and he may give or withhold it as he pleases. We can give no reason why Peter, a fisherman, should be made an apostle, and not Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and a ruler of the Jews, though he also believed in Christ; but so it seemed good in God's sight. Christ said this in the hearing of his disciples, to show them that it was not for any merit of their own that they were thus dignified and distinguished, but purely from God's good pleasure; he made them to differ.

      (5.) This way of dispensing divine grace is to be acknowledged by us, as it was by our Lord Jesus, with all thankfulness. We must thank God, [1.] That these things are revealed; the mystery hid from ages and generations is manifested; that they are revealed, not to a few, but to be published to all the world. [2.] That they are revealed to babes; that the meek and humble are beautified with this salvation; and this honour put upon those whom the world pours contempt upon. [3.] It magnifies the mercy to them, that these things are hid from the wise and prudent: distinguishing favours are the most obliging. As Job adored the name of the Lord in taking away as well as in giving, so may we in hiding these things from the wise and prudent, as well as in revealing them unto babes; not as it is their misery, but as it is a method by which self is abased, proud thoughts brought down, all flesh silenced, and divine power and wisdom made to shine the more bright. See 1 Corinthians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 1:31.

      II. Christ here makes a gracious offer of the benefits of the gospel to all, and these are the things which are revealed to babes,Matthew 11:25; Matthew 11:25, c. Observe here,

      1. The solemn preface which ushers in this call or invitation, both to command our attention to it, and to encourage our compliance with it. That we might have strong consolation, in flying for refuge to this hope set before us, Christ prefixes his authority, produces his credentials we shall see he is empowered to make this offer.

      Two things he here lays before us, Matthew 11:27; Matthew 11:27.

      (1.) His commission from the Father: All things are delivered unto me of my Father. Christ, as God, is equal in power and glory with the Father; but as Mediator he receives his power and glory from the Father; has all judgment committed to him. He is authorized to settle a new covenant between God and man, and to offer peace and happiness to the apostate world, upon such terms as he should think fit: he was sanctified and sealed to be the sole Plenipotentiary, to concert and establish this great affair. In order to this, he has all power both in heaven and in earth, (Matthew 28:18; Matthew 28:18); power over all flesh (John 17:2); authority to execute judgment, John 5:22; John 5:27. This encourages us to come to Christ, that he is commissioned to receive us, and to give us what we come for, and has all things delivered to him for that purpose, by him who is Lord of all. All powers, all treasures are in his hand. Observe, The Father has delivered his all into the hands of the Lord Jesus; let us but deliver our all into his hand and the work is done; God has made him the great Referee, the blessed Daysman, to lay his hand upon us both; that which we have to do is to agree to the reference, to submit to the arbitration of the Lord Jesus, for the taking up of this unhappy controversy, and to enter into bonds to stand to his award.

      (2.) His intimacy with the Father: No man knoweth the Son but the Father, Neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son. This gives us a further satisfaction, and an abundant one. Ambassadors use to have not only their commissions, which they produce, but their instructions, which they reserve to themselves, to be made use of as there is occasion in their negotiations; our Lord Jesus had both, not only authority, but ability, for his undertaking. In transacting the great business of our redemption, the Father and the Son are the parties principally concerned; the counsel of peace is between them,Zechariah 6:13. It must therefore be a great encouragement to us to be assured, that they understood one another very well in this affair; that the Father knew the Son, and the Son knew the Father, and both perfectly (a mutual consciousness we may call it, between the Father and the Son), so that there could be no mistake in the settling of this matter; as often there is among men, to the overthrow of contracts, and the breaking of the measures taken, through their misunderstanding one another. The Son had lain in the bosom of the Father from eternity; he was à secretioribus--of the cabinet-council,John 1:18. He was by him, as one brought up with him (Proverbs 8:30), so that none knows the Father save the Son, he adds, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. Note, [1.] The happiness of men lies in an acquaintance with God; it is life eternal, it is the perfection of rational beings. [2.] Those who would have an acquaintance with God, must apply themselves to Jesus Christ; for the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines in the face of Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:6. We are obliged to Christ for all the revelation we have of God the Father's will and love, ever since Adam sinned; there is no comfortable intercourse between a holy God and sinful man, but in and by a Mediator, John 14:6.

      2. Here is the offer itself that is made to us, and an invitation to accept of it. After so solemn a preface, we may well expect something very great; and it is a faithful saying, and well worthy of all acceptation; words whereby we may be saved. We are here invited to Christ as our Priest, Prince, and Prophet, to be saved, and, in order to that, to be ruled and taught by him.

      (1.) We must come to Jesus Christ as our Rest, and repose ourselves in him (Matthew 11:28; Matthew 11:28), Come unto me all ye that labour. Observe, [1.] The character of the persons invited; all that labour, and are heavy laden. This is a word in season to him that is weary, Isaiah 50:4. Those who complain of the burthen of the ceremonial law, which was an intolerable yoke, and was made much more so by the tradition of the elders (Luke 11:46), let them come to Christ, and they shall be made easy; he came to free his church from this yoke, to cancel the imposition of those carnal ordinances, and to introduce a purer and more spiritual way of worship; but it is rather to be understood of the burthen of sin, both the guilt and the power of it. Note, All those, and those only, are invited to rest in Christ, that are sensible of sin as a burthen, and groan under it; that are not only convinced of the evil of sin, of their own sin, but are contrite in soul for it; that are really sick of their sins, weary of the service of the world and of the flesh; that see their state sad and dangerous by reason of sin, and are in pain and fear about it, as Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:18-20), the prodigal (Luke 15:17), the publican (Luke 18:13), Peter's hearers (Acts 2:37), Paul (Acts 9:4; Acts 9:6; Acts 9:9), the jailor (Acts 16:29; Acts 16:30). This is a necessary preparative for pardon and peace. The Comforter must first convince (John 16:8); I have torn and then will heal. [2.] The invitation itself: Come unto me. That glorious display of Christ's greatness which we had (Matthew 11:27; Matthew 11:27), as Lord of all, might frighten us from him, but see here how he holds out the golden sceptre, that we may touch the top of it and may live. Note, It is the duty and interest of weary and heavy laden sinners to come to Jesus Christ. Renouncing all those things which stand in opposition to him, or in competition with him, we must accept of him, as our Physician and Advocate, and give up ourselves to his conduct and government; freely willing to be saved by him, in his own way, and upon his own terms. Come and cast that burden upon him, under which thou art heavy laden. This is the gospel call, The Spirit saith, Come; and the bride saith, Come; let him that is athirst come; Whoever will, let him come.

      [3.] The blessing promised to those that do come: I will give you rest. Christ is our Noah, whose name signifies rest, for this same shall give us rest.Genesis 5:29; Genesis 8:9. Truly rest is good (Genesis 49:15), especially to those that labour and are heavy laden,Ecclesiastes 5:12. Note, Jesus Christ will give assured rest to those weary souls, that by a lively faith come to him for it; rest from the terror of sin, in a well-grounded peace of conscience; rest from the power of sin, in a regular order of the soul, and its due government of itself; a rest in God, and a complacency of soul, in his love. Psalms 11:6; Psalms 11:7. This is that rest which remains for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9), begun in grace, and perfected in glory.

      (2.) We must come to Jesus Christ as our Ruler, and submit ourselves to him (Matthew 11:29; Matthew 11:29). Take my yoke upon you. This must go along with the former, for Christ is exalted to be both a Prince and a Saviour, a Priest upon his throne. The rest he promises is a release from the drudgery of sin, not from the service of God, but an obligation to the duty we owe to him. Note, Christ has a yoke for our necks, as well as a crown for our heads, and this yoke he expects we should take upon us and draw in. To call those who are weary and heavy laden, to take a yoke upon them, looks like adding affliction to the afflicted; but the pertinency of it lies in the word my: "You are under a yoke which makes you weary: shake that off and try mine, which will make you easy." Servants are said to be under the yoke (1 Timothy 6:1), and subjects, 1 Kings 12:10. To take Christ's yoke upon us, is to put ourselves into the relation to servants and subjects to him, and then of conduct ourselves accordingly, in a conscientious obedience to all his commands, and a cheerful submission to all his disposals: it is to obey the gospel of Christ, to yield ourselves to the Lord: it is Christ's yoke; the yoke he has appointed; a yoke he has himself drawn in before us, for he learned obedience, and which he does by his Spirit draw in with us, for he helpeth our infirmities,Romans 8:26. A yoke speaks some hardship, but if the beast must draw, the yoke helps him. Christ's commands are all in our favour: we must take this yoke upon us to draw in it. We are yoked to work, and therefore must be diligent; we are yoked to submit, and therefore must be humble and patient: we are yoked together with our fellow-servants, and therefore must keep up the communion of saints: and the words of the wise are as goads, to those who are thus yoked.

      Now this is the hardest part of our lesson, and therefore it is qualified (Matthew 11:30; Matthew 11:30). My yoke is easy and my burden is light; you need not be afraid of it.

      [1.] The yoke of Christ's commands is an easy yoke; it is chrestos, not only easy, but gracious, so the word signifies; it is sweet and pleasant; there is nothing in it to gall the yielding neck, nothing to hurt us, but, on the contrary, must to refresh us. It is a yoke that is lined with love. Such is the nature of all Christ's commands, so reasonable in themselves, so profitable to us, and all summed up in one word, and that a sweet word, love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations, that are to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. It is easy to the new nature, very easy to him that understandeth,Proverbs 14:6. It may be a little hard at first, but it is easy afterwards; the love of God and the hope of heaven will make it easy.

      [2.] The burden of Christ's cross is a light burden, very light: afflictions from Christ, which befal us as men; afflictions for Christ, which befal us as Christians; the latter are especially meant. This burden in itself is not joyous, but grievous; yet as it is Christ's, it is light. Paul knew as much of it as any man, and he calls it a light affliction,2 Corinthians 4:17. God's presence (Isaiah 43:2), Christ's sympathy (Isaiah 73:9; Daniel 3:25), and especially the Spirit's aids and comforts (2 Corinthians 1:5), make suffering for Christ light and easy. As afflictions abound, and are prolonged, consolations abound, and are prolonged too. Let this therefore reconcile us to the difficulties, and help us over the discouragements, we may meet with, both in doing work and suffering work; though we may lose for Christ, we shall not lose by him.

      (3.) We must come to Jesus Christ as our Teacher, and set ourselves to learn of him, Matthew 11:29; Matthew 11:29. Christ has erected a great school, and has invited us to be his scholars. We must enter ourselves, associate with his scholars, and daily attend the instructions he gives by his word and Spirit. We must converse much with what he said, and have it ready to use upon all occasions; we must conform to what he did, and follow his steps, 1 Peter 2:21. Some make the following words, for I am meek and lowly in heart, to be the particular lesson we are required to learn from the example of Christ. We must learn of him to be meek and lowly, and must mortify our pride and passion, which render us so unlike to him. We must so learn of Christ as to learn Christ (Ephesians 4:20), for he is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide and Way, and All in All.

      Two reasons are given why we must learn of Christ.

      [1.] I am meek and lowly in heart, and therefore fit to teach you.

      First, He is meek, and can have compassion on the ignorant, whom others would be in a passion with. Many able teachers are hot and hasty, which is a great discouragement to those who are dull and slow; but Christ knows how to bear with such, and to open their understandings. His carriage towards his twelve disciples was a specimen of this; he was mild and gentle with them, and made the best of them; though they were heedless and forgetful, he was not extreme to mark their follies. Secondly, He is lowly in heart. He condescends to teach poor scholars, to teach novices; he chose disciples, not from the court, nor the schools, but from the seaside. He teaches the first principles, such things as are milk for babes; he stoops to the meanest capacities; he taught Ephraim to go, Hosea 11:3. Who teaches like him? It is an encouragement to us to put ourselves to school to such a Teacher. This humility and meekness, as it qualifies him to be a Teacher, so it will be the best qualification of those who are to be taught by him; for the meek will he guide in judgment,Psalms 25:9.

      [2.] You shall find rest to your souls. This promise is borrowed from Jeremiah 6:16, for Christ delighted to express himself in the language of the prophets, to show the harmony between the two Testaments. Note, First, Rest for the soul is the most desirable rest; to have the soul to dwell at ease. Secondly, The only way, and a sure way to find rest for our souls is, to sit at Christ's feet and hear his word. The way of duty is the way of rest. The understanding finds rest in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, and is there abundantly satisfied, finding that wisdom in the gospel which has been sought for in vain throughout the whole creation, Job 28:12. The truths Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. The affections find rest in the love of God and Jesus Christ, and meet with that in them which gives them an abundant satisfaction; quietness and assurance for ever. And those satisfactions will be perfected and perpetuated in heaven, where we shall see and enjoy God immediately, shall see him as he is, and enjoy him as he is ours. This rest is to be had with Christ for all those who learn of him.

      Well, this is the sum and substance of the gospel call and offer: we are here told, in a few words, what the Lord Jesus requires of us, and it agrees with what God said of him once and again. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.

Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​mhm/​matthew-11.html. 1706.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Powerful Persuasives

March 9th, 1916 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:27-28 .

I have preached to you, dear friends, several times from the words, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." There is such sweetness in the precept, such solace in the promise, that I could fain hope to preach from it many times more. But I have no intention just now to repeat what I have said in any former discourse, or to follow the same vein of thought that we have previously explored. This kindly and gracious invitation needs only to be held up in different lights to give us different subjects for admiration. That it flowed like an anthem from our Saviour's lips we perceive, in what connection if was spoken we may properly enquire. He had just made some important disclosures as to the covenant relations that existed between himself and God the Father. This interesting revelation of heavenly truth becomes the basis upon which he offers an invitation to the toiling and oppressed children of men, and assigns it as a reason why they should immediately avail themselves of his succour. Such is the line of discourse I propose now to follow. Kindly understand me that I want to deal with the hearts and consciences of the unconverted, and, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to plead with them that they may at once go to Jesus and find rest unto their souls. I shall require no stories or anecdotes, no figures or metaphors, to illustrate the urgent necessity of the sinner and the generous bounty of the Saviour. We will make it as plain as a pikestaff, and as sharp as a sword, with the intention of driving straight at our point. Time is precious, your time especially, for you may not have many days in which to seek the Lord. The matter is urgent. Oh! that every labouring, weary sinner here might at once come to Jesus and find that rest which the Saviour expresses himself as so willing to give! With all simplicity, then, let me explain to you tile way of salvation, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden."

The way to be saved is to come to Jesus. To come, to Jesus means to pray to him, to trust in him, to rely upon him. Each man who trusts in another may be said to come to that other for help. Thus to trust in Jesus is to come to him. In order to do this I must give up all reliance upon myself, or anything I could do or have done, or anything I do feel or can feel. Nor must I feel the slightest dependence upon anything that anyone else can do for me. I must cease from creature helps and carnal rites, to rest myself upon Jesus. That is what my Saviour means when he says, "Come unto me." The exhortation is very personal. "Come unto me," says he. He saith not, come to my ministers to consult them. nor come to my sacraments to observe them, nor come to my Bible to study its teaching interesting and advantageous as under some circumstances any or all of these counsels might be; but he invites us in the sweetest tune of friendship, saying, "Come to me." For a poor sinner this is the truest means of succour. Let him resort to the blessed Lord himself. To trust in a crucified Saviour is the way of salvation. Let him leave everything else and fly away to Christ, and look at his dear wounds as he hangs upon the cross. I am afraid many people are detained from Christ by becoming entangled in the meshes of doctrine. Some with heterodox doctrine, others with orthodox doctrine, content themselves. They think that they have advanced far enough They flatter their souls that they have ascertained the truth! But the fact is, it is not the truth as a letter which, saves anybody. It is the truth as a person it is Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life, whom we need to apprehend.

Our confidences must rest entirely upon him. "Come unto me," saith Jesus; Come unto me, and I will give you rest."

The exhortation is in the present tense. "Come" now; do not wait; do not tarry; do not lie at the pool of ordinances but come unto me; come now at once, immediately, just where you are, just as you are. Wherever the summons finds you, rise without parley, without an instant's delay. "Come." I know that the human mind is very ingenious, and it is especially perverse when its own destruction is threatened. By some means or other it will evade this simple call. "Surely," says one, "there must be something to do besides that." Nay, nothing else is to be done. No preliminaries are requisite. The whole way of salvation is to trust in Jesus. Trust him now. That done, you are saved. Rely upon his finished work. know that he has meditated on your behalf. Commit thy sinful self to his saving grace. A change of heart shall be yours. All that you need he will supply.

"There is life in a look at the crucified One; There is life at this moment for thee."

So sweet an invitation demands a spontaneous acceptance. Come just as you are. "Come unto me," saith Christ. He does not say, "Come when you have washed and cleansed yourself." Rather should you come to be cleansed. He does not say, "Come when you have clothed yourself and made yourself beautiful with good works." Come to be made beautiful in a better righteousness than you can wear. Come naked, and let him gird thee with fine linen, cover thee with silk, and deck thee with jewels. He does not say, "Come when your conscience is tender, come when your heart is penitent, when your soul is full of loathing for sin, and your mind is enlightened with knowledge and enlivened with joy. But ye that labour, ye that are heavy laden, he bids you to come as you are. Come oppressed with your burdens, begrimed with your labours, dispirited with your toils. If the load that bends you double to the earth be upon your shoulders? just come as you are. Take no plea in your mouth but this he bids you come. That shall suffice as a warrant for your coming, and a security for your welcome. If Jesus Christ bids you, who shall say you nay?

He puts the matter very exclusively. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden." Do nothing else but come to him. Do you want rest? Come to him for it. The old proverb hath it that betwixt two stools we come to the ground." Certainly, if we trust partly in Christ and partly in ourselves, we shall fall lower than the ground. We shall sink into hell. "Come unto me" is the whole gospel. "Come unto me." Mix nothing with it. Acknowledge no other obedience. Obey Christ, and him alone. Come unto me. You cannot go in two opposite directions. Let your tottering footsteps bend their way to him alone. Mix anything with him, and the possibility of your salvation is gone. Yours be the happy resolve:

"Nothing in my hands I bring: Simply to thy cross I cling."

This must be your cry if you are to be accepted at all. Come, then, ye that labour, ye horny-handed sons of toil. Come ye to Jesus. He invites you. Ye that stew and toil for wealth, ye merchants, with your many cares, labourers ye are. He bids you come. Ye students, anxious for knowledge, chary of sleep, burning out the midnight oil. Ye labour with exhausted brains; therefore, come. Come from struggling after fame. Ye pleasure seekers, come; perhaps there is no harder toil than the toil of the man who courts recreation and thinks he is taking his ease. Come, ye that labour in any form or fashion; come to Jesus to Jesus alone. And ye that are heavy laden; ye whose official duties are a burden; ye whose domestic cares are a burden; ye whose daily toils are a burden; ye whose shame and degradation are a burden, all ye that are heavy laden, come and welcome. If I attach no exclusive spiritual signification to these terms, it is because there is nothing in the chapter that would warrant such a restriction. Had Christ said, "Some of you that labour and are heavy laden may come," I would have said "some" too. Howbeit he has not said "some," but "all" "that labour and are heavy laden." It is wonderful how people twist this text about. They alter the sense by misquoting the words. They say, "Come ye that are weary and heavy laden." After this manner some have even intended to define a character rather than to describe condition, so they shut out some of those who labour from the kind invitation. But let the passage stand in its own simplicity. Let any sinner here, who can say, "I labour," though he cannot say spiritually labour, come on the bare warrant of the word as he finds it written here; he will not be disappointed of the mercy promised. Christ will not reject him. Himself hath said it, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." And any man that is heavy laden, even though it may not be a spiritual burden that oppresses him, yet if he comes heavy laden to Christ, he certainly shall find relief. That were a wonder without precedent or parallel, such as was never witnessed on earth throughout all the generations of men, that a soul should come to Jesus, be rebuffed, and told by him, "I never called you, I never meant you; you are not the character; you may not come." Hear, O heaven! witness, O earth! such thing was never heard of. No, nor ever shall it be heard of in time or in eternity. That any sinner should come to the Saviour by mistake is preposterous. That Jesus should say to him, "Go your way; I never called for you," is incredible. How can ye thus libel the sinner's friend? Come, ye needy come, ye helpless come, ye simple come, ye penitent come, ye impenitent come, ye who are the very vilest of the vile. If you do but come, Jesus Christ will receive you, welcome you, rejoice over you, and verify to you his thrice blessed promise, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out."

Now to the tug of war. It shall be my main endeavour to press the invitation upon you, my good friends, by the arguments which the Saviour used.

Kindly look at the text. Read the words for yourselves. Do you not see that the reason why you are solemnly bidden to come to Christ is because:

I. HE IS THE APPOINTED MEDIATOR.

"All things are delivered unto me of my Father." God, even the Father, your Creator, against whom you have transgressed, has appointed our Lord Jesus Christ to be the way of access for a sinner to himself. He is no amateur Saviour. He has not thrust himself into the place officiously. He is officially delegated. In times of distress, every man is at liberty to do his best for the public welfare; but the officer commissioned by his Sovereign is armed with a supreme right to give counsel or to exercise command. Away there in Bengal, if there are any dying of famine, and I have rice, I may distribute it of my own will at my own charge. But the commissioner of the district has a special warranty which I do not posses; he has a function to discharge; it is his business, his vocation; he is authorised by the Government, and responsible to the Government to do it. So the Lord Jesus Christ has not only a deep compassion of heart for the necessities of men, but he has God's authority to support him. The Father delivered all things into his hands, and appointed him to be a Saviour. All that Christ teaches has this superlative sanction. He teaches you nothing of his own conjecture. "What I have heard of the Father," he saith, "that reveal I unto you." The gospel is not a scheme of his suggestion. He reveals it fresh from the heart of God. Remember that the promises Christ makes are not merely his surmises, but they are promises with the stamp of the court of heaven upon them. Their truth is guaranteed by God. It is not possible they should fail. Sooner might heaven and earth pass away than one word of his fall flat to the ground. Your Saviour, O sinner your only Saviour is one whose teachings, whose invitations, and whose promises have the seal royal of the King of kings upon them. What more do you want? Moreover, the Father has given all things into his hands in the sense of government. Christ is king everywhere. God has appointed Christ to be a mediatorial prince over all of us I say over us all not merely over those who accept his sovereignty, but even over the ungodly. He hath given him power over all flesh, that he may give eternal life to as many as he has given him. It is of no use your rebelling against Christ, and saying, "We will not have him" the old cry, "We will not have this man to reign over us." How read ye in the second Psalm "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. "Christ is supreme. You will have either to submit to his sceptre willingly, or else to be broken by his iron rod like a potter's vessel. Which shall it be? Thou must either bow or be broken; make your choice. You must bend or break. God help you wisely to resolve and gratefully relent. Has the Father appointed Christ to stand between him and his sinful creatures? Has he put the government upon his shoulders, and given him a name called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty, the everlasting King? Is he Emmanuel, God with us, in God's stead? With what reverence are we bound to receive him!

Moreover, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, of mercy and goodness, are laid up in Christ. You recollect when Pharaoh had corn to sell in Egypt, what reply he made to all who applied to him, "Go to Joseph." It would have been no use saying, "Go to Joseph," if Joseph had not the keys of the garner; but he had, and there was no garner that could be opened in Egypt unless Joseph lent the key. In like manner, all the garners of mercy are under the lock and key of Jesus Christ, "who openeth, and no man shutteth; who shutteth, and no man openeth." When you require any bounty or benefit of God, you must repair to Jesus for it. The Father has put all power into his hands. He has committed the entire work of mercy to his Son, that through him as the appointed mediator, all blessings should be dispensed to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. "Now, sirs, do you want to be saved? I charge you to say whether you do or not; for if you care not for salvation, why should I labour among you? If you choose your own ruin, you need no counsel; you will make sure of it by your own neglect. But if you want salvation, Christ is the only authorized person in heaven and earth who can save you. "There is no other name, given among men whereby we must be saved." The Father hath delivered all things into his keeping. He is the authorised Saviour. "Come unto me, then, "all ye that labour and are heavy laden." This argument is further developed by another consideration: Christ is:

II. A WELL-FURNISHED MEDIATOR,

"All things are delivered unto me," he said, "of my Father. "Sum up all that the sinner wants, and you will find him able to supply you with all. You want pardon; it is delivered unto Christ of the Father. You want change of heart; it is delivered unto Christ of the Father. You want righteousness in which you may be accepted; Christ has it. You want to be purged from the love of sin; Christ can do it. You want wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It is all in Christ. You are afraid that if you start on the road to heaven, you cannot hold on. Persevering grace is in Christ. You think you will never be perfect; but perfection is in Christ, for all believers, being saints of God and servants of Christ, are complete in him. Between hell-gate and heaven-gate there is nothing a sinner can need that is not treasured up in his blessed person. "It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell." He is "full of grace and truth." Oh! sinner, I wish I could constrain you to feel as I do now, that had I never come to Christ before, I must come to him now, just now. Directly I understand that:

"Thou, O Christ, art all I want, More than all in thee I find."

Why, then, should I not come? Is it because I want something before I come? Make the question your own. Where are you going to seek it? All things are delivered unto Christ. To whom should you go for ought you crave? Is there another who can aid you when Christ is in possession of all? Do you want a tender conscience? Come to Christ for it. Do you want to feel the guilt of your sin? Come to Christ to be made sensitive to its shame. Are you just what you ought not to be? Come to Christ to be made what you ought to be, for everything is in Christ. Is there any, thing that can be obtained elsewhere and brought to him? The invitation to you is founded upon the explanation that accompanies it. "All things are delivered unto me of my Father"; therefore, Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The argument is so exclusive, that it only wants a willing mind to make it welcome. Only let God the Holy Spirit bless the word, and sinners will come to Christ, for unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Now note the next argument. Come to Christ, ye labouring ones, because:

III. HE IS AN INCONCEIVABLY GREAT MEDIATOR.

Where do I get that? Why, from this that no man knows him but the Father. So great is he, so good, so full of all manner of precious store for needy sinners. No man knows him but the Father. He is too excellent for our puny understanding to estimate his worth. None but the infinite God can comprehend his value as a Saviour. Has anyone here been saying, "Christ cannot save me; I am such a big sinner"? You don't know him, my friend you don't know him. You are measuring him according to your little insignificant notions. High as the heavens are above the earth so high are his ways above your ways, and his thoughts than your thoughts. You don't know him, sinner, and no one does know him but his Father. Why, some of us who have been saved by him, thought when we saw the blessed mystery of his substitutionary sacrifice, that we knew all about him; but we have found that he grows upon our view the nearer we approach, and the more we contemplate him. Some of you have now been Christians for thirty or forty years, and you know much more of him than you used to do; but you do not know him yet; your eyes are dazzled by his brightness; you do not know him. And the happy spirits before the throne who have been there, some of them, three or four thousand years, have hardly begun to spell the first letter of his name. He is too grand and too good for them to comprehend. I believe that it will be, the growing wonder in eternity to find out how precious a Christ, how powerful, how immutable in a word, how divine a Christ he is. in whom we have trusted. Only the infinite can understand the infinite. "God only knows the love of God,"and only the Father understands the Son. Oh! I wish I had a week in which to talk on this, instead of a few minutes! You want a great Saviour? Well, here he is. Nobody can depict him, or describe him, or even imagine him, except the infinite God himself. Come, then, poor sinner, sunken up to your neck in crime, black as hell come unto him. Come, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and prove him to be your Saviour. The fact that no one knows how great a Saviour he is except his Father may encourage you. Now for another argument. Come to him because:

IV. HE IS AN INFINITELY WISE MEDIATOR.

He is a mediator who understands both persons on whose behalf he mediates. He understands you. He has summed and reckoned you up, and he has made you out to be a heap sin and misery, and nothing else. The glory of it is that he understands God, whom you have offended, for it is written, "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son," and he knows the Father. Oh! what a mercy that is to have one to go before God for me who knows him intimately. He knows his Father's will; he knows his Father's wrath. No man knows it but himself. He has suffered it. He knows his Father's love. He alone can feel it such love as God felt for sinners. He knows how his Father's wrath has been turned away by his precious blood; he knows the Father as a Judge whose anger no longer burns against those for whom the Atonement has been made. He knows the Father's heart. He knows the Father's secret purposes. He knows the Father's will is that whosoever seeth the Son and believeth on him shall have everlasting life. He knows the decrees of God, and yet he says, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give, you rest." There is nothing in that contrary to the decrees of God; for Jesus knows what the decrees are, and he would not speak in contradiction to them. He knows God's requirements. Sinner, whatever it is God requires of you, Christ knows what they are, and he is ready to meet them. "The law is holy, and just, and good," and Jesus knows it, for the, law is in his heart. Justice is very stern, and Jesus knows it, for Jesus has felt the edge of the sword of justice, and knows all about it. He is fully equipped for the discharge of his mediatorial office, and those that put their trust in him shall find that he will bear them through. Often, when a prisoner at the bar has a barrister who understands his work, and is perfectly competent for the defense, his friends say to him, "Your case is safe, for if there is a man in England who can get you through, it is that man." But my Master is an advocate who never lost a case. He has a plea at the throne of God that never failed yet. Give him oh! give him your cause to plead, nor doubt the Father's grace. Poor sinner, he is so wise an advocate that you may well come to him, and he will give you rest. But I must not weary you, although there is a fulness of matter on which I might enlarge. With one other argument I conclude:

V. HE IS AN INDISPENSABLE MEDIATOR.

The only mediator, so the text says. "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son." Christ knows the Father; no one else knows him, save the Son. There is none other that can approach unto God. It is Christ for your Saviour, or no Saviour at all. Salvation is in no other; and if you will not have Christ, neither can you have salvation. Observe how that is. It is certain that no man knows God except Christ. It is equally certain that no man can come, to God except by Christ. He says it peremptorily; "No man cometh to the Father but by me." Not less certain is it that no man can please the Father except through Christ, for "without faith it is impossible to please him." No faith is worth having except the grace that is founded and based upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and him only. Oh! then, souls, since you are shut up to it by a blessed necessity, say at once, "I will to the gracious Prince approach, and take Jesus to be my all in all. "If I might hope you would do this early, I could go back to my home and retire to my bed, praising God for the work that was done, and the result that was achieved. Let us reiterate again and again the gospel we have to declare, the very essence of the gospel it is which we proclaim. Trust your souls with Jesus, and your souls are saved. He suffered in the room, and place, and stead of all that trust him. If you rely upon him by an act of simple faith, the simplest act in all the world, immediately you so rely you are forgiven, your transgressions are blotted out for his name's sake. He stands in spirit among us at this good hour, and says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden"; and he gives you these arguments, which ought to convince you. I pray they may. He is an authorized Saviour, and a well-furnished Saviour. He is the friend of God, and the friend of man. God grant you may accept him, and find the boon which he alone can bestow. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​spe/​matthew-11.html. 2011.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

The Meek and Lowly One and Rest, Rest

The Meek and Lowly One

July 31st, 1859

by

C. H. SPURGEON

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you

rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in

heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my

burden is light."-- Matthew 11:28-30 .

The single sentence which I have selected for my text consists of these

words:--"I am meek and lowly in heart." These words might be taken to

have three distinct bearings upon the context. They may be regarded as

being the lesson to be taught: "Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in

heart." One great lesson of the gospel is to teach us to be meek--to put

away our high and angry spirits, and to make us lowly in heart.

Peradventure, this is the meaning of the passage-- that it we will but

come to Christ's school, he will teach us the hardest of all lessons,--how

to be meek and lowly in heart. Again; other expositors might consider

this sentence to signify, that is the only Spirit in which a man can learn

of Jesus,-- the Spirit which is necessary if we would become Christ's

scholars. We can learn nothing, even of Christ himself, while we hold

our heads up with pride, or exalt ourselves with self-confidence. We

must be meek and lowly in heart, otherwise we are totally unfit to be

taught by Christ. Empty vessels may be filled; but vessels that are full

already can receive no more. The man who knows his own emptiness

can receive abundance of knowledge, and wisdom, and grace, from

Christ; but he who glories in himself is not in a fit condition to receive

anything from God. I have no doubt that both of these interpretations

are true, and might be borne out by the connection. It is the lesson of

Christ's school--it is the spirit of Christ's disciples. But I choose, rather,

this morning, to regard these words as being a commendation of the

Teacher himself. "Come unto me and learn; for I am meek and lowly in

heart." As much as to say, "I can teach, and you will not find it hard to

learn of me."

In fact, the subject of this morning's discourse is briefly this: the

gentle, lovely character of Christ should be a high and powerful inducement

to sinners to come to Christ. I intend so to use it: first of all, noticing

the two qualities which Christ here claims for himself. He is "meek;" and

then he is "lowly in heart;" and after we have observed these two things, I

shall come to push the conclusion home. Come unto him, all ye that are

labouring and are heavy laden; come unto him, and take his yoke upon you;

for he is meek and lowly in heart.

I. First, then, I am to consider THE FIRST QUALITY WHICH JESUS CHRIST

CLAIMS. He declares that he is "MEEK."

Christ is no egotist; he takes no praise to himself. If ever he utters a

word in self-commendation, it is not with that object; it is with another

design, namely that he may entice souls to come to him. Here, in order

to exhibit this meekness, I shall have to speak of him in several ways.

1. First, Christ is meek, as opposed to the ferocity of spirit manifested

by zealots and bigots. Take, for a prominent example of the opposite of

meekness, the false prophet Mahomet. The strength of his cause lies in

the fact, that he is not meek. He presents himself before those whom he

claims as disciples, and says, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of

me, for I am neither meek, nor lowly in heart; I will have no patience

with you; there is my creed, or there is the scimitar-- death or

conversion, whichever you please." The moment the Ma- hometan

religion withdrew that very forcible argument of decapitation or

impalement, it stayed in its work of conversion, and never progressed;

for the very strength of the false prophet lays in the absence of any

meekness.

How opposite this is to Christ! Although he hath a right to demand man's

love and man's faith, yet he comes not into the world to demand it with fire

and sword. His might is under persuasion; his strength is quiet forbearance,

and patient endurance; his mightiest force is the sweet attraction of

compassion and love. He knoweth nothing of the ferocious hosts of Mahomet;

he bids none of us draw our sword to propagate the faith, but saith, "Put up

thy sword into its scabbard; they that take the sword shall perish by the

sword." "My kingdom is not of this world, else might my servants fight."

Nay, Mahomet is not the only instance we can bring; but even good men are

subject to the like mistakes. They imagine that religion is to be spread by

terror and thunder. Look at John himself, the most lovely of all the

disciples: he would call fire from heaven on a village of Samaritans,

because they rejected Christ. Hark to his hot enquiry,--"Wilt thou that we

command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" Christ's disciples

were to him something like the sons of Zeruiah to David; or when

Shimei mocked David, the sons of Zeruiah said, "Why should this dead

dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his

head." But David meekly said, "What have I to do with you, ye sons of

Zeruiah? "--and put them aside. He had something of the spirit of his

Master; he knew that his honour was not then to be defended by sword

or spear. O blessed Jesus! thou hast no fury in thy spirit; when men

rejected thee thou didst not draw the sword to smite, but, on the

contrary, thou didst yield thine eyes to weeping. Behold your Saviour,

disciples, and see whether he was not meek. He had long preached in

Jerusalem without effect, and at last he knew that they were ready to

put him to death; but what saith he, as, standing on the top of the hill,

he beheld the city that had rejected his gospel?

Did he invoke a curse upon it? Did he suffer one word of anger to leap from

his burning heart? Ah! no; there were flames, but they were those of love;

there were scalding drops, but they were those of grief. He beheld the city,

and wept over it, and said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I

have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens

under her wings, and ye would not." And for a further proof of the

absence of all uncharitableness, observe that, even when they drove the

nails into his blessed hands, yet he had no curse to breathe upon them,

but his dying exclamation was, "Father, forgive them, for they know

not what they do." O sinners! see what a Christ it is that we bid you

serve. No angry bigot, no fierce warrior, claiming your unwilling faith:

he is a tender Jesus. Your rejection of him has made his bowels yearn

over you; and though you abhor his gospel, he has pleaded for you,

saying, "Let him alone yet another year, till I dig about him;

peradventure he may yet bring forth fruit." What a patient master is he!

Oh! will you not serve him!

2. But the idea is not brought out fully, unless we take another sense.

There is a sternness which cannot be condemned. A Christian man will

often feel him self called to bear most solemn and stern witness against

the error of his times, But Christ's mission, although it certainly did

testify against the sin of his times, yet had a far greater reference to the

salvation of the souls of men. To show the idea that I have in my own

mind, which I have not yet brought out, I must picture Elijah. What a

man was he! His mission was to be the bold unflinching advocate of the

right, and to bear a constant testimony against the wickedness of his

age. And how boldly did he speak! Look at him: how grand the picture!

Can you not conceive him on that memorable day, when he met Ahab,

and Ahab said, "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" Do you mark

that mighty answer which Elijah gave him, while the king trembles at

his words. Or, better still, can you picture the scene when Elijah said,

"Take you two bullocks, ye priests, and build an altar, and see this day,

whether God be God or Baal be God." Do you see him as he mocks the

worshippers of Baal, and with a biting irony says to them, "Cry aloud,

for he is a god." And do you see him in the last grand scene, when the

fire has come down from heaven, and consumed the sacrifice, and

licked up the water, and burned the altar? Do you hear him cry, "Take

the prophets of Baal; let not one escape?" Can you see him in his might

hewing them in pieces by the brook, and making their flesh a feast for

the fowls of heaven? Now, you cannot picture Christ in the same

position He had the stern qualities of Elijah, but he kept them, as it

were, behind, hike sleeping thunder, that must not as yet waken and lift

up its voice. There were some rumblings of time tempest, it is true,

when he spoke so sternly to the Sadducees, and Scribes, and Pharisees;

those woes were like murmurings of a distant storm, but it was a distant

storm; whereas, Elijah lived in the midst of the whirlwind itself, and

was no still small voice, but was as the very fire of God, and hike the

chariot in which he mounted to heaven-- fit chariot for such a fiery

man! Christ here stands in marked contrast. Picture him in somewhat a

like position to Elijah with Ahab. There is Jesus left alone with an

adulterus woman. She has been taken in the very fact. Her accusers are

present, ready to bear witness against her.

By a simple sentence he emptied the room of every witness; convicted by

their conscience they all retire. And now what does Christ say? The woman

might have lifted her eyes, and have looked at him, and said, "Hast thou

found me O mine enemy? "--for she might have regarded Christ as the enemy of

so base a sin as that which she had committed against her marriage bed.

But instead thereof Jesus said, "Doth no man condemn thee? Neither do

I condemn thee; go and sin no more." Oh, how different from the

sternness or Elijah! Sinners! if I had to preach Elijah as your Saviour I

should feel that I had a hard task, for you might throw it in my teeth--

"Shall we come to Elijah? He will call fire from heaven on us, as he did

upon the captains and their fifties. Shall we come to Elijah? Surely he

will slay us, for we have been like the prophets of Baal?" Nay, sinners;

but I bid you come to Christ. Come to him, who, although he hated sin

more than Elijah could do, yet nevertheless, loved the sinner--who,

though he would not share iniquity, yet spares the transgressors, and

has no words but those of love and mercy, and peace and comfort, for

those of you who will now come and put your trust in him.

I must put in a word here by way of caveat. I am very far from

imputing, for a single moment, any blame to Elijah. He was quite right.

None but Elijah could have fulfilled the mission which his Master gave

him. He needed to be all he was, and certainly not less stern; but Elijah

was not sent to be a Saviour; he was quite unfit for that. He was sent to

administer a stern rebuke. He was God's iron tongue of threatening, not

God's silver tongue of mercy. Now, Jesus is the silver tongue of grace.

Sinners! hear the sweet bells ringing, as Jesus now invites you to come

unto him. "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden;' for I

am not stern, I am not harsh, I am no fire- killing Elijah; I am the meek,

tender, lowly-hearted Jesus."

3. Christ is meek in heart. To exhibit this quality in another light, call

to your minds Moses. Moses was the meekest of men; and yet Christ far

excels Moses in his meekness. Around Moses there seems to be a hedge, a ring

of fire. The character of Moses is like Mount Sinai; it hath bounds set

about it, so that one cannot draw near unto him. Moses was not an

approachable person, he was quiet and meek, and tender, but there was a

sacred majesty about the King in Jeshurun that hedged his path, so that we

cannot imagine the people making themselves familiar with him. Whoever read

of Moses sitting down upon a well, and talking to a harlot like the woman of

Samaria? Whoever heard a story of a Magdalene washing the feet of Moses? Can

ye conceive Moses eating bread with a sinner, or passing under a sycamore

tree, and calling Zaccheus, the thievish publican, and bidding him come

down? There is a kind of stately majesty in Moses, no mere affectation of

standing alone, but a loneliness of superior worth. Men looked up to him as

to some cloud-capped mountain, and despaired of being able to enter into

the lofty circle, within which they might have communed with him.

Moses always had in spirit what he once had in visible token; he had a

glory about his brow, and before he could converse with men he must

wear a veil, for they could not bear to look upon the face of Moses. But

how different is Jesus! He is a man among men; wherever he goes no

one is afraid to speak to him. You scarcely meet with any one who

dares not approach him. There is a poor woman, it is true, who hath the

flux, and she fears to come near him, because she is ceremonially

unclean; but even she can come behind him in the press, and touch the

hem of his garment, and virtue goeth Out of him. Nobody was afraid of

Jesus.

The mothers brought their little babes to him: whoever heard of

their doing that to Moses? Did ever babe get a blessing of Moses? But

Jesus was all meekness--the approachable man, feasting with the

wedding guests, sitting down with sinners, conversing with the unholy

and the unclean, touching the leper, and making himself at home with

all men. Sinners! this is the one we invite you to--this homely man,

Christ. Not to Moses, for you might say, "He hath horns of light, and

how shall I draw near to his majesty ! He is bright perfection--the very

lightnings of Sinai rest upon his brow." But sinners, ye cannot say that

of Christ. He is as holy as Moses--as great, and far greater, but he is still

so homely that ye may come to him. Little children, ye may put your

trust in him. Ye may say your little prayer,

"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,

Look on me, a little Child;

Pity my simplicity,

Suffer me to come to thee."

He will not cast you away, or think you have intruded on him. Ye

harlots, ye drunkards, ye feasters, ye wedding guests, ye may all come;

"This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." He is "meek and

lowly in heart." That gives, I think, a still fuller and broader sense to the

term, "meek."

4. But yet, to push the term a little further. Christ on earth was a king;

but there as nothing about him of the exclusive pomp of kings, which

excludes the common people from their society. Look at the Eastern

king Ahasuerus, sitting on his throne. He is considered by his people as

a superior being. None may come in unto the king, unless he is called

for. Should he venture to pass the circle, the guards will slay him,

unless the king stretches out the golden sceptre. Even Esther, his

beloved wife, is afraid to draw near, and must put her life in her hand, if

she comes into the presence of the king uncalled. Christ is a king; but

where his pomp? Where the Janitor that keeps his door, and thrusts

away the poor? Where the soldiers that ride on either side of his chariot

to screen the monarch from the gaze of poverty? See thy King, O Sion!

He comes, he comes in royal pomp! Behold, Judah, behold thy King

cometh! But how cometh he? "Meek and lowly, riding upon an ass, and

upon a colt, the foal of an ass." And who are his attendants? See, the

young children, boys and girls! They cry, "Hosannah! Hosannah!

Hosannah!" And who are they that wait upon him? His poor disciples.

They pull the branches from the trees; they cast their garments in the

street, and there he rideth on-- Judah's royal King. His courtiers are the

poor; his pomp is that tribute which grateful hearts delight to offer. O

sinners, will you not come to Christ? There is nothing in him to keep

you back. You need not say, like Esther did of old," I will go in unto

the king, if I perish I perish. Come, and welcome! Come, and welcome!

Christ is more ready to receive you than you are to come to him. Come

to the King! "What is thy petition, and what is thy request? It shall be

done unto thee." If thou stayest away, it is not because he shuts the

door, it is because thou wilt not come. Come, filthy, naked, ragged,

poor, lost, ruined, come, just as thou art. Here he stands, like a fountain

freely opened for all comers. "Whosoever will, let him come and take

of the waters of life freely."

5. I will give you but one more picture to set forth the meekness of

Christ, and I think I shall not have completed the story without it. The

absence of all selfishness from the character of Christ, makes one

ingredient of this precious quality of his meekness. You remember the

history of Jonah. Jonah is sent to prophecy against Nineveh; but he is

selfish. He will not go for he shall get no honour by it. He does not

want to go so long a journey for so small a price. He will not go. He

will take a ship and go to Tarshish. He is thrown out into the sea,

swallowed by a fish, and vomited by it upon dry land. He goes away to

Nineveh, and not wanting courage, he goes through its streets, crying,

"Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." That one man's

earnest cry moves the city from one end to the other. The king

proclaims a first; the people mourn in sackcloth and confess their sins.

God sends them tidings of mercy, and they are spared. But what will

Jonah do? Oh, tell it not, ye heavens; let none hear it--that ever a

prophet of God could do the like! He sits himself down, and he is angry

with God. And why his anger? Because, says he, "God has not

destroyed that city." If God had destroyed the city he would have

shouted over the ruins, because his reputation would have been safe;

but now that the city is saved, and his own reputation for a prophet

tarnished, he must needs sit down in anger. But Christ is the very

reverse of this. Sinners! Christ does thunder at you sometimes, but it is

always that he may bring you to repentance. He does take Jonah's cry,

and utter it far more mightily than Jonah could; he does warn you that

there is a fire that never can be quenched, and a worm that dieth not;

but if you turn to him, will he sit down and be angry? Oh! no; methinks

I see him. There you come poor prodigals; your father falls upon your

neck and kisses you, and you are accepted, and a feast is made. Here

comes the elder brother, Jesus. What does he say? Is he angry because

you are saved? Ah! no! "My Father," saith he, "my younger brother

have all come home, and I love them; they shall share my honours; they

shall sit upon my throne; they shall share my heaven." "Where I am,

there they shall be also." I will take them into union with myself, and as

they have wasted their inheritance, all that I have shall be their's for

ever. Oh! come home, prodigal, there is no angry brother and no angry

father. Come back, come back, my brother, my wandering brother, I

invite thee; for Jesus is rejoiced to receive thee. Do you not see, then,

that the meekness of Christ is a sweet and blessed reason why we

should come to him?

II. The second virtue which Christ claims for himself, is LOWLINESS OF

HEART.

When I looked this passage out in the original, I half wondered how it

was that Christ found such a sweet word for the expression of his

meaning; for the Greeks, do not know much about humility, and they

have not a very good word to set forth this idea of lowliness of heart. I

find that if this passage stood in another connection, the word might

even be interpreted "degraded, debased," for the Greeks thought that if

a man was humble, he degraded himself--that if he stooped, he debased

himself right out. "Well," says Christ, "if you think so, so be it, and he

takes the word. The word means, "near the ground." So is Christ's heart.

We cannot be so low that he will not stoop to reach us. I would just set

out the lowliness of Christ's heart in this way. Christ is "lowly in heart;"

that is, he is willing to receive the poorest sinner in the world. The

pharisee thought that the keeper of the gate of heaven would admit only

the rich, and not the poor. Mark Christ's teaching. There were two came

to the gate once upon a time; one was clothed in purple and fine linen,

and fared sumptuously every day; he knocked, and thought that full

sure he must enter; but "in hell he lift up his eyes being in torments."

There came another, borne on angel's wings. It was a beggar, whose

many sores the dogs had licked and he had not so much as to knock at

the gate, for the angel's carried him straight away into the very centre of

paradise, and laid him in Abraham's bosom. Jesus Christ is willing to

receive beggars into his bosom. Kings, you know, condescend, when

they permit even the rich to be presented to them, and the kissing of a

monarch's hand is something very wonderful indeed, but to have the

kisses of his lips who is the King of kings, is no uncommon thing for

men that are shivering in rags, or that are sick upon miserable beds, in

dingy attics. Christ is "lowly in heart;" he goes with what men call the

vulgar herd; he hath nothing of affected royalty about him--he hath a

nobler royalty than that, the royalty that is too proud to think anything

of a stoop, that can only measure itself by its own intrinsic excellence,

and not by its official standing. He receiveth the lowest, the meanest,

the vilest, for he is "lowly in heart." If I have among my congregation

some of the poorest of the poor, let them come away to Christ, and let

them not imagine that their poverty need keep them back. I am always

delighted when I see a number of women here from the neighbouring

workhouse. I bless God that there are some in the workhouse that are

willing to come; and though they have sometimes been put to a little

inconvenience by so doing, yet I have known them sooner give up their

dinner than give up coming to hear the Word. God bless the workhouse

women, and may they be led to Christ, for be is meek and lowly in heart, and

will not reject them. I must confess also, I like to see a smock frock here

and there in the midst of the congregation. Oh! what a mercy, that in the

palace of the Great King there shall be found these workmen, these blouses,

They shall be made partakers of the kingdom of God. He makes no difference

between prince and pauper; he takes men to heaven just as readily from the

workhouse, as from the palace.

Further, this lowliness of heart in Christ leads him to receive the most

ignorant as well as the learned to himself. I know that sometimes poor

ignorant people get a notion in their heads that they cannot be saved,

because they cannot read and do not know much. I have sometimes,

especially in country villages, received this answer, when I have been

asking anything about personal religion. "Well, you know, sir, I never

had any learning." Oh! but, ye unlearned, is this a reason why ye should

stay away from him who is lowly in heart? It was said of an old Greek

philosopher, that he wrote over his door, "None but the learned may

enter here." But Christ, on the contrary, writes over his door, "He that is

simple let him turn in hither." There are many great men with long

handles to their names who know little of the gospel, while some of the

poor unlettered ones spell out the whole secret, and become perfect

masters in divinity. If they had degrees who deserve them, diplomas

should often be transferred, and given to those who hold the plough

handle or work at the carpenter's bench; for there is often more divinity

in the little finger of a ploughman than there is in the whole body of

some of our modern divines. "Don't they understand divinity?" you say.

Yes, in the letter of it; but as to the spirit and life of it, D.D. often

means DOUBLY DESTITUTE.

The lowliness of Christ may be clearly seen in yet another point of

view. He is not only willing to receive the poor, and to receive the

ignorant, but he is also ever ready to receive men, despite the vileness

of their characters. Some teachers can stoop, and freely too, to both

poor and ignorant; but they cannot stoop to the wicked. I think we have

all felt a difficulty here. "However poor a man may be, or however little

he knows," you say, "I don't mind talking with him, and trying to do

him good; but I cannot talk with a man who is a rogue or a vagabond,

or with a woman who has lost her character." I know you cannot; there

are a great many things Christ did which we cannot do. We, who are the

servants of Christ, have attempted to draw a line where duty has its

bound. Like the domestic servant in some lordly mansion who stoops

not to menial employment. We are above our work. We are so fastidious, that

we cannot go after the chief of sinners, and the vilest of the vile. Not so,

Christ. "He receiveth sinners and eateth with them."

He, in the days of his flesh, became familiar with the outcasts. He

sought them out that he might save them; he entered their homes; he

found his way into the slums. like some diligent officer of the police, he

was willing to lodge where they lodged, eat at their table, and associate

with their class to find them out. His mission was to seek as well as to

save. Oh, see him stand, with arms wide open! Will that thief, who is

justly executed for his crimes, be recognized by him? Yes, he will.

There, with his arms outstretched, he hangs; the thief flies as it were to

his bosom, and Jesus gives him a most blessed embrace. "To-day shalt

thou be with me in Paradise." Christ has received the thief with open

heart and open arms too. And there is Mary. Do you see her? She is

washing the feet of Jesus. Why, she is a bad character, one of the worst

women on the town. What will Christ say? Say? Why, hear how he

speaks to Simon, the pious, reputable Pharisee. Saith he, after putting

the parable concerning the two debtors, "which of them shall love him

most?"--and then he explains that this woman hath had much forgiven,

and therefore she loves him much. "Thy sins, which are many, are all

forgiven," saith he, and she goes her way in peace. There are many men

you and I would not demean ourselves to notice, that Christ will take to

heaven at last; for he is "lowly in heart." He takes the base, the vilest,

the scum, the offscouring, the filth, the garbage of the world, and out of

such stuff and matter as that, he buildeth up a holy temple, and

gathereth to himself trophies for his honour and praise.

And further, while I speak of the lowliness of Christ's heart, I must

remark another thing. Perhaps one is saying here, "Oh! sir, it is not

what I have been, as to my conduct, that keeps me back from Christ; but I

feel that what I am as to my nature restrains me; I am such a dolt, I shall

never learn in his school I am such a hard-hearted one, he will never melt

me, and if he does save me, I shall never be worth his having. Yes, but

Christ is "lowly in heart." There are some great goldsmiths that of course

can only think of preparing and polishing the choicest diamonds; but Jesus

Christ polishes a common pebble, and makes a jewel of it. Goldmsiths make

their precious treasures out of precious materials; Christ makes his

precious things out of dross. He begins always with bad material. The palace

of our king is not made of cedar wood, as Solomon's, or if it be made of

wood, certainly he has chosen the knottiest trees and the knottiest planks

wherewith to build his habitation. He has taken those to he his scholars who

were the greatest dunces; so amazing is the lowliness of Christ's heart. He

sits down on the form with us to teach us the A,B,C, of repentance, and if

we are slow to learn it he begins again, and takes us through our

alphabet, and if we forget it he will often teach us our letters over again;

for though he is able to teach the angels, yet he condescends to instruct

babes, and as we go step by step in heavenly literature, Christ is not

above teaching the elements. He teaches not only in the University, and

the Grammar-school, where high attainments are valued, but he teaches

in the day-school, where the elements and first principles are to be

instilled. It is he who teaches the sinner, what sinner means in deep

conviction, and what faith means in holy assurance. It is not only he

who takes us to Pisgah, and bids us view the promised land, but it is he

also who takes us to Calvary, and makes us learn that simplest of all

things, the sacred writing of the cross. He, if I may use such a phrase,

will not only teach us how to write them highly ornamental writing of

the Eden Paradise, the richly gilded, illuminated letters of communion

and fellowship, but he teaches us how to make the pot-hooks amid

hangers of repentance and faith. he begins at the beginning; for he is

"meek and lowly in heart." Come, then, ye dolts, ye fools; come ye

sinners, ye vile ones; come, ye dullest of all scholars, ye poor, ye

illiterate, ye who are rejected and despised of men; come to him who

was rejected and despised as well as you. Come and welcome! Christ

bids you come!

"Let not conscience make you linger;

Nor of fitness fondly dream;

All the fitness he requireth,

Is to feel your need of him:

This he gives you;

'Tis his Spirit's rising beam.

Come, poor sinners! come to a gentle Saviour! and you shall never regret

that you came to him.

III. Having thus spoken on the two marks of our Lord's character, I

propose to conclude, if God shall help me, by knocking home the nail,

by driving in the wedge, and pressing upon you a conclusion from

these arguments. The conclusion of the whole matter is this, since

Christ is "meek and lowly in heart," sinners come to him.

Come to him, then, first, whoever you may be, for he is "meek and

lowly in heart." When a man has done anything wrong, and wants a

help through his difficulty, if about to employ some counsel to plead

for him in a court of law, he might say, "Oh! don't engage Mr. So-and-

so for me; I hear he is a very hard-hearted man; I should not like to tell

him what I have done, and entrust my case in his hands. Send for Mr.

So-and-so; I have heard that he is very kind and gentle; let him come

and hear my case, and let him conduct the pleadings for me:" Sinner!

you are sinful, but Christ is very tender-hearted. Speed thy way to

Christ's private chamber,--your own closet of prayer. Tell him all you

have done; he will not upbraid you: confess all your sins; he will not

chide you. Tell him all your follies; he will not be angry with you.

Commit your case to him, and with a sweet smile he will say, "I have

cast thy sins behind my back; thou hast come to reason with me; I will

discover to thee a matter of faith which excels all reason,--" Though thy

sins be as scarlet, they shall be as wool; though they be red like

crimson, they shall be whiter than snow Come to Christ, then, sinful

ones, because he is "meek and lowly in heart," and he can bear with the

narrative of your offences. "But, sir, I am very timid, and I dare not go."

Ah, but however timid you may be, you need not be afraid of him. He

knows your timidity, and he will meet you with a smile, and say, "Fear

not. Be of good cheer. Tell me thy sin, put thy trust in me, and thou

shalt even yet rejoice to know my power to save. Come now," saith he,

"come to me at once. Linger no longer. I do not strive nor cry, nor

cause my voice to be hearth in the streets. A bruised reed I will not

break, the smoking flax I will not quench; but I will bring forth

judgment unto victory." Come then, ye timid ones to Christ for he is

meek and lowly in heart. "Oh," says one, "but I am despairing; I have

been so long under a sense of sin, I cannot go to Christ." Poor soul! he

is so meek and lowly, that, despairing though thou mayest be, take

courage now; though it be like a forlorn hope to thee, yet go to him.

Say, in the words of the hymn--

" I' ll to the gracious King approach,

Whose sceptre pardon gives;

Perhaps he may command my touch,

And then the suppliant lives.

I can but perish if I go;

I am resolved to try;

For if I stay away, I know

I must for ever die."

And you may add this comfortable reflection--

"But if I die with mercy sought,

When I the King have tried,

This were to die (delightful thought!)

As sinner never died."

Come to him, then, timid and despairing; for he is "meek and lowly in

heart." First, he bids thee confess. What a sweet confessor! Put thy lip

to his ear, and tell him all. He is "meek and lowly in heart." Fear not.

None of thy sins can move him to anger. If thou dost but confess them.

If thou keepest them in thy heart, they shall be like a slumbering

volcano; and a furnace of destruction thou shalt find even to the

uttermost by-and-bye. But confess thy sins; tell them all; he is meek

and lowly in heart." Happy confession! when we have such a confessor.

Again, he bids thee trust him; and canst thou not trust him? He is "meek

and lowly in heart." Sinner! put confidence in Christ. There never was

such a tender heart as his, never such a compassionate face. Look him

in the face, poor soul, as thou seest him dying on the tree, and say, is

not that a face that any man might trust! Look at him! Canst thou doubt

him? Wilt thou withhold thy cause from such a Redeemer as this? No,

Jesus! thou art so generous, so good, so kind Take thou my cause in

hand. Just as I am, I come to thee. Save me, I beseech thee, for I put my

trust in thee.

And then Jesus not only bids you confess and believe, but he bids you

afterwards serve him. And sure, sinners, this should be a reason why

you should do it. that he is so "meek and lowly in heart." It is said,

"Good masters make good servants." What good servants you and I

ought to be, for what a good Master we have! Never an ill word doth he

say to us. If sometimes he pointeth out anything we have done amiss, it

is only for our good. Not for his profit doth he chasten, but for ours.

Sinner! I ask thee not to serve the god of this world--that foul fiend who

shall destroy thee after all thy service. The devil is thy master now, and

ye have heard the wages he bestows. But come and serve Christ, the

meek and lowly one, who will give thee good cheer while thou art

serving him, and give thee a blessed reward when thy work is done.

And now, best of all, sinners! come to Christ. Come to him in all his

offices, for he is "meek and lowly in heart." Sinner! thou art sick--

Christ is a physician. If men have broken a bone, and they are about to

have a surgeon fetched, they say, "Oh! is he a feeling tender hearted

man?" For there is many an army surgeon that takes off a leg, and never

thinks of the pain he is giving. "Is he a kind man?" says the poor

sufferer, when he is about to be strapped down upon the table." Ah!

poor sufferer, Christ will heal thy broken bones, and he will do it with

downy fingers. Never was there so light a touch as this heavenly

surgeon has. "Tis pleasure even to he wounded by him, much more to

be healed, Oh! what balm is that he gives to the poor bleeding heart!

Fear not; there was never such a physician as this. If he give thee now

and then a bitter pill and a sour draught, yet he will give thee such

honied words and such sweet promises therewith, that thou shalt

swallow it all up without murmuring. Nay, if he be with thee, thou

canst even swallow up death in victory; and never know that thou hast

died because victory hath taken the bitter taste away.

Sinner! thou art not only sick, and therefore bidden to come to him, but

thou art moreover in debt, and he offers now to pay thy debts, and to

discharge them in full. Come, come to him, for he is not harsh. Some

men, when they do mean to let a debtor off, first have him in their

office, and give him as much as they can of the most severe rebukes;--"

You rogue, you! how dare you get in my debt, when you knew you

could not pay? You have brought a deal of trouble on yourself, you

have ruined your family," and so forth; and the good man gives him

some very sound admonition, and very right too; till at length he says,

"I'll let you off this time; come, now, I forgive you, and I hope you will

never do so again." But Christ is even better than this. "There is all your

debt," he says, "I have nailed it to the cross; sinner, I forgive thee all,"

and not one accusing word comes from his lips. Come, then, to him.

I fear I have spoilt my master in the painting; something like the artist

who had to depict some fair damsel, and he so misrepresented her

features, that she lost her reputation for beauty. I have sometimes feared

lest I should do the same, and so distort the face of Christ, and so fail of

giving the true likeness of his character that you would not love him.

Oh! could you see him! If he could stand here for one moment, and tell

you that he was meek and lowly in heart. Oh, methinks you would run

to him and say, "Jesus, we come Thou meek and lowly Messiah, be

thou our all!" Nay, you would not come; I am mistaken. If sovereign

grace draw you not under the sound of the gospel, neither would you be

converted though Christ should appear before you. But hear now the

message of that gospel--"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you

shall be saved; for he that believeth on him, and is baptized shall be

saved; he that b

Rest, Rest

January 8th, 1871

by

C. H. SPURGEON

(1834-1892)

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give

you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and

lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is

easy, and my burden is light.-- Matthew 11:28-30 .

We have oft repeated those memorable words, and they have brought

us much comfort; but it is possible that we may never have looked

deeply into them, so as to have seen the fulness of their meaning. The

works of man will seldom bear close inspection. You shall take a

needle which is highly polished, which appears to be without the

slightest inequality upon its surface, and you shall put it under a

microscope, and it will look like a rough bar of iron; but you shall

select what you will from nature, the bark or the leaf of a tree, or the

wing or the foot of an insect, and you shall discover no flaw, magnify it

as much as you will, and gaze upon it as long as you please. So take the

words of man. The first time you hear them they will strike you; you

may hear them again and still admire their sentiment, but you shall

soon weary of their repetition, and call them hackneyed and over-

estimated. The words of Jesus are not so, they never lose their dew,

they never become threadbare. You may ring the changes upon his

words, and never exhaust their music: you may consider them by day

and by night, but familiarity shall not breed contempt. You shall beat

them in the mortar of contemplation, with the pestle of criticism, and

their perfume shall but become the more apparent. Dissect, investigate,

and weigh the Master's teaching word by word, and each syllable will

repay you. When loitering upon the Island of Liddo, off Venice, and

listening to the sound of the city's bells, I thought the music charming

as it floated across the lagune; but when I returned to the city, and sat

down in the centre of the music, in the very midst of all the bells, the

sweetness changed to a horrible clash, the charming sounds were

transformed into a maddening din; not the slightest melody could I

detect in any one bell, while harmony in the whole company of

noisemakers was out of the question. Distance had lent enchantment to

the sound. The words of poets and eloquent writers may, as a whole,

and heard from afar, sound charmingly enough; but how few of them

bear a near and minute investigation! Their belfry rings passably, but

one would soon weary of each separate bell. It is never so with the

divine words of Jesus. You hear them ringing from afar and they are

sweetness itself. When as a sinner, you roamed at midnight like a

traveller lost on the wilds, how sweetly did they call you home! But

now you have reached the house of mercy, you sit and listen to each

distinct note of love's perfect peal, and wonderingly feel that even

angelic harps cannot excel it.

We will, this morning, if we can, conduct you into the inner chambers

of out text, place its words under the microscope, and peer into the

recesses of each sentence. We only wish our microscope were of a

greater magnifying power, and our ability to expound the text more

complete; for there are mines of instruction here. Superficially read,

this royal promise has cheered and encouraged tens of thousands, but

there is a wealth in it which the diligent digger and miner shall alone

discover. Its shallows are cool and refreshing for the lambs, but in its

depths are pearls for which we hope to dive.

Our first head, this morning, is rest: "Come unto me, all ye that labor

and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The second head is rest:

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in

heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

I. Let us begin at the beginning with the first REST, and here we will

make divisions only for the sake of bringing out the sense more clearly.

1. Observe the person invited to receive this first rest: "Come unto me,

all ye that labor and are heavy laden." The word "all" first demands

attention: "All ye that labor." There was need for the insertion of that

wide word. Had not the Saviour said a little before, "I thank thee, O

Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things

from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes?" Some

one who had been listening to the Saviour, might have said, "The

Father, then, has determined to whom he will reveal the Christ; there is

a number chosen, according to the Father's good pleasure, to whom the

gospel is revealed; while from another company it is hidden!" The too

hasty inference, which it seems natural for man to draw from the

doctrine is, "Then there is no invitation for me; there is no hope for me;

I need not listen to the gospel's warnings and invitations." So the

Saviour, as if to answer that discouraging notion, words his invitation

thus, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden." Let it not

be supposed that election excludes any of you from the invitation of

mercy; all of you who labor, are bidden to come. Whatever the great

doctrine of predestination may involve, rest assured that it by no means

narrows or diminishes the extent of gospel invitations. The good news

is to be preached to "every creature" under heaven, and in this

particular passage it is addressed to all the laboring and heavy laden.

The description of the person invited is very full. It describes him both

actively and passively. "All ye that labor"--there is the activity of men

bearing the yoke, and ready to labor after salvation; "heavy laden"--

there is the passive form of their religious condition, they sustain a

burden, and are pressed down, and sorely wearied by the load they

bear. There are to be found many who are actively engaged in seeking

salvation; they believe that if they obey the precepts of the law they

will be saved, and they are endeavoring to the utmost to do them; they

have been told that the performance of certain rites and ceremonies will

also save them, they are performing those with great care; the yoke is

on their shoulders, and they are laboring diligently. Some are laboring

in prayer, some are laboring in sacraments, others in self-denials and

mortifications, but as a class they are awakened to feel the need of

salvation, and they are intensely laboring to save themselves. It is to

these the Saviour addresses his loving admonition: in effect he tells

them, "This is not the way to rest, your self-imposed labors will end in

disappointment; cease your wearisome exertions, and believe in me, for

I will at once give you rest--the rest which my labors have earned for

believers." Very speedily those who are active in self-righteously

working for salvation fall into the passive state, and become burdened;

their labor of itself becomes a burden to them. Besides the burden of

their self-righteous labor, there comes upon them the awful,

tremendous, crushing burden of past sin, and a sense of the wrath of

God which is due to that sin. A soul which has to bear the load of its

own sin, and the load of divine wrath, is indeed heavily laden. Atlas

with the world upon his back had a light load compared with a sinner

upon whom mountains of sin and wrath are piled. Such persons

frequently are burdened, in addition, by fears and apprehensions; some

of them correct, others of them baseless, but anyhow the burden daily

grows. Their active labors do not diminish their passive sufferings. The

acute anguish of their souls will often be increased in proportion as

their endeavors are increased; and while they hope at first that if they

labor industriously they will gradually diminish the mass of their sin, it

happens that their labor adds to their weariness beneath its pressure;

they feel a weight of disappointment, because their labor has not

brought them rest; and a burden of despair, because they fear that

deliverance will never come. Now these are the persons whom the

Saviour calls to himself--those who are actively seeking salvation,

those who are passively bearing the weight of sin and of divine wrath.

It is implied, too, that these are undeserving of rest, for it is said,

"Come unto me, and I will give you rest." A gift is not of merit but of

grace; wages and reward are for those who earn, but a gift is a matter of

charity. O you who feel your unworthiness this morning, who have

been seeking salvation earnestly, and suffering the weight of sin, Jesus

will freely give to you what you cannot earn or purchase, he will give it

as an act of his own free, rich, sovereign mercy; and he is prepared, if

you come to him, to give it to you now, for so has he promised, "Come

unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

2. Notice next, the precept here laid down: "Come." It is not "Learn," it

is not "Take my yoke"--that is in the next verse, and is intended for the

next stage of experience-but in the beginning the word of the Lord is,

"Come unto me," "Come." A simple word, but very full of meaning. To

come is to leave one thing and to advance to another. Come, then, ye

laboring and heavy laden, leave your legal labors, leave your self-

reliant efforts, leave your sins, leave your presumptions, leave all in

which you hitherto have trusted, and come to Jesus, that is, think of,

advance towards, rely upon the Saviour. Let your contemplations think

of him who bore the load of human sin upon the cross of Calvary,

where he was made sin for us. Let your minds consider him who from

his cross hurled the enormous mass of his people's transgressions into a

bottomless sepulchre, where it was buried forever. Think of Jesus, the

divinely-appointed substitute and sacrifice for guilty man. Then, seeing

that he is God's own Son, let faith follow your contemplation; rely

upon him, trust in him as having suffered in your stead, look to him for

the payment of the debt which is due from you to the wrath of God.

This is to come to Jesus. Repentance and faith make up this "Come"--

the repentance which leaves that place where you now stand, the faith

which comes into reliance upon Jesus.

Observe, that the command to "Come" is put in the present tense, and

in the Greek it is intensely present. It might be rendered something like

this: "Hither to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden!" It is a

"Come" which means not "Come to-morrow or next year," but "Now,

at once." Advance, ye slaves, flee from your task-master now! Weary

ones recline on the promise now, and take your rest! Come now! By an

act of instantaneous faith which will bring instantaneous peace, come

and rely upon Jesus, and he will now give you rest. Rest shall at once

follow the exercise of faith. Perform the act of faith now. O may the

eternal Spirit lead some laboring heavy laden soul to come to Jesus,

and to come at this precise moment!

It is "Come unto me." Notice that. The Christ in his personality is to be

trusted in. Not "Come to John, and hear him say, "Repent, for the

kingdom of heaven is at hand,'" for no rest is there. John commands a

preparation for the rest, but he has no rest to give to the soul. Come not

to the Pharisees, who will instruct you in tradition, and in the jots and

tittles of the law; but go past these to Jesus, the man, the God, the

mediator, the Redeemer, the propitiation for human guilt. If you want

rest come to Christ in Gethsemane, to Christ on Calvary, to Christ

risen, to Christ ascended. If you want rest, O weary souls, ye can find it

nowhere until ye come and lay your burdens down at his dear pierced

feet, and find life in looking alone to him. There is the precept then.

Observe it is nothing but that one word, "Come." It is not "Do;" it is not

even "Learn." It is not, "Take up my yoke," that will follow after, but

must never be forced out of its proper place. To obtain the first rest, the

rest which is a matter of gift--all that is asked of you is that you come

to have it. Now, the least thing that charity itself can ask when it gives

away its alms, is that men come for it. Come ye needy, come and

welcome; come and take the rest ye need. Jesus saith to you, "Come

and take what I freely give." Without money come, without merit

come, without preparation come. It is just, come, come now; come as

you are, come with your burden, come with your yoke, though the

yoke be the yoke of the devil, and the burden be the burden of sin, yet

come as you are, and the promise shall be fulfilled to you, "I will give

you rest."

3. Notice next the promise spoken, "I will give you rest." "I will give."

It is a rest that is a gift; not a rest found in our experience by degrees,

but given at once. As I shall have to show you, the next verse speaks of

the rest that is found, wrought out, and discovered; but this is a rest

given. We come to Jesus; we put out the empty hand of faith, and rest

is given us at once most freely. We possess it at once, and it is ours

forever. It is a present rest, rest now; not rest after death; not rest

after a time of probation and growth and advancement; but it is rest given

when we come to Jesus, given there and then. And it is perfect rest too;

for it is not said, nor is it implied, that the rest is incomplete. We do not

read, "I will give you partial rest," but "rest," as much as if there were

no other form of it. It is perfect and complete in itself. In the blood and

righteousness of Jesus our peace is perfect.

I shall not stay except to ask you now, brethren and sisters, whether

you know the meaning of this given rest. Have you come to Jesus and

has he given you perfect and present rest? If so, I know your eye will

catch joyously those two little words, "And I," and I would bid you

lovingly remember the promiser who speaks. Jesus promises and Jesus

performs. Did not all your rest, when first your sin was forgiven, come

from him? The load was gone, but who took it? The yoke was

removed, but who lifted it from off the shoulder? Do you not give to

Jesus, this day, the glory of all your rest from the burden of guilt? Do

you not praise his name with all your souls? Yes, I know you do. And

you know how that rest came to you. It was by his substitution and

your faith in that substitution. Your sin was not pardoned by a violation

of divine justice; justice was satisfied in Jesus; he gave you rest. The

fact that he has made full atonement is the rest of your spirit this

morning. I know that deep down in your consciences, the calm which

blesses you springs from a belief in your Lord's vicarious sacrifice. He

bore the unrest that you might have the rest, and you receive rest this

day as a free gift from him. You have done now with servile toils and

hopeless burdens, you have entered into rest through believing; but all

the rest and deliverance still comes to you as a gift from his dear hands,

who purchased with a price this blessing for your souls. I earnestly

wish that many who have never felt that rest, would come and have it;

it is all they have to do to obtain it--to come for it; just where they now

are, if God enables them to exercise a simple act of faith in Jesus, he

will give them rest from all their past sins, from all their efforts to save

themselves, a rest which shall be to his glory and to their joy.

II. We must now advance to our second head--REST.

It looks rather strange that after having received rest, the next verse

should begin: "Take my yoke upon you." "Ah! I had been set free from

laboring, am I to be a laborer again?" Yes, yes, take my yoke and

begin. "And my burden is light." "Burden? Why, I was heavy laden

just now, am I to carry another burden?" Yes. A yoke--actively and a

burden--passively, I am to bear both of these. "But I found rest by

getting rid of my yoke and my burden!" And you are to find a further

rest by wearing a new yoke, and bearing a new burden. Your yoke

galled, but Christ's yoke is easy; your burden was heavy, but Christ's

burden is light. Before we enter into this matter more fully, let us

illustrate it. How certain it is that a yoke is essential to produce rest,

and without it rest is unknown! Spain found rest by getting rid of that

wretched monarch Isabella; an iron yoke was her dominion upon the

nation's neck, crushing every aspiration after progress by an intolerable

tyranny. Up rose the nation, shook off its yoke, and threw aside its

burden, and it had rest in a certain sense, rest from evil. But Spain has

not fully rested yet, and it seems that she will never find permanent rest

till she has voluntarily taken up another yoke, and found for herself

another burden. In a word, she must have a strong, settled, recognized

government, and then only will her distractions cease. This is just a

picture of the human soul. It is under the dominion of Satan, it wears

his awful yoke, and works for him; it bears his accursed burden, and

groans under it; Jesus sets it free--but has it, therefore, a perfect rest?

Yes, a rest from, but not a rest in. What is wanted now is a new

government; the soul must have a sovereign, a ruling principle, a

master-motive; and when Jesus has taken that position, rest is come.

This further rest is what is spoken of in the second verse. Let me give

you another symbol. A little stream flowed through a manufacturing

town; an unhappy little stream it was, for it was forced to turn huge

wheels and heavy machinery, and it wound its miserable way through

factories where it was dyed black and blue, until it became a foul and

filthy ditch, and loathed itself. It felt the tyranny which polluted its very

existence. Now, there came a deliverer who looked upon the streamlet

and said, "I will set thee free and give thee rest." So he stopped up the

water-course, and said, "abide in thy place, thou shalt no more flow

where thou art enslaved and defiled." In a very few days the brooklet

found that it had but exchanged one evil for another. Its waters were

stagnating, they were gathering into a great pool, and desiring to find a

channel. It was in its very nature to flow on, and it foamed and swelled,

and pressed against the dam which stayed it. Every hour it grew more

inwardly restless, it threatened to break the barrier, and it made all who

saw its angry looks tremble for the mischief it would do ere long. It

never found rest until it was permitted to pursue an active course along

a channel which had been prepared for it among the meadows and the

corn fields. Then, when it watered the plains and made glad the

villages, it was a happy streamlet, perfectly at rest. So our souls are

made for activity, and when we are set free from the activities of our

self-righteousness and the slavery of our sin we must do something,

and we shall never rest until we find that something to do. Hence in the

text you will be pleased to see that there is something said about a

yoke, which is the ensign of working, and something about a burden,

which is the emblem of enduring. It is in man's mortal nature that he

must do or endure, or else his spirit will stagnate and be far from rest.

1. We will consider this second rest, and notice that it is rest after rest.

"I will give you rest" comes before "Ye shall find rest." It is the rest of

a man who is already at rest, the repose of a man who has received a

given rest, and now discovers the found rest. It is the rest of a learner--

"Learn of me, and ye shall find rest." It is not so much the rest of one

who was aforetime laboring and heavy laden, as of one who is to-day

learning at the Saviour's feet. It is the rest of a seeker evidently, for

finding usually implies a search. Having been pardoned and saved, the

saved man in the course of his experience discovers more and more

reason for peace; he is learning, and seeking, and he finds. The rest is

evidently lighted upon, however, as a thing unknown, which becomes

the subject of discovery. The man had a rest from his burden; now he

finds a rest, in Christ, which exceeds what he asked or even thought.

I have looked at this rest after rest as being a treasure concealed in a

precious box. The Lord Jesus gives to his people a priceless casket,

called the gift of rest; it is set with brilliants and inlaid with gems, and

the substance thereof is of wrought gold; whosoever possesses it feels

and knows that his warfare is accomplished and his sin is pardoned.

After awhile the happy owner begins to examine his treasure. It is all

his own, but he has not yet seen it all, for one day he detects a secret

drawer, he touches a hidden spring, and lo! Before him lies a priceless

Koh-i-noor surpassing all the rest. It had been given him it is certain,

but he had not seen it at first, and therefore he finds it. Jesus Christ

gives us in the gift of himself all the rest we can ever enjoy, even

heaven's rest lies in him; but after we have received him we have to

learn his value, and find out by the teaching of his Spirit the fulness of

the rest which he bestows.

Now, I say to you who are saved, you who have looked to Jesus Christ,

whether you looked this morning or twenty years ago, have you found

out all that there is in the gift which Christ has given you? Have you

found out the secret drawer yet? He has given you rest, but have you

found the innermost rest which he works in your hearts? It is yours, for

it is included in the one gift; but it is not yours enjoyed, understood,

and triumphed in as yet unless you have found it, for the rest here

meant is a rest after rest, a spiritual, experienced rest, which comes

only to those who find it by experience.

2. Further observe that the rest in this second part of our text is a rest in

service. It is coupled with a yoke, for activity--"Take my yoke;" it is

connected with a burden, for endurance--"My burden is light." He who

is a Christian will not find rest in being idle. There is no unrest greater

than that of the sluggard. If you would rest take Christ's yoke, be

actively engaged in his service. As the bullock has the yoke put upon

its neck and then begins to draw, so have the yoke of Christ put on

your neck and commence to obey him. The rest of heaven is not the

rest of sleep; they serve him day and night in his temple. They are

always resting, and yet, in another sense, they rest not day nor night.

Holy activity in heaven is perfect rest. True rest to the mind of the child

of God is rest on the wing, rest in motion, rest in service, not rest with

the yoke off, but with the yoke on. We are to enter upon this service

voluntarily; we are to take his yoke upon us voluntarily. You observe, it

does not say, "Bear my yoke when it is laid upon you, but take it." Do

not need to be told by the minister, "My dear brother, such-and-such a

work you are bound to do," but take up the yoke of your own accord.

Do not merely submit to be the Lord's servant, but seek his service.

Ask, "What can I do?" Be desirous to do it' voluntarily, cheerfully, do

all that lieth in you for the extension of his kingdom who has given you

rest, and you shall find that the rest of your soul shall lie in your doing

all you can for Jesus. Every active Christian will tell you he is never

happier than when he has much to do; and, on the whole, if he

communes with Jesus, never more at rest than when he has least

leisure. Look not for your rest in the mere enjoyments and excitements

of religion, but find your rest in wearing a yoke which you love, and

which, for that reason, is easy to your neck.

But, my dear brother, you must also be willing to bear Christ's burden.

Now the burden of Christ is his cross, which every Christian must take

up. Expect to be reproached, expect to meet with some degree of the

scandal of the cross, for the offence of it never ceases. Persecution and

reproach are a blessed burden; when your soul loves Jesus it is a light

thing to suffer for him, and therefore never, by any cowardly

retirement or refusal to profess your faith, evade your share of this

honorable load. Woe unto those who say, "I will never be a martyr."

No rest is sweeter than the martyr's rest. Woe unto those who say, "We

will go to heaven by night along a secret road, and so avoid the shame

of the cross." The rest of the Christian is found not in cowardice but in

courage; it lies not in providing for ease but in the brave endurance of

suffering for the truth. The restful spirit counts the reproach of Christ to

be greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt; he falls in love with

the cross, and counts the burden light, and so finds rest in service, and

rest in suffering. Note that well.

3. The rest before us is rest through learning. Does a friend say, "I do

not see how I am ever to get rest in working, and rest in suffering?" My

dear brother, you never will except you go to school, and you must go

to school to Christ. "Learn of me," saith he, "for I am meek and lowly

in heart." Now, in order to learn of Christ it is implied that we lay aside

all prejudices of the past. These things much prevent our finding peace.

Have you any preconceived notions of what religion should be? Have

you fashioned on your own anvil ideas of what the doctrines of the

gospel ought to be? Throw them all away; learn of Jesus, and unlearn

your own thoughts.

Then, when you are willing to learn, please to note what is to be

learned. In order to get perfect rest of mind you have to learn of Jesus

not only the doctrines which he teaches, but a great deal more than that.

To go to school to be orthodox is a good enough thing, but the

orthodoxy which brings rest is an orthodoxy of the spirit. Observe the

text, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me." What? For I am wise

and learned, and can teach you? No; you are to learn from his example

to be "meek and lowly in heart," and in learning that you will "find rest

unto your souls." To catch the spirit of Jesus is the road to rest. To

believe what he teaches me is something, to acknowledge him as my

religious leader and as my Lord is much, but to strive to be conformed

to his character, not merely in its external developments but in its

interior spirit, this is the grammar of rest. Learn to be like the meek and

lowly-hearted One, and ye shall find rest.

He tells us the two points in which we are to learn of him. First, he is

meek, then he says he is lowly in heart. Take the work "meek" first. I

think that refers to the yoke-bearing, the active labor. If I actively labor

for Christ I can only find rest in the labor by possessing the meek spirit

of my Lord; for if I go forth to labor for Christ without a meek spirit, I

shall very soon find that there is no rest in it, for the yoke will gall my

shoulder. Somebody will begin objecting that I do not perform my

work according to his liking. If I am not meek I shall find my proud

spirit rising at once, and shall be for defending myself; I shall be

irritated, or I shall be discouraged and inclined to do no more, because

I am not appreciated as I should be. A meek spirit is not apt to be

angry, and does not soon take offence, therefore if others find fault, the

meek spirit goes working on, and is not offended; it will not hear the

sharp word, nor reply to the severe criticism. If the meek spirit be

grieved by some cutting censure and suffers for a moment, it is always

ready to forgive and blot out the past, and go on again. The meek spirit

in working only seeks to do good to others; it denies itself; it never

expected to be well treated; it did not aim at being honored; it never

sought itself, but purposed only to do good to others. The meek spirit

bowed its shoulder to the yoke, and expected to have to continue

bowing in order to keep the yoke in the right place for labor. It did not

look to be exalted by yoke-bearing; it is fully contented if it can exalt

Christ and do good to his chosen ones. Remember how meek and lowly

Jesus was in all his service, and how calmly, therefore, he bore with

those who opposed him? The Samaritans would not receive him, and

therefore John, who felt the yoke a little galling to his unaccustomed

shoulder, cried, "Master, call fire from heaven." Poor John! But Christ

bore the yoke of service so well because of his meek spirit that he

would do nothing of the kind. If one village would not receive him he

passed on to another, and so labored on. Your labor will become very

easy if your spirits are very meek. It is the proud spirit that gets tired of

doing good if it finds its labors not appreciated; but the brave, meek

spirit, finds the yoke to be easy. "Consider him who endured such

contradictions of sinners against himself lest ye be weary and faint in

your minds." If ye learn his meekness his yoke will be pleasant to your

shoulder, and you will never wish to have it removed.

Then, as to the passive part of our rest-lesson, note the text, "I am lowly

in heart." We shall all have to bear something for the truth's sake so

long as we are here. The reproach is a part of the gospel. The rod is a

blessing of the covenant. The lowly heart finds the burden very light

because it acquiesces in the divine will. The lowly heart says, "Not my

will but thine be done; let God be glorified in me, it shall be all I ask.

Rich, poor, sick, or in health, it is all the same to me. If God the great

One has the glory, what matters where such a little one as I am may be

placed?" The lowly spirit does not seek after great things for itself, it

learns in whatsoever state it is therewith to be content. If it be poor,

"Never mind," says the lowly one, "I never aspired to be rich; among

the great ones of this earth I never desired to shine." If it be denied

honor, the humble spirit says, "I never asked for earthly glory, I seek

not mine own honor but his that sent me. Why should I be honored, a

poor worm like me? If nobody speaks a good word of me, if I get

Christ to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," that is enough.

And if the lowly-hearted have little wordly pleasure, he says, "This is

not my place for pleasure, I deserve eternal pain, and if I do not have

pleasures here I shall have them hereafter. I am well content to abide

my time." Our blessed Lord was always of that lowly spirit. He did not

strive, nor cry, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets. The

baubles of empire had no charm for him. Had fame offered to sound

her trumpet for none but him he would have cared not one whit for the

offer. The kingdoms of this world and the glory thereof were offered

him, and he repelled the tempter. He was gentle, unobtrusive, self-

denying; hence he treated his burden of poverty and shame as a light

thing. "He endured the cross, despising the shame." If we once learn

Christ's spirit we shall find rest unto our souls.

4. But we must pass on to notice, that it is very evident that the rest

which we are to find is a rest which grows entirely out of our spirits

being conformed to the spirit of Christ. "Learn of me, and ye shall find

rest." It is then a spiritual rest altogether independent of circumstances.

It is a vain idea of ours, to suppose that if our circumstances were

altered we should be more at rest. My brother, if you cannot rest in

poverty, neither would you in riches; if you cannot rest in the midst of

persecution, neither would you in the midst of honor. It is the spirit

within that gives the rest, that rest has little to do with any thing

without. Men have sat on thrones and have found them uneasy places,

while others on the rack have declared that they were at rest. The spirit

is the spring of rest, as for the outward surroundings they are of small

account. Let but your mind be like the mind of Christ, and you shall

find rest unto your souls: a deep rest, a growing rest, a rest found out

more and more, an abiding rest, not only which you have found, but

which you shall go on to find. Justification gave you rest from the

burden of sin, sanctification will give you rest from molesting cares;

and in proportion as it becomes perfect, and you are like your Saviour,

your rest shall become more like that of heaven.

I desire one other thing to be called to your mind before I turn to the

practical use of the text, and that is that here, as in the former rest, we

are led to adore and admire the blessed person of our Lord. Observe the

words, "For I." Oh! it all comes from him still, the second rest as much

as the first, the casket and the treasure in the secret drawer. It all hinges

there, "For I am." In describing the second rest there is more said

concerning him than in the first. In the first part of our text it only says,

"I will give you rest;" but in the second part his character is more fully

explained--"For I am meek and lowly in heart;" as if to show that as

believers grow in grace, and enjoy more rest, they see more of Jesus

and know more of him. All they know when sin is pardoned is that he

gives it, perhaps they hardly know how; but afterwards when they

come to rest in him in sweet fellowship, they know more of his

personal attributes, and their rest for that very reason becomes more

deep and perfect.

Come we now to the practical use of all this. Read the chapter before us

and find the clue. First, my dear brethren, if you find rest to your souls

you will not be moved by the judgment of men. The children in the

market-place were the type of our Lord's generation, who railed both at

John the Baptist and at our Lord. The generation which now is follows

the same course, men are sure to cavil at our service. Never mind; take

Christ's yoke on you, live to serve him; take Christ's burden, make it a

point to bear all things for his sake, and you will not be affected either

by praise or censure, for you will find rest to your souls in surrendering

yourself to the Father's will. If you learn of Jesus you will have rest

from the fear of men. I recollect, before I came to London, being at a

prayer-meeting where a very quaint brother prayed for me that I might

be delivered from the "bleating of the sheep." I understood it after

awhile, he meant that I might live above the fear of man, that when

such a person said "How much we have been edified today," I might

not be puffed up; or if another said, "How dull the discourse was to-

day," I might not be depressed. You will be delivered from "the

bleating of the sheep" when you have the spirit of the Good Shepherd.

Next you will be delivered from fretfulness at want of success. "Then

began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were

done, because they repented not." He had wrought his mighty works,

and preached the gospel, and they did not repent. Was Jesus

discouraged? Was he, as we sometimes are, ready to quit the work?

No; his heart rested even then. If we come to Jesus, and take his yoke

and burden, we too shall find rest, though Israel be not gathered.

Then, too, our Lord denounced judgments upon those who repented

not. He told them that those who had heard the gospel and rejected it

would find it more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of

judgment than for them. There are some who quarrel with the

judgments of God, and declare that they cannot bear to think of the

condemnation of the impenitent. Is not this because they do not bear

the burden of the Lord, but are self-willed? The saints are described in

the book of Revelation as singing "Hallelujah" while the smoke of

Babylon goeth up for ever and ever. We shall never receive with

humble faith the judgment of God in its terror until we take Christ's

yoke, and are lowly in heart. When we are like Jesus we shall not feel

that the punishment is too much for the sin, but we shall sympathize

with the justice of God, and say "Amen" to it. When the mind is lowly

it never ventures to sit in judgment upon God, but rests in the

conviction that the Judge of all must do right. It is not even anxious to

make apologies and smooth down the fact, for it feels, it is not mine to

justify him, he can justify himself.

So, again, with regard to the divine sovereignty. Notice the rest of the

Saviour's mind upon that matter: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of

heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and

prudent." Learning of Jesus we too shall rest in reference to divine

decrees; we shall rejoice in whatever the Lord determines;

predestination will not cast a gloom over us, but we shall thank God for

all he ordains.

What a blessed rest! As we open it up, does not its compass and depth

surprise you? How sweet to lie passive in his hands, reconciled to every

mystery, content with every dispensation, honored by every service

satisfied in God!

Now, I do not know whether I am right, but it struck me, when

considering this text from various points, that probably our Saviour

meant to convey an idea of deeper fellowship than we have yet

considered. Did not he mean this--that he carried a yoke on his

shoulder, which he calls, "my yoke?" When bullocks are yoked, there

are generally two. I have watched them in Northern Italy, and noticed

that when two are yoked together, and they are perfectly agreed, the

yoke is always easy to both of them. If one were determined to lie

down and the other to stand up, the yoke would be very uncomfortable;

but when they are both of one mind you will see them look at each

other with those large, lustrous, brown eyes of theirs so lovingly, and

with a look they read each other's minds, so that when one wants to lie

down, down they go, or when one wishes to go forward, forward they

both go, keeping step. In this way the yoke is easy. Now I think the

Saviour says to us, "I am bearing one end of the yoke on my shoulder;

come, my disciple, place your neck under the other side of it, and then

learn of me. Keep step with me, be as I am, do as I do. I am meek and

lowly in heart; your heart must be like mine, and then we will work

together in blessed fellowship, and you will find that working with me

is a happy thing; for my yoke is easy to me, and will be to you. Come,

then, true yoke-fellow, come and be yoked with me, take my yoke

upon you, and learn of me." If that be the meaning of the text, and

perhaps it is, it invites us to a fellowship most near and honorable. If it

be not the meaning of the text, it is at any rate a position to be sought

after, to be laborers together with Christ, bearing the same yoke. Such

be our lot. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​spe/​matthew-11.html. 2011.

Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible

Chapter 8, which opens the portion that comes before us tonight, is a striking illustration as well as proof of the method which God has been pleased to employ in giving us the apostle Matthew's account of our Lord Jesus. The dispensational aim here leads to a more manifest disregard of the bare circumstance of time than in any other specimen of these gospels. This is the more to be noticed, inasmuch as the gospel of Matthew has been in general adopted as the standard of time, save by those who have rather inclined to Luke as supplying the desideratum. To me it is evident, from a careful comparison of them all, as I think it is capable of clear and adequate proof to an unprejudiced Christian mind, that neither Matthew nor Luke confines himself to such an order of events. Of course, both do preserve chronological order when it is compatible with the objects the Holy Spirit had in inspiring them; but in both the order of time is subordinated to still greater purposes which God had in view. If we compare the eighth chapter, for example, with the corresponding circumstances, as far as they appear, in the gospel of Mark, we shall find the latter gives us notes of time, which leave no doubt on my mind that Mark adheres to the scale of time: the design of the Holy Ghost required it, instead of dispensing with it in his case. The question fairly arises, Why it is that the Holy Ghost has been pleased so remarkably to leave time out of the question in this chapter, as well as in the next? The same indifference to the mere sequence of events is found occasionally in other parts of the gospel; but I have purposely dwelt upon this chapter 8, because here we have it throughout, and at the same time with evidence exceedingly simple and convincing.

The first thing to be remarked is, that the leper was an early incident in the manifestation of the healing power of our Lord. In his defilement he came to Jesus and sought to be cleansed, before the delivery of the sermon on the mount. Accordingly, notice that, in the manner in which the Holy Ghost introduces it, there is no statement of time whatever. No doubt the first verse says, that "when He was come down from the mount, great multitudes followed Him;" but then the second verse gives no intimation that the subject which follows is to be taken as chronologically subsequent. It does not say, that " then there came a leper," or " immediately there came a leper." No word whatever implies that the cleansing of the leper happened at that time. It says simply, "And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Verse 4 seems quite adverse to the idea that great multitudes were witnesses of the cure; for why "tell no man," if so many knew it already? Inattention to this has perplexed many. They have not seized the aim of each gospel. They have treated the Bible either with levity, or as too awful a book to be apprehended really; not with the reverence of faith, which waits on Him, and fails not in due time to understand His word. God does not permit Scripture to be thus used without losing its force, its beauty, and the grand object for which it was written.

If we turn toMark 1:1-45; Mark 1:1-45, the proof of what I have said will appear as to the leper. At its close we see the leper approaching the Lord, after He had been preaching throughout Galilee and casting out devils. In Mark 2:1-28 it says, "And again he entered into Capernaum." He had been there before. Then, in Mark 3:1-35, there are notes of time more or less strong. In verse 13 our Lord "goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach." To him who compares this with Luke 6:1-49, there need not remain a question as to the identity of the scene. They are the circumstances that preceded the discourse upon the mount, as given in Matthew 5:1-48; Matthew 6:1-34; Matthew 7:1-29. It was after our Lord had called the twelve, and ordained them not after He had sent them forth, but after He had appointed them apostles that the Lord comes down to a plateau upon the mountain, instead of remaining upon the more elevated parts where He had been before. Descending then upon the plateau, He delivered what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount.

Examine the Scripture, and you will see for yourselves. It is not a thing that can be settled by a mere assertion. On the other hand, it is not too much to say, that the same Scriptures which convince one unbiassed mind that pays heed to these notes of time, will produce no less effect on others. If I assume from the words "set forth in order," in the beginning of Luke's gospel, that therefore his is the chronological account, it will only lead me into confusion, both as to Luke and the other gospels; for proofs abound that the order of Luke, most methodical as he is, is by no means absolutely that of time. Of course, there is often the order of time, but through the central part, and not infrequently elsewhere, his setting forth in order turns on another principle, quite independent of mere succession of events. In other words, it is certain that in the gospel of Luke, in whose preface we have expressly the words "set in order," the Holy Ghost does in no way tie Himself to what, after all, is the most elementary form of arrangement; for it needs little observation to see, that the simple sequence of facts as they occurred is that which demands a faithful enumeration, and nothing more. Whereas, on the contrary, there are other kinds of order that call for more profound thought and enlarged views, if we may speak now after the manner of men; and, indeed, I deny not that these the Holy Ghost employed in His own wisdom, though it is hardly needful to say He could, if He pleased, demonstrate His superiority to any means or qualifications whatsoever. He could and did form His instruments according to His own sovereign will. It is a question, then, of internal evidence, what that particular order is which God has employed in each different gospel. Particular epochs in Luke are noted with great care; but, speaking now of the general course of the Lord's life, a little attention will discover, from the immensely greater preponderance paid to the consideration of time in the second gospel, that there we have events from first to last given to us in their consecutive order. It appears to me, that the nature or aim of Mark's gospel demands this. The grounds of such a judgment will naturally come before us ere long: I can merely refer to it now as my conviction.

If this be a sound judgment, the comparison of the first chapter of Mark affords decisive evidence that the Holy Ghost in Matthew has taken the leper out of the mere time and circumstances of actual occurrence, and has reserved his case for a wholly different service. It is true that in this particular instance Mark no more surrounds the leper with notes of time and place than do Matthew and Luke. We are dependent, therefore, for determining this case, on the fact that Mark does habitually adhere to the chain of events. But if Matthew here laid aside all question of time, it was in view of other and weightier considerations for his object. In other words, the leper is here introduced after the sermon on the mount, though, in fact, the circumstance took place long before it. The design is, I think, manifest: the Spirit of God is here giving a vivid picture of the manifestation of the Messiah, of His divine glory, of His grace and power, with the effect of this manifestation. Hence it is that He has grouped together circumstances which make this plain, without raising the question of when they occurred; in fact, they range over a large space, and, otherwise viewed, are in total disorder. Thus it is easy to see, that the reason for here putting together the leper and the centurion lies in the Lord's dealing with the Jew, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, in His deep grace working in the Gentile's heart, and forming his faith, as well as answering it, according to His own heart. The leper approaches the Lord with homage, but with a most inadequate belief in His love and readiness to meet his need. The Saviour, while He puts forth His hand, touching him as man, and yet as none but Jehovah might dare to do, dispels the hopeless disease at once. Thus, and after the tenderest sort, there is that which evidences the Messiah on earth present to heal His people who appeal to Him; and the Jew, above all counting upon His bodily presence demanding it, I may say, according to the warrant of prophecy, finds in Jesus not merely the man, but the God of Israel. Who but God could heal? Who could touch the leper save Emmanuel? A mere Jew would have been defiled. He who gave the law maintained its authority, and used it as an occasion for testifying His own power and presence. Would any man make of the Messiah a mere man and a mere subject of the law given by Moses? Let them read their error in One who was evidently superior to the condition and the ruin of man in Israel. Let them recognize the power that banished the leprosy, and the grace withal that touched the leper. It was true that He was made of woman, and made under the law; but He was Jehovah Himself, that lowly Nazarene. However suitable to the Jewish expectation that He should be found a man, undeniably there was that apparent which was infinitely above the Jew's thought; for the Jew showed his own degradation and unbelief in the low ideas he entertained of the Messiah. He was really God in man; and all these wonderful features are here presented and compressed in this most simple, but at the same time significant, action of the Saviour the fitting frontispiece to Matthew's manifestation of the Messiah to Israel.

In immediate juxtaposition to this stands the Gentile centurion, who seeks healing for his servant. Considerable time, it is true, elapsed between the two facts; but this only makes it the more sure and plain, that they are grouped together with a divine purpose. The Lord then had been shown such as He was towards Israel, had Israel in their leprosy come to Him, as did the leper, even with a faith exceedingly short of that which was due to His real glory and His love. But Israel had no sense of their leprosy; and they valued not, but despised, their Messiah, albeit divine I might almost say because divine. Next, we behold Him meeting the centurion after another manner altogether. If He offers to go to his house, it was to bring out the faith that He had created in the heart of the centurion. Gentile as he was, he was for that very, reason the less narrowed in his thoughts of the Saviour by the prevalent notions of Israel, yea, or even by Old Testament hopes, precious as they are. God had given his soul a deeper, fuller sight of Christ; for the Gentile's words prove that he had apprehended God in the man who was healing at that moment all sickness and disease in Galilee. I say not how fax he had realized this profound truth; I say not that he could have defined his thoughts; but he knew and declared His command of all as truly God. In him there was a spiritual force far beyond that found in the leper, to whom the hand that touched, as well as cleansed, him proclaimed Israel's need and state as truly as Emmanuel's grace.

As for the Gentile, the Lord's proffer to go and heal his servant brought out the singular strength of his faith. "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof" He had only to say in a word, and his servant should be healed. The bodily presence of the Messiah was not needed. God could not be limited by a question of place; His word was enough. Disease must obey Him, as the soldier or the servant obeyed the centurion, their superior. What an anticipation of the walk by faith, not by sight, in which the Gentiles, when called, ought to have glorified God, when the rejection of the Messiah by His own ancient people gave occasion to the Gentile call as a distinct thing! It is evident that the bodily presence of the Messiah is the very essence of the former scene, as it ought to be in dealing with the leper, who is a kind of type of what Israel should have been in seeking cleansing at His hands. So, on the other hand, the centurion sets forth with no less aptness the characteristic faith that suits the Gentile, in a simplicity which looks for nothing but the word of His mouth, is perfectly content with it, knows that, whatever the disease may be, He has only to speak the word, and it is done according to His divine will. That blessed One was here whom he knew to be God, who was to him the impersonation of divine power and goodness His presence was uncalled for, His word more than enough. The Lord admired the faith superior to Israel's, and took that occasion to intimate the casting out of the sons or natural heirs of the kingdom, and the entrance of many from east and west to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of the heavens. What can be conceived so perfectly to illustrate the great design of the gospel of Matthew?

Thus, in the scene of the leper, we have Jesus presented as "Jehovah that healeth Israel," as man here below, and in Jewish relationships, still maintaining the law. Next, we find Him confessed by the centurion, no longer as the Messiah, when actually with them, confessed according to a faith which saw the deeper glory of His person as supreme, competent to heal, no matter where, or whom, or what, by a word; and this the Lord Himself hails as the foreshadowing of a rich incoming of many multitudes to the praise of His name, when the Jews should be cast out. Evidently it is the change of dispensation that is in question and at hand, the cutting off of the fleshly seed for their unbelief, and the bringing in of numerous believers in the name of the Lord from among the Gentiles.

Then follows another incident, which equally proves that the Spirit of God is not here reciting the facts in their natural succession; for it is assuredly not at this moment historically that the Lord goes into the house of Peter, sees there his wife's mother laid sick of a fever, touches her hand, and raises her up, so that she ministers unto them at once. In this we have another striking illustration of the same principle, because this miracle, in point of fact, was wrought long before the healing of the centurion's servant, or even of the leper. This, too, we ascertain from Mark 1:1-45, where there are clear marks of the time. The Lord was in Capernaum, where Peter lived; and on a certain Sabbath-day, after the call of Peter, wrought in the synagogue mighty deeds, which are here recorded, and by Luke also. Verse 29 gives us strict time. "And forthwith when they were come out of the synagogue they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John; but Simon's wife's mother was sick of a fever, and anon they tell Him of her. And He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them." It would require the credulity of a sceptic to believe that this is not the self-same fact that we have before us inMatthew 8:1-34; Matthew 8:1-34. I feel sure that no Christian harbours a doubt about it. But if this be so, there is here absolute certainty that our Lord, on the very Sabbath in which He cast out the unclean spirit from the man in the synagogue of Capernaum, immediately after quitting the synagogue, entered the house of Peter, and that there and then He healed Peter's wife's mother of the fever. Subsequent, considerably, to this was the case of the centurion's servant, preceded a good while before by the cleansing of the leper.

How are we to account for a selection so marked, an elimination of time so complete? Surely not by inaccuracy; surely not by indifference to order, but contrariwise by divine wisdom that arranged the facts with a view to a purpose worthy of itself: God's arrangement of all things more particularly in this part of Matthew to give us an adequate manifestation of the Messiah; and, as we have seen, first, what He was to the appeal of the Jew; next, what He was and would be to Gentile faith, in still richer form and fulness. So now we have, in the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, another fact containing a principle of great value, that His grace towards the Gentile does not in the least degree blunt His heart to the claims of relationship after the flesh. It was clearly a question of connection with the apostle of the circumcision ( i.e., Peter's wife's mother). We have the natural tie here brought into prominence; and this was a claim that Christ slighted not. For He loved Peter felt for him, and his wife's mother was precious in His sight. This sets forth not at all the way in which the Christian stands related to Christ; for even though we had known Him after the flesh, henceforth know we Him no more. But it is expressly the pattern after which He was to deal, and will deal, with Israel. Zion may say of the Lord who laboured in vain, whom the nation abhorred, "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me." Not so. "Can a woman forget her sucking child? yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." Thus it is shown that, though we have rich grace to the Gentile, there is the remembrance of natural relationship still.

In the evening multitudes are brought, taking advantage of the power that had so shown itself, publicly in the synagogue, and privately in the house of Peter; and the Lord accomplished the words ofIsaiah 53:4; Isaiah 53:4: "Himself," it is said, "took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses," an oracle we might do well to consider in the limit of its application here. In what sense did Jesus, our Lord, take their infirmities, and bear their sicknesses? In this, as I believe, that He never employed the virtue that was in Him to meet sickness or infirmity as a matter of mere power, but in deep compassionate feeling He entered into the whole reality of the case. He healed, and bore its burden on His heart before God, as truly as He took it away from men. It was precisely because He was Himself untouchable by sickness and infirmity, that He was free so to take up each consequence of sin thus. Therefore it was not a mere simple fact that He banished sickness or infirmity, but He carried them in His spirit before God. To my mind, the depth of such grace only enhances the beauty of Jesus, and is the very last possible ground that justifies man in thinking lightly of the Saviour.

After this our Lord sees great multitudes following Him, and gives commandment to go to the other side. Here again is found a fresh case of the same remarkable principle of selection of events to form a complete picture, which I have maintained to be the true key of all. The Spirit of God has been pleased to cull and class facts otherwise unconnected; for here follow conversations that took place a long time after any of the events we have been occupied with. When do you suppose these conversations actually occurred, if we go to the question of their date? Take notice of the care with which the Spirit of God here omits all reference to this: "And a certain scribe came." There is no note of the time when he came, but simply the fact that he did come. It was really after the transfiguration recorded in chapter 17 of our gospel. Subsequently to that, the scribe offered to follow Jesus whithersoever He went. We know this by comparing it with the gospel of Luke. And so with the other conversation: "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father;" it was after the glory of Christ had been witnessed on the holy mount, when man's selfishness of heart showed itself in contrast to the grace of God.

Next, the storm follows. "There arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch, that the ship was covered with the waves; but he was asleep." When did this take place, if we enquire into it merely as a matter of historical fact? On the evening of the day when He delivered the seven parables given in Matthew 13:1-58. The truth of this is apparent, if we compare the gospel of Mark. Thus, the fourth chapter of Mark coincides, marked with such data as can leave no doubt. We have, first, the sower sowing the word. Then, after the parable of the mustard seed (ver. 33), it is added, "And with many such parables spake He the word unto them . . . . and when they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples [in both the parables and the explanations alluding to what we possess in Matthew 13:1-58.]. And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, let us pass over unto the other side. [There is what I call a clear, unmistakable note of time.] And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" After this (what makes it still more unquestionable) comes the case of the demoniac. It is true, we have only one in Mark, as in Luke; whereas in our gospel we have two. Nothing can be simpler. There were two; but the Spirit of God chose out, in Mark and Luke, the more remarkable of the two, and traces for us his history, a history of no small interest and importance, as we may feel when we come to Mark; but it was of equal moment for the gospel of Matthew that the two demoniacs should be mentioned here, although one of them was in himself, as I gather, a far more strikingly desperate case than the other. The reason I consider to be plain; and the same principle applies to various other parts of our gospel where we have two cases mentioned, where in the other gospels we have only one. The key to it is this, that Matthew was led by the Holy Ghost to keep in view adequate testimony to the Jewish people; it was the tender goodness of God that would meet them in a manner that was suitable under the law. Now, it was an established principle, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word should be established. This, then, I apprehend to be the reason why we End two demoniacs mentioned; whereas, in Mark or Luke for other purposes, the Spirit of God only draws attention to one of the two. A Gentile (indeed, any mind not under any kind of legal prejudice or difficulty) would be far more moved by a detailed account of what was more, conspicuous. The fact of two without the personal details would not powerfully tell upon mere Gentiles perhaps, though to a Jew it might be for some ends necessary. I do not pretend to say this was the only purpose served; far be it from me to think of restraining the Spirit of God within the narrow bounds of our vision. Let none suppose that, in giving my own convictions, I have the presumptuous thought of putting these forward as if they were the sole motives in God's mind. It is enough to meet a difficulty which many feel by the simple plea that the reason assigned is in my judgment a valid explanation, and in itself a sufficient solution of the apparent discrepancy. If it be so, it is surely a ground of thankfulness to God; for it turns a stumbling-block into an evidence of the perfection of Scripture.

Reviewing, then, these closing incidents of the chapter (ver. Matthew 13:19-22), we find first of all the utter worthlessness of the flesh's readiness to follow Jesus. The motives of the natural heart are laid bare. Does this scribe offer to follow Jesus? He was not called. Such is the perversity of man, that he who is not called thinks he can follow Jesus whithersoever He goes. The Lord hints at what the man's real desires were not Christ, not heaven, not eternity, but present things. If he were willing to follow the Lord, it was for what he could get. The scribe had no heart for the hidden glory. Surely, had he seen this, everything was there; but he saw it not, and so the Lord spread out His actual portion, as it literally was, without one word about the unseen and eternal. "The foxes," says He, "have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." He takes accordingly the title of the "Son of man" for the first time in this gospel. He has His rejection before His eyes, as well as the presumptuous unbelief of this sordid, and self-confident, would-be follower.

Again, when we listen to another (and now it is one of His disciples), at once faith shows its feebleness. "Suffer me first," he says, "to go and bury my father." The man that was not called promises to go anywhere, in his own strength; but the man that was called feels the difficulty, and pleads a natural duty before following Jesus. Oh, what a heart is ours! but what a heart was His!

In the next scene, then, we have the disciples as a whole tried by a sudden danger to which their sleeping Master paid no heed. This tested their thoughts of the glory of Jesus. No doubt the tempest was great; but what harm could it do to Jesus? No doubt the ship was covered with the waves; but how could that imperil the Lord of all? They forgot His glory in their own anxiety and selfishness. They measured Jesus by their own impotence. A great tempest. and a sinking ship are serious difficulties to a man. "Lord, save us; we perish," cried they, as they awoke Him; and He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. Little faith leaves us as fearful for ourselves as dim witnesses of His glory whom the most unruly elements obey.

In what follows we have that which is necessary, to complete the picture of the other side. The Lord works in delivering power; but withal the power of Satan fills and carries away the unclean to their own destruction. Yet man, in face of all, is so deceived of the enemy, that he prefers to be left with the demons rather than enjoy the presence of the Deliverer. Such was and is man. But the future is in view also. The delivered demoniacs are, to my mind, clearly the foreshadow of the Lord's grace in the latter days, separating a remnant to Himself, and banishing the power of Satan from this small but sufficient witness of His salvation. The evil spirits asked leave to pass into the herd of swine, which thus typify the final condition of the defiled, apostate mass of Israel; their presumptuous and impenitent unbelief reduces them to that deep degradation not merely the unclean, but the unclean filled with the power of Satan, and carried down to swift destruction. It is a just prefiguration of what will be in the close of the age the mass of the unbelieving Jews, now impure, but then also given up to the devil, and so to evident perdition.

Thus, in the chapter before us, we have a very comprehensive sketch of the Lord's manifestation from that time, and in type going on to the end of the age. In the chapter that follows we have a companion picture, carrying on, no doubt, the lord's presentation to Israel, but from a different point of view; for inMatthew 9:1-38; Matthew 9:1-38 it is not merely the people tried, but more especially the religious leaders, till all closes in blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. This was testing matters more closely. Had there been a single thing good in Israel, their choicest guides would have stood that test. The people might have failed, but, surely, there were some differences surely those that were honoured and valued were not so depraved! Those that were priests in the house of God would not they at least receive their own Messiah? This question is accordingly put to the proof in the ninth chapter. To the end the events are put together, just as in Matthew 8:1-34, without regard to the point of time when they occurred.

"And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city." Having left Nazareth, as we saw, He takes up His abode in Capernaum, which was henceforth "His own city." To the proud inhabitant of Jerusalem, both one and the other were but a choice and change within a land of darkness. But it was for a land of darkness and sin and death that Jesus came from heaven the Messiah, not according to their thoughts, but the Lord and Saviour, the God-man. So in this case there was brought to Him a paralytic man, lying upon a bed, "and Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." Most clearly it is not so much a question of sin in the aspect of uncleanness (typifying deeper things, but still connected with the ceremonial requirements of Israel, as we find from what our Lord said in the chapter to the cleansed leper). It is more particularly sin, viewed as guilt, and consequently as that which absolutely breaks and destroys all power in the soul towards both God and man. Hence, here it is a question not merely of cleansing, but of forgiveness, and forgiveness, too, as that which precedes power, manifested before men. There never can be strength in the soul till forgiveness is known. There may be desires, there may be the working of the Spirit of God, but there can be no power to walk before men and to glorify God thus till there is forgiveness possessed and enjoyed in the heart. This was the very blessing that aroused, above all, the hatred of the scribes. The priest, in chap. 8, could not deny what was done in the case of the leper, who showed himself duly, and brought his offering, according to the law, to the altar. Though a testimony to them, still it was in the result a recognition of what Moses commanded. But here pardon dispensed on earth arouses the pride of the religious leaders to the quick, and implacably. Nevertheless, the Lord did not withhold the infinite boon, though He knew too well their thoughts; He spoke the word of forgiveness, though He read their evil heart that counted it blasphemy. This utter, growing rejection of Jesus was coming out now rejection, at first allowed and whispered in the heart, soon to be pronounced in words like drawn swords.

"And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth." Jesus blessedly answered their thoughts, had there only been a conscience to hear the word of power and grace, which brings out His glory the more. "That ye may know," He says, "that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," etc. He now takes His place of rejection; for Him it is manifest even now by their inmost thoughts of Him when revealed. "This man blasphemeth." Yet is He the Son of man who hath power on earth to forgive sins; and He uses His authority. "That ye may know it (then saith He to the sick of the palsy), Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thy house." The man's walk before them testifies to the reality of his forgiveness before God. It ought to be so with every forgiven soul. This as yet draws out wonder, at least from the witnessing multitudes, that God had given such power unto men. They glorified God.

On this the Lord proceeds to take a step farther, and makes a deeper inroad, if possible, upon Jewish prejudice. He is not here sought as by the leper, the centurion, the friends of the palsied man; He Himself calls Matthew, a publican just the one to write the gospel of the despised Jesus of Nazareth. What instrument so suitable? It was a scorned Messiah who, when rejected of His own people, Israel, turned to the Gentiles by the will of God: it was One who could look upon publicans and sinners anywhere. Thus Matthew, called at the very receipt of custom, follows Jesus, and makes a feast for Him. This furnishes occasion to the Pharisees to vent their unbelief: to them nothing is so offensive as grace, either in doctrine or in practice. The scribes, at the beginning of the chapter, could not hide from the Lord their bitter rejection of His glory as man on earth entitled, as His humiliation and cross would prove, to forgive. Here, too, these Pharisees question and reproach His grace, when they see the Lord sitting at ease in the presence of publicans and sinners, who came and sat down with Him in Matthew's house. They said to His disciples, "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" The Lord shows that such unbelief justly and necessarily excludes itself, but not others, from blessing. To heal was the work for which He was come. it was not for the whole the Physician was needed. How little they had learnt the divine lesson of grace, not ordinances! "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." Jesus was there to call, not righteous men, but sinners.

Nor was the unbelief confined to these religionists of letter and form; for next (verse 14) the question comes from John's disciples: "Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?" Throughout it is the religious kind that are tested and found wanting. The Lord pleads the cause of the disciples. "Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?" Fasting, indeed, would follow when the Bridegroom was taken from them. Thus He points out the utter moral incongruity of fasting at that moment, and intimates that it was not merely the fact that He was going to be rejected, but that to conciliate His teaching and His will with the old thing was hopeless. What He was introducing could not mix with Judaism. Thus it was not merely that there was an evil heart of unbelief in the Jew particularly, but law and grace cannot be yoked together. "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment; for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse." Nor was it only a difference in the forms the truth took; but the vital principle which Christ was diffusing could not be so maintained. "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish; but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." The spirit, as well as the form, was alien.

But at the same time it is plain, although He bore the consciousness of the vast change He was introducing, and expressed it thus fully and early in the history, nothing turned away His heart from Israel. The very next scene, the case of Jairus, the ruler, shows it. "My daughter is even now dead, but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live." The details, found elsewhere, of her being at the point of death then, before reaching the house, the news that she was dead, are not here. Whatever the time may have been, whatever the incidents added by others, the account is given here for the purpose of showing, that as Israel's case was desperate, even unto death, so He, the Messiah, was the giver of life, when all, humanly speaking, was over. He was then present, a man despised, yet with title to forgive sins, proved by immediate power to heal. If those who trusted in themselves that they were wise and righteous would not have Him, He would call even a publican on the spot to be among the most honoured of His followers, and would not disdain to be their joy when they desired His honour in the exercise of His grace. Sorrow would come full soon when He, the Bridegroom of His people, should be taken away; and then should they fast.

Nevertheless, His ear was open to the call on behalf of Israel perishing, dying, dead. He had been preparing them for the new things, and the impossibility of making them coalesce with the old. But none the less do we find His affections engaged for the help of the helpless. He goes to raise the dead, and the woman with the issue of blood touches Him by the way. No matter what the great purpose might be, He was there for faith. Far different this was from the errand on which He was intent; but He was there for faith. It was His meat to do the will of God. He was there for the express purpose of glorifying God. Power and love were come for any one to draw on. If there were, so to speak, a justification of circumcision by faith, undoubtedly there was also the justification of uncircumcision through their faith. The question was not who or what came in the way; whoever appealed to Him, there He was for them. And He was Jesus, Emmanuel. When He reaches the house, minstrels were there, and people, making a noise: the expression, if of woe, certainly of impotent despair. They mock the calm utterance of Him who chooses things that are not; and the Lord turns out the unbelievers, and demonstrates the glorious truth that the maid was not dead, but living.

Nor is this all. He gives sight to the blind. "And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us." It was necessary to complete the picture. Life had been imparted to, the sleeping maid of Zion the blind men call on Him as the Son of David, and not in vain. They confess their faith, and He touches their eyes. Thus, whatever the peculiarity of the new blessings, the old thing could be taken up, though upon new grounds, and, of course, on the confession that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The two blind men called upon Him as the Son of David; a sample this of what will be in the end, when the heart of Israel turns to the Lord, and the veil is done away. "According to your faith be it done unto you."

It is not enough that Israel be awakened from the sleep of death, and see aright. There must be the mouth to praise the Lord, and speak of the glorious honour of His majesty, as well as eyes to wait on Him. So we have a farther scene. Israel must give full testimony in the bright day of His coming. Accordingly, here we have a witness of it, and a witness so much the sweeter, because the present total rejection that was filling the heart of the leaders surely testified to the Lord's heart of that which was at hand. But nothing turned aside the purpose of God, or the activity of His grace. "As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was come out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel." (SeeMatthew 9:32-33; Matthew 9:32-33.) The Pharisees were enraged at a power they could not deny, which rebuked themselves so much the more on account of its persistent grace; but Jesus passes by all blasphemy as yet, and goes on His way nothing hinders His course of love. He "went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." The faithful and true witness, it was His to display that power in goodness which shall be put forth fully in the world to come, the great day when the Lord will manifest Himself to every eye as Son of David, and Son of man too.

At the close of this chapter 9, in His deep compassion He bids the disciples pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into His harvest. At the beginning of Matthew 10:1-42 He Himself sends forth themselves as labourers. He is the Lord of the harvest. It was a grave step this, and in view of His rejection now. In our gospel we have not seen the apostles called and ordained. Matthew gives no such details, but call and mission are together here. But, as I have stated, the choice and ordination of the twelve apostles had really taken place before the sermon on the mount, though not mentioned in Matthew, but in Mark and Luke. (Compare Mark 3:13-19, andMark 6:7-11; Mark 6:7-11; Luke 6:1-49; Luke 9:1-62) The mission of the apostles did not take place till afterwards. In Matthew we have no distinction of their call from their mission. But the mission is given here in strict accordance with what the gospel demands. It is a summons from the King to His people Israel. So thoroughly is it in view of Israel that our Lord does not say one word here about the Church, or the intervening condition of Christendom. He speaks of Israel then, and of Israel before He comes in glory, but He entirely omits any notice of the circumstances which were to come in by the way. He tells them that they should not have gone over (or finished) the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come. Not that His own rejection was not before His spirit, but here He looks not beyond that land and people; and, as far as the twelve were concerned, He sends them on a mission which goes on to the end of the an. Thus, the present dealings of God in grace, the actual shape taken by the kingdom of heaven, the calling of the Gentiles, the formation of the Church, are all passed completely over. We shall find something of these mysteries later on in this gospel; but here it is simply a Jewish testimony of Jehovah-Messiah in His unwearied love, through His twelve heralds, and in spite of rising unbelief, maintaining to the end what His grace had in view for Israel. He would send fit messengers, nor would the work be done till the rejected Messiah, the Son of man, came. The apostles were then sent thus, no doubt, forerunners of those whom the Lord will raise up for the latter day. Time would fail now to dwell on this chapter, interesting as it is. My object, of course, is to point out as clearly as possible the structure of the gospel, and to explain according to my measure why there are these strong differences between the gospels of Matthew and the rest, as compared with one another. The ignorance is wholly on our side: all they say or omit was owing to the far-reaching and gracious wisdom of Him who inspired them.

Matthew 11:1-30, exceedingly critical for Israel, and of surpassing beauty, as it is, must not be passed over without some few words. Here we find our Lord, after sending out the chosen witnesses of the truth (so momentous to Israel, above all) of His own Messiahship, realizing His utter rejection, yet rejoicing withal in God the Father's counsels of glory and grace, while the real secret in the chapter, as in fact, was His being not Messiah only, nor Son of man, but the Son of the Father, whose person none knows but Himself. But, from first to last, what a trial of spirit, and what triumph! Some consider that John the Baptist enquired solely for the sake of his disciples. But I see no sufficient reason to refuse the impression that John found it hard to reconcile his continued imprisonment with a present Messiah; nor do I discern a sound judgment of the case, or a profound knowledge of the heart, in those who thus raise doubts as to John's sincerity, any more than they appear to me to exalt the character of this honoured man of God, by supposing him to play a part which really belonged to others. What can be simpler than that John put the question through his disciples, because he (not they only) had a question in the mind? It probably was no more than a grave though passing difficulty, which he desired to have cleared up with all fulness for their sakes, as well as his own. In short, he had a question because he was a man. It is not for us surely to think this impossible. Have we, spite of superior privileges, such unwavering faith, that we can afford to treat the matter as incredible in John, and therefore only capable of solution in his staggering disciples? Let those who have so little experience of what man is, even in the regenerate, beware lest they impute to the Baptist such an acting of a part as shocks us, when Jerome imputed it to Peter and Paul in the censure of Galatians 2:1-21. The Lord, no doubt, knew the heart of His servant, and could feel for him in the effect that circumstances took upon him. When He uttered the words, "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me," it is to me evident that there was an allusion to the wavering let it be but for a moment of John's soul. The fact is, beloved brethren, there is but one Jesus; and whoever it may be, whether John the Baptist, or the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, after all it is divinely-given faith which alone sustains: else man has to learn painfully somewhat of himself; and what is he to be accounted of?

Our Lord then answers, with perfect dignity, as well as grace; He puts before the disciples of John the real state of the case; He furnishes them with plain, positive facts, that could leave nothing to be desired by John's mind when he weighed all as a testimony from God. This done, with a word for the conscience appended, He takes up and pleads the cause of John. It ought to have been John's place to have proclaimed the glory of Jesus; but all things in this world are the reverse of what they ought to be, and of what will be when Jesus takes the throne, coming in power and glory. But when the Lord was here, no matter what the unbelief of others, it was only an opportunity for the grace of Jesus to shine out. So it was here; and our Lord turns to eternal account, in His own goodness, the shortcoming of John the Baptist, the greatest of women-born. Far from lowering the position of His servant, He declares there was none greater among mortal men. The failure of this greatest of women-born only gives Him the just occasion to show the total change at hand, when it should not be a question of man, but of God, yea, of the kingdom of heaven, the least in which new state should be greater than John. And what makes this still more striking, is the certainty that the kingdom, bright as it is, is by no means the thing nearest to Jesus. The Church, which is His body and bride, has a far more intimate place, even though true of the same persons.

Next, He lays bare the capricious unbelief of man, only consistent in thwarting every thing and one that God employs for his good; then, His own entire rejection where He had most laboured. It was going on, then, to the bitter end, and surely not without such suffering and sorrow as holy, unselfish, obedient love alone can know. Wretched we, that we should need such proof of it; wretched, that we should be so slow of heart to answer to it, or even to feel its immensity!

"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you . . . . . At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father." What feelings at such a time! Oh, for grace so to bow and bless God, even when our little travail seems in vain! At that time Jesus answered, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." We seem completely borne away from the ordinary level of our gospel to the higher region of the disciple whom Jesus loved. We are, in fact, in the presence of that which John so loves to dwell on Jesus viewed not merely as Son of David or Abraham, or Seed of the woman, but as the Father's Son, the Son as the Father gave, sent, appreciated, and loved Him. So, when more is added, He says, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." This, of course, is not the moment to unfold it. I merely indicate by the way how the thorough increasing rejection of the Lord Jesus in His lower glory has but the effect of bringing out the revelation of His higher. So, I believe now, there is no attempt ever made on the Name of the Son of God, there is not a single shaft levelled at Him, but the Spirit turns to the holy, and true, and sweet task of asserting anew and more loudly His glory, which enlarges the expression of His grace to man. Only tradition will not do this work, nor will human thoughts or feelings.

In Matthew 12:1-50 we find not so much Jesus present and despised of men, as these men of Israel, the rejectors, in the presence of Jesus. Hence, the Lord Jesus is here disclosing throughout, that the doom of Israel was pronounced and impending. If it was His rejection, these scornful men were themselves rejected in the very act. The plucking of the corn, and the healing of the withered hand, had taken place long before. Mark gives them in the end of his second and the beginning of his third chapters. Why are they postponed here? Because Matthew's object is the display of the change of dispensation through, or consequent on, the rejection of Jesus by the Jews. Hence, he waits to present their rejection of the Messiah, as morally complete as possible in his statement of it, though necessarily not complete in outward accomplishment. Of course, the facts of the cross were necessary to give it an evident and literal fulfilment; but we have it first apparent in His life, and it is blessed to see it thus accomplished, as it were, in what passed with Himself; fully realized in His own spirit, and the results exposed before the external facts gave the fullest expression to Jewish unbelief. He was not taken by surprise; He knew it from the beginning Man's implacable hatred is brought about most manifestly in the ways and spirit of His rejectors. The Lord Jesus, even before He pronounced the sentence, for so it was, indicated what was at hand in these two instances of the Sabbath-day, though one may not now linger on them. The first is the defence of the disciples, grounded on analogies taken from that which had the sanction of God of old, as well as on His own glory now. Reject Him as the Messiah; in that rejection the moral glory of the Son of man would be laid as the foundation of His exaltation and manifestation another day; He was Lord of the Sabbath-day. In the next incident the force of the plea turns on God's goodness towards the wretchedness of man. It is not only the fact that God slighted matters of prescriptive ordinance because of the ruined state of Israel, who rejected His true anointed King, but there was this principle also, that certainly God was not going to bind Himself not to do good where abject need was. It might be well enough for a Pharisee; it might be worthy of a legal formalist, but it would never do for God; and the Lord Jesus was come here not to accommodate Himself to their thoughts, but, above all, to do God's will of holy love in an evil, wretched world. "Behold my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased." In truth, this was Emmanuel, God with us. If God was there, what else could He, would He do? Lowly, noiseless grace now it was to be, according to the prophet, till the hour strikes for victory in judgment. So He meekly retires, healing, yet forbidding it to be blazed abroad. But still, it was His carrying on the great process of shewing out more and more the total rejection of His rejectors. Hence, lower down in the chapter, after the demon was cast out of the blind and dumb man before the amazed people, the Pharisees, irritated by their question, Is not this the Son of David? essayed to destroy the testimony with their utmost and blasphemous contempt. "This [fellow]," etc.

The English translators have thus given the sense well; for the expression really conveys this slight, though the word "fellow" is printed in italics. The Greek word is constantly so used as an expression of contempt, "This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." The Lord now lets them know their mad folly, and warns them that this blasphemy was about to culminate in a still deeper, deadlier form when the Holy Ghost should be spoken against as He had been. Men little weigh what their words will sound and prove in the day of judgment. He sets forth the sign of the prophet Jonah, the repentance of the men of Nineveh, the preaching of Jonah, and the earnest zeal of the queen of the South in Solomon's day, when an incomparably greater was there despised. But if He here does not go beyond a hint of that which the Gentiles were about to receive on the ruinous unbelief and judgment of the Jew, He does not keep back their own awful course and doom in the figure that follows. Their state had long been that of a man whom the unclean spirit had left, after a former dwelling in him. Outwardly it was a condition of comparative cleanness. Idols, abominations, no longer infected that dwelling as of old. Then says the unclean spirit, "I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." Thus He sets forth both the past, the present, and the awful future of Israel, before the day of His own coming from heaven, when there will be not only the return of idolatry, solemn to say, but the full power of Satan associated with it, as we see in Daniel 11:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; Revelation 13:11-15. It is clear that the unclean spirit, returning, brings idolatry back again. It is equally clear that the seven worse spirits mean the complete energy of the devil in the maintenance of Antichrist against the true Christ: and this, strange to say, along with idols. Thus the end is as the beginning, and even far, far worse. On this the Lord takes another step, when one said to Him, "Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee." A double action follows. "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?" said the Lord; and then stretched forth His hand toward His disciples with the words, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Thus the old link with the flesh, with Israel, is now disowned; and the new relationships of faith, founded on doing the will of His Father (it is not a question of the law in any sort), are alone acknowledged. Hence the Lord would raise up a fresh testimony altogether, and do a new work suitable to it. This would not be a legal claim on man, but the scattering of good seed, life and fruit from God, and this in the unlimited field of the world, not in the land of Israel merely. In Matthew 13:1-58 we have the well-known sketch of these new ways of God. The kingdom of heaven assumes a form unknown to prophecy, and, in its successive mysteries, fills up the interval between the rejected Christ's going to heaven, and His returning again in glory.

Many words are not now required for that which is happily familiar to most here. Let me passingly notice a very few particulars. We have here not only our Lord's ministry in the first parable, but in the second parable that which He does by His servants. Then follows the rise of what was great in its littleness till it became little in its greatness in the earth; and the development and spread of doctrine, till the measured space assigned to it is brought under its assimilating influence. It is not here a question of life (as in the seed at first), but a system of christian doctrine; not life germinating and bearing fruit, but mere dogma natural mind which is exposed to it. Thus the great tree and the leavened mass are in fact the two sides of Christendom. Then inside the house we have not only the Lord explaining the parable, the history from first to last of the tares and wheat, the mingling of evil with the good which grace had sown, but more than that, we have the kingdom viewed according to divine thoughts and purposes. First of these comes the treasure hidden in the field, for which the man sells all he had, securing the field for the sake of the treasure. Next is the one pearl of great price, the unity and beauty of that which was so dear to the merchantman. Not merely were there many pieces of value, but one pearl of great price. Finally, we have all wound up, after the going forth of a testimony which was truly universal in its scope, by the judicial severance at the close, when it is not only the good put into vessels, but the bad dealt with by the due instruments of the power of God.

In Matthew 14:1-36 facts are narrated which manifest the great change of dispensation that the Lord, in setting forth the parables we have just noticed, had been preparing them for. The violent man, Herod, guilty of innocent blood, then reigned in the land, in contrast with whom goes Jesus into the wilderness, showing who and what He was the Shepherd of Israel, ready and able to care for the people. The disciples most inadequately perceive His glory; but the Lord acts according to His own mind. After this, dismissing the multitudes, He retires alone, to pray, on a mountain, as the disciples toil over the storm-tossed lake, the wind being contrary. It is a picture of what was about to take place when the Lord Jesus, quitting Israel and the earth, ascends on high, and all assumes another form not the reign upon earth, but intercession in heaven. But at the end, when His disciples are in the extremity of trouble, in the midst of the sea, the Lord walks on the sea toward them, and bids them not fear; for they were troubled and afraid. Peter asks a word from his Master, and leaves the ship to join Him on the water. There will be differences at the close. All will not be the wise that understand, nor those who instruct the mass in righteousness. But every Scripture that treats of that time proves what dread, what anxiety, what dark clouds will be ever and anon. So it was here. Peter goes forth, but losing sight of the Lord in the presence of the troubled waves, and yielding to his ordinary experience, he fears the strong wind, and is only saved by the outstretched hand of Jesus, who rebukes his doubt. Thereon, coming into the ship, the wind ceases, and the Lord exercises His gracious power in beneficent effects around. It was the little foreshadowing of what will be when the Lord has joined the remnant in the last days, and then fills with blessing the land that He touches.

In Matthew 15:1-39 we have another picture, and twofold. Jerusalem's proud, traditional hypocrisy is exposed, and grace fully blesses the tried Gentile. This finds its fitting place, not in Luke, but in Matthew, particularly as the details here (not in Mark, who only gives the general fact) cast great light upon God's dispensational ways. Accordingly, here we have, first, the Lord judging the wrong thoughts of "Scribes and Pharisees which were of Jerusalem." This gives an opportunity to teach what truly defiles not things that go into the man, but those things which, proceeding out of the mouth, come forth from the heart. To eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man. It is the death-blow to human tradition and ordinance in divine things, and in reality depends on the truth of the absolute ruin of man a truth which, as we see, the disciples were very slow to recognize. On the other side of the picture, behold the Lord leading on a soul to draw on divine grace in the most glorious manner. The woman of Canaan, out of the borders of Tyre and Sidon, appeals to Him; a Gentile of most ominous name and belongings a Gentile whose case was desperate; for she appeals on behalf of her daughter, grievously vexed with a devil. What could be said of her intelligence then? Had she not such confusion of thought that, if the Lord had heeded her words, it must have been destruction to her? "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David!" she cried; but what had she to do with the Son of David? and what had the Son of David to do with a Canaanite? When He reigns as David's Son, there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts. Judgment will have early cut them off. But the Lord could not send her away without a blessing, and without a blessing reaching to His own glory. Instead of giving her at once a reply, He leads her on step by step; for so He can stoop. Such is His grace, such His wisdom. The woman at last meets the heart and mind of Jesus in the sense of all her utter nothingness before God; and then grace, which had wrought all up to this, though pent-up, can flow like a river; and the Lord can admire her faith, albeit from Himself, God's free gift.

In the end of this chapter (15) is another miracle of Christ's feeding a vast multitude. It does not seem exactly as a pictorial view of what the Lord was doing, or going to do, but rather the repeated pledge, that they were not to suppose that the evil He had judged in the elders of Jerusalem, or the grace freely going out to the Gentiles, in any way led Him. to forget His ancient people. What special mercy and tenderness, not only in the end, but also in the way the Lord deals with Israel!

In Matthew 16:1-28 we advance a great step, spite (yea, because) of unbelief, deep and manifest, now on every side. The Lord has nothing for them, or for Him, but to go right on to the end. He had brought out the kingdom before in view of that which betrayed to Him the unpardonable blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. The old people and work then closed in principle, and a new work of God in the kingdom of heaven was disclosed. Now He brings out not the kingdom merely, but His Church; and this not merely in view of hopeless unbelief in the mass, but of the confession of His own intrinsic glory as the Son of God by the chosen witness. No sooner had Peter pronounced to Jesus the truth of His person, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," than Jesus holds the secret no longer. "Upon this rock," says He, "I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." He also gives Peter the keys of the kingdom, as we see afterwards. But first appears the new and great fact, that Christ was going to build a new building, His assembly, on the truth and confession of Himself, the Son of God. Doubtless, it was contingent upon the utter ruin of Israel through their unbelief; but the fall of the lesser thing opened the way for the gift of a better glory in answer to Peter's faith in the glory of His person. The Father and the Son have their appropriate part, even as we know from elsewhere the Spirit sent down from heaven in due time was to have His. Had Peter confessed who the Son of man really is? It was the Father's revelation of the Son; flesh and blood had not revealed it to Peter, but, "my Father, which is in heaven." Thereon the Lord also has His word to say, first reminding Peter of his new name suitably to what follows. He was going to build His Church "upon this rock" Himself, the Son of God. Henceforth, too, He forbids the disciples to proclaim Him as the Messiah. That was all over for the moment through Israel's blind sin; He was going to suffer, not yet reign, at Jerusalem. Then, alas! we have in Peter what man is, even after all this. He who had just confessed the glory of the Lord would not hear His Master speaking thus of His going to the cross (by which alone the Church, or even the kingdom, could be established), and sought to swerve Him from it. But the single eye of Jesus at once detects the snare of Satan into which natural thought led, or at least exposed, Peter to fall. And so, as savouring not divine but human things, he is bid to go behind (not from) the Lord as one ashamed of Him. He, on the contrary, insists not only that He was bound for the cross, but that its truth must be made good in any who will come after Him. The glory of Christ's person strengthens us, not only to understand His cross, but to take up ours.

In Matthew 17:1-27 another scene appears, promised in part to some standing there in Matthew 16:28, and connected, though as yet hiddenly, with the cross. It is the glory of Christ; not so much as Son of the living God, but as the exalted Son of man, who once suffered here below. Nevertheless, when there was the display of the glory of the kingdom, the Father's voice proclaimed Him as His own Son, and not merely as the man thus exalted. It was not more truly Christ's kingdom as man than He was God's own Son, His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased, who was now to be heard, rather than Moses or Elias, who disappear, leaving Jesus alone with the chosen witnesses.

Then the pitiable condition of the disciples at the foot of the hill, where Satan reigned in fallen ruined man, is tested by the fact, that notwithstanding all the glory of Jesus, Son of God and Son of man, the disciples rendered it evident that they knew not how to bring His grace into action for others; yet was it precisely their place and proper function here below. The Lord, however, in the same chapter, shows that it was not a question alone of what was to be done, or to be suffered, or is to be by-and-by, but what He was, and is, and never can but be. This came out most blessedly through the disciples. Peter, the good confessor of chapter 16, cuts but a sorry figure in chapter 17; for when the demand was made upon him as to his Master's paying the tax, surely the Lord, he gave them to know, was much too good a Jew to omit it. But our Lord with dignity demands of Peter, "What thinkest thou, Simon?" He evinces, that at the very time when Peter forgot the vision and the Father's voice, virtually reducing Him to mere man, He was God manifest in the flesh. It is always thus. God proves what He is by the revelation of Jesus. "Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom? of their own children, or of strangers?" Peter answers, "Of strangers." "Then," said the Lord, "are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money. that take and give unto them for me and thee." Is it not most sweet to see, that He who proves His divine glory at once associates us with Himself? Who but God could command not only the waves, but the fish of the sea? As to any one else, even the most liberal gift that ever was given of God to fallen man on earth, to the golden head of the Gentiles, exempted the deep and its untamed inhabitants. IfPsalms 8:1-9; Psalms 8:1-9 goes farther, surely that was for the Son of man, who for the suffering of death was exalted. Yes, it was His to rule and command the sea, even as the land and all that in them is. Neither did He need to wait for His exaltation as man; for He was ever God, and God's Son, who therefore, if one may so say, waits for nothing, for no day of glory. The manner, too, was in itself remarkable. A hook is cast into the sea, and the fish that takes it produces the required money for Peter as for his gracious Master and Lord. A fish was the last being for man to make his banker of; with God all things are possible, who knew how to blend admirably in the same act divine glory, unanswerably vindicated, with the lowliest grace in man. And thus He, whose glory was so forgotten by His disciples Jesus, Himself thinks of that very disciple, and says, "For me and thee."

The next chapter (Matthew 18:1-35) takes up the double thought of the kingdom and the Church, showing the requisite for entrance into the kingdom, and displaying or calling forth divine grace in the most lovely manner, and that in practice. The pattern is the Son of man saving the lost. It is not a question of bringing in law to govern the kingdom or guide the Church. The unparalleled grace of the Saviour must form and fashion the saints henceforth. In the end of the chapter is set forth parabolically the unlimited forgiveness that suits the kingdom; here, I cannot but think, looking onward in strict fulness to the future, but with distinct application to the moral need of the disciples then and always. In the kingdom so much the less sparing is the retribution of those who despise or abuse grace. All turns on that which was suitable to such a God, the giver of His own Son. We need not dwell upon it.

Matthew 19:1-30 brings in another lesson of great weight. Whatever might be the Church or the kingdom, it is precisely when the Lord unfolds His new glory in both the kingdom and the Church that He maintains the proprieties of nature in their rights and integrity. There is no greater mistake than to suppose, because there is the richest development of God's grace in new things, that He abandons or weakens natural relationships and authority in their place. This, I believe, is a great lesson, and too often forgotten. Observe that it is at this point the chapter begins with vindicating the sanctity of marriage. No doubt it is a tie of nature for this life only. None the less does the Lord uphold it, purged of what accretions had come in to obscure its original and proper character. Thus the fresh revelations of grace in no way detract from that which God had of old established in nature; but, contrariwise, only impart a new and greater force in asserting the real value and wisdom of God's way even in these least things. A similar principle applies to the little children, who are next introduced; and the same thing is true substantially of natural or moral character here below. Parents, and the disciples, like the Pharisees, were shown that grace, just because it is the expression of what God is to a ruined world, takes notice of what man in his own imaginary dignity might count altogether petty. With God, as nothing is impossible, so no one, small or great, is despised: all is seen and put in its just place; and grace, which rebukes creature pride, can afford to deal divinely with the smallest as with the greatest.

If there be a privilege more manifest than another which has dawned on us, it is what we have found by and in Jesus, that now we can say nothing is too great for us, nothing too little for God. There is room also for the most thorough self-abnegation. Grace forms the hearts of those that understand it, according to the great manifestation of what God is, and what man is, too, given us in the person of Christ. In the reception of the little children this is plain; it is not so generally seen in what follows. The rich young ruler was not converted: far from being so, he could not stand the test applied by Christ out of His own love, and, as we are told, "went away sorrowful." He was ignorant of himself, because ignorant of God, and imagined that it was only a question of man's doing good for God. In this he had laboured, as he said, from his youth up: "What lack I yet?" There was the consciousness of good unattained, a void for which he appeals to Jesus that it might be filled up. To lose all for heavenly treasure, to come and follow the despised Nazarene here below what was it to compare with that which had brought Jesus to earth? but it was far too much for the young man. It was the creature doing his best, yet proving that he loved the creature more than the Creator. Jesus, nevertheless, owned all that could be owned in him. After this, in the chapter we have the positive hindrance asserted of what man counts good. "Verily, I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." This made it to be plainly and only a difficulty for God to solve. Then comes the boast of Peter, though for others as well as himself. The Lord, while thoroughly proving that He forgot nothing, owned everything that was of grace in Peter or the rest, while opening the same door to "every one" who forsakes nature for His name's sake, solemnly adds, "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." Thus the point that meets us in the conclusion of the chapter is, that while every character, every measure of giving up for His name's sake, will meet with the most worthy recompence and result, man can as little judge of this as he can accomplish salvation. Changes, to us inexplicable, occur: many first last, and last first.

The point in the beginning of the next chapter (Matthew 20:1-34) is not reward, but the right and title of God Himself to act according to His goodness. He is not going to lower Himself to a human measure. Not only shall the Judge of all the earth do right, but what will not He do who gives all good? "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard . . . . . And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny." He maintains His sovereign title to do good, to do as He will with His own. The first of these lessons is, "Many first shall be last, and last first." (Matthew 19:30.) It is clearly the failure of nature, the reversal of what might be expected. The second is, "So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few are chosen." It is the power of grace. God's delight is to pick out the hindmost for the first place, to the disparagement of the foremost in their own strength.

Lastly, we have the Lord rebuking the ambition not only of the sons of Zebedee, but in truth also of the ten; for why was there such warmth of indignation against the two brethren? why not sorrow and shame that they should have so little understood their Master's mind? How often the heart shows itself, not merely by what we ask, but by the uncalled-for feelings we display against other people and their faults! The fact is, in judging others we judge ourselves.

Here I close tonight. It brings me to the real crisis; that is, the final presentation of our lord to Jerusalem. I have endeavoured, though, of course, cursorily, and I feel most imperfectly, to give thus far Matthew's sketch of the Saviour as the Holy Ghost enabled him to execute it. In the next discourse we may hope to have the rest of his gospel.

Bibliographical Information
Kelly, William. "Commentary on Matthew 11:28". Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​wkc/​matthew-11.html. 1860-1890.
 
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