Devotion

Pastor Mintesinot B. Hanfato

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:25-30

Our text speaks about two things: God’s revelation and the Sabbath rest. First of all, Jesus is thanking God the Father because He hid “these things” from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children. What are these things? These are the things of the Father’s gracious will, which has been revealed through the incarnation of the Son. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. To whom are these things revealed? To little children, to whom the Son chooses to reveal them.

In Jewish wisdom tradition, the wise are not the ones who were wise in their own eyes, or who leaned on their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-7; 12:15). Rather, a wise man is a simple man whose fear is in God (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).

God is the only one who reveals this wisdom. Biblical wisdom is personified in Jesus, who is the wisdom of God, like St. Paul says: “but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24)

The image of infants, little ones, little children, might be the disciples, or, according to Matthew 18, literally a child. In Jewish tradition, a child is a person who humbles himself, who has no contradiction, no hidden agenda, who is obedient. James 4:6 says: “God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.”

Secondly, Jesus speaks about the Sabbath rest. Jesus calls: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Rest is found in the whole Bible. God ordained the 7th day, the Sabbath, as a day of rest. On the 7th day God rested. Man is asked to rest on the Sabbath. The land rests on the Sabbath (sabbatical year). The eternal rest awaits those who love and fear God. Isaiah prophesied that it is God who offers rest for the weary (Isaiah 40:28-31).

What is meant by “labour and heavy laden”? Animals often carried yokes. If you see a man carrying a yoke, in Jewish tradition, that man is normally very poor. Judaism applied this image to portray subjection or obedience. The yoke signified God’s law and the yoke of earning His Kingdom by keeping the commandments. The yoke of law is the perfect obedience to God, which freed a man from obligation to the world and gave rest.

Jesus is saying that, obeying this law doesn’t give rest. It is heavy laden. You can’t pay back what the law demands. Jesus is saying: let me take your yoke and let me give you mine. I will fulfil what the law demands of you. Receive my easy yoke, my light burden, that is the gospel, the forgiveness of sin, free from the fear of death, devil and sin.

Let us Pray: Dear Jesus, we praise you that we are yoked to you, to carry your gospel, and to live for you. Because you live for us and we are yoked to you, no burden is too heavy. You promised us through your Spirit to be with us. This is our encouragement. Let glory, honour and worship be to you, to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.



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