St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

Jesus Offers A Perfect, Never-Ending Vacation

Sermon on Matthew 11:28-30

Text: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Do you need a break? Are things just seeming to pile up one on the other, so that you are just weary? Many families at this time of year take a vacation to just get away from it all. They want to leave everything behind and take a break. What you do on your vacation may vary from person to person. Whatever the vacation plans, it is good to get a break. This morning, we are going to talk about a vacation, but it’s not a vacation to the mountains, or the beach, or wherever you might like to go on vacation. This morning, we see that JESUS OFFERS A PERFECT, NEVER-ENDING VACATION. 1. His Out Stretched Arms Invite You To Come. 2. Take His Hand And Go With Him.

Just before Jesus spoke the words of our text, he had sent his disciples to speak the good news to several cities in the area. They had just returned, but not with the success that they had hoped for. Many people rejected the message that they had to offer. Many people had also refused to hear Jesus as he went among the people, preaching and teaching. As a matter of fact, he listed three different cities that had rejected him and spoke of the woe that would befall them.

The fact that these people had rejected Jesus and his disciples saddened him. However, Jesus did not turn his back on them. He didn’t just leave them to their own devices. Instead, he offered an invitation to them. He said in verse 28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He makes an invitation with outstretched arms, ready to receive all who have been invited. Those who invited are the weary and the burdened.

We all know what it is like to carry something heavy. If we have to do it for a long time, we get tired and we need rest. Jesus’ invitation is for us, who are weary and burdened, as well. ‘What am I burdened with?,’ you might ask. What we are burdened with is our many sins. Sometimes, we fail to realize just how heavy a burden of sin we try to carry. For that reason, we continually search God’s Word to find out what is pleasing to God and what is not. We find passages like Colossians 3:8, which speaks of “anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language.” In verse five of that same chapter, we find listed, “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” It doesn’t take us long, when we read God’s Word, to find the many ways in which we sin against our God. We also realize that the number of them is many, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot get rid of this load of sin on our own. The more we look, the heavier the load becomes. If we were to try and carry it on our own, we would surely be crushed under its weight.

It is to us that Jesus extends the invitation to come to him and he will give us rest. He offers rest from the heavy load of sin that is ours. Relief from those sins that torment us is available to us from Jesus. His arms are outstretched in invitation, inviting us to come to him for rest from our sins. As we look at those outstretched arms, we notice something about the hands. There we find reminders of another time when those arms were outstretched and nailed to the cross. It is because of that time that Jesus can offer rest from our load of sin. Jesus took all of our sins upon himself and suffered for every one of them. Jesus paid the debt of sin we owed to God. He underwent the punishment that we deserved for our sins. All of our sins were taken care of on the cross. The load of sin is gone.

That is why Jesus can invite us to come to him for relief from our sins. He has earned it. It is his and it is his to give away. Sometimes, when we look at our lives, we almost get overwhelmed with our sins. We echo the words of Paul in Romans 7:19, “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.” We may even be tempted to despair and think that God cannot possibly forgive us. We say, ‘I’ve sinned too much and too greatly.’ It is then especially that we need to hear Jesus’ words of invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Believe in Jesus and receive the forgiveness of sins. May that sure knowledge bring you needed rest from the burden of your sins. May you enjoy the needed vacation from your load of sins for Jesus’ sake.

When we normally think of a vacation, we often think of doing nothing at all, just resting and relaxing. However, this is not the type of vacation that Jesus has to offer. His vacation has work involved with it. We know this from words in our text like “burden” and “yoke.” Jesus says in verse 29, “Take my yoke upon you.” Now, a yoke, as you know, is something that was used to harness animals to do some work. It could be plowing, pulling a wagon, or other such work. That hardly sounds like a vacation, or something we want to do to ourselves. Yet, Jesus tells us in verse 30, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” In what way is Jesus’ yoke easy? What makes the burden we carry for Jesus light? There are two reasons why Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden light.

The first is that we are working for the Lord. We are doing things for him who loved us. As the passage goes, “We love, because he first loved us.” We are committed to him, because he was first committed to us. He paid for our sins, to set us free. He lifted from us the burden of our sin. Not only that, but he continues to be with us. In addition to lifting the burden of sins from us, he also eases the worries and troubles of this life by promising to care for all of our needs. We do not need to be weighed down by the worries of this life. Jesus knows all of our needs and promises to take care of them all. Jesus gives and gives and gives to us. How can our response be anything less than, ‘Lord, what can I do to thank you?’ Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you.”

The second reason why Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light is that we are working with the Lord. Remember a yoke was used to hitch two animals to the load. We are yoked together with the Lord. He gives us the strength to carry the load that he gives to us. We are not pulling alone. We don’t handle the burden all on our own. Jesus is right beside us helping us in our task.

Jesus gives us both the motivation and the ability to bear the yoke that he has for us. Yet, what is the yoke that Jesus wants us to put on? What is the burden that Jesus has for each of us? Jesus tells us to live a life that is pleasing to him. That is the yoke that Jesus asks us to bear. Bearing the yoke of Jesus will not always make us popular. It may mean saying “No!” to something that we think we might like to have, but would be wrong. It might mean saying something to a friend or a family member that they might not like to hear, but they need to be told that they are doing something sinful. Remember, though, we are talking about a yoke! A yoke means work. However, it is a work that we gladly do, because Jesus gives us the motivation and the ability to bear that yoke. May the Lord lead each of us to put on that yoke and wear it during our vacation.

The problem with vacations is that they seem to be over far too quickly. It seems as though you just get started, when your week or two weeks or whatever comes to an end, and it’s back to the old routine again. The same is not true of Jesus’ vacation that he offers. Jesus offers a perfect, non-ending vacation. May we rest in the sure knowledge of sins forgiven. May we also rest assured that all of our earthly problems are in his hands. May we also work hard during our vacation. This hard work will not come to an end. We will bear the yoke of Christ for all eternity. However, it will get easier when we enter heaven, because we won’t be dragging against the world and all its impediments. My friends, enjoy your Christian vacation! Amen.