Come Unto Him (A Sermon Series in 5 Parts), Part 1:
"Jesus Cares"

July 3, 2011

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church

Matthew 11: 28-30

Jesus said,

8 "Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, 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 shall find rest for your soul.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

 

 

 

Greetings!

I'd like to begin a sermon series today that we can share during the month of July about a precious and beautiful and magnificent Scripture.  Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at this wonderful Scripture from Matthew 11.

 

8 "Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, 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 shall find rest for your soul.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

 

My hope is that this Scripture will be a precious gem to you, something that you will memorize and take with you. These words can give you great comfort, strength and energy. These are the precious words of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

This passage is from Matthew and here is a trick to help you remember the reference in the Bible. In your mind picture a clock set to the time 11:30. This should help you to remember where to find this Scripture location in the Bible, Matthew 11:30. Although it starts a bit earlier at verse 28, by picturing the clock set to 11:30 (and just remembering "Matthew")you will know where to find these comforting words in the Bible.

 

What shall we learn from this magnificent Scripture?

 

Today, I'd simply like to focus on Jesus' observation of us. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden."

 

First of all we learn that Jesus cares.

The verse starting at 28 is filled with his caring. Underline the words, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens.  Jesus looks at you, He sees all that you are going through, and He cares. Why else would he have said these words?

 

In Jesus’s Day

He looked at the people of His day and saw that they were working too hard and carrying too much. Specifically, he saw that they were working too hard at their obedience to the law of the Jewish religion, and they were carrying too much in terms of the burden of the law.  They were so burdened with countless laws that it was hard to get to God. They wanted to get to God, they wanted to reach out for the Lord, but there were so many regulations that they had to fulfill before they could get near Him.

 

Regulations such as when they could or couldn’t eat, what they could and couldn’t eat, how they had to work, how many steps they could take on the Sabbath and so on. The people were heavily burdened by the laws of their religion. Jesus cared. He said, “Come onto me, I will make it better.”

 

He Cares About Us, Too

Jesus cared about the people of His day and He cares about us, too.   Can you identify with the passage where it speaks about laboring hard and being heavily burdened? Maybe so. What are we burdened by in this day and age?

 

We may be heavily burdened by fear. Is there something that you are afraid of? Is fear keeping you from doing that which you know you were created to do? Is fear keeping you from doing the things that you know God is calling you to do? If fear is your burden, Jesus says, “Come unto me, I will give you rest from that.”

 

How about guilt? The Epistle reading we heard today from Romans 7: 19 addresses this issue.  I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. The writer of this Epistle, Paul, identifies with us. We are burdened with guilt. Jesus says, “Come unto me, I will make it better.”

 

We struggle with the burdens of fear and guilt and how about anger? Has someone wronged you? Has someone done something to you that you wished they hadn’t and you are carrying that anger around?  Anger is a burden that keeps us from God and keeps us from who God wants us to be. Jesus says, “Come unto me, I will take care of the fear, the guilt and the anger.”

 

How about the burden of stress? The stress that we carry in our minds and the anxiety in our hearts that keeps us from everything that is good. Jesus recognizes that. Jesus says, “Come unto me, I will help you out.”

 

I heard a story about a mother who was so burdened. The phone kept ringing and ringing, her children needed many things, the laundry wasn’t done, the house wasn’t as clean as she wanted, bills arrived in the mail that she didn’t know how she was going to pay.  She put her one year old in the high chair, slid in the tray and - well, she just had "had it." She put her head down on the tray and began to sob. The little one year old child looked at her, took her pacifier - you know, her binky - out of her mouth and put it in the mother’s mouth. (Sympathetic laughter from the congregation) How the mother’s tears must have turned to laughter!

 

We are burdened, we are often overwhelmed. Those feelings can keep us from God. Jesus wants to help us out. Jesus cares about you being overwhelmed, Jesus cares about you carrying more than you should. 

 

Jesus calls and says “Come unto me.” There is the invitation, but - how do we come to Him? How do we do it?  There is only one way that I know, and that is through prayer. God never imposes or demands that we worship Him. It is always an invitation for us to accept or reject. Come and pray to Him. Jesus is alive and energetic in our lives. He says, “Come unto me and I will help you out.” This is the personal touch of Jesus in our lives.

 

We need the personal touch and teachers to help us. For example, Dr. Bell and I were talking about learning music one day and she remembered how a piano teacher had put her hand on Dr. Bell’s hand to demonstrate something. With the weight and motion of her hand the teacher transferred her knowledge to Dr. Bell. The personal touch is the only way it could be done.

 

Jesus invites us to partake of His personal touch.  Draw near to Him in prayer, and His own Holy Spirit will draw near to you.  He's taken the first step - He's issued the invitation; now, it is up to us to open our consciousness to His presence - and His caring, personal help.

 

A joy I recently rediscovered in my life is the joy of calligraphy. I love calligraphic handwriting. I have books and books on this subject and I love reading about it. I went to a marvelous teacher recently and she said gently to me, “You may want to make this letter this way by holding your hand in this manner.”  The point is the personal touch. Jesus brings us the personal touch, he cares about your burdens and what you are going through. He says, “Come unto me and I, in the form of the living Holy Spirit, will be with you.” 

 

Jesus knows that you are hard working, and burdened.  Jesus wants to make a positive difference in our lives. That's what this scripture means.  He's waiting with a powerhouse of insight, forgiveness, and energy. Just turn to Him in prayer, and He'll be there.

 

More next time!

 

God loves you; I do, too. Have a wonderful week. Amen.

© 2011 Anthony J. Godlefski