Matthew 11:16-19 & 25-30
“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.”
It’s a shame that the whole chapter of Matthew 11 is not read in the lectionary because we see Jesus exclaiming how wonderful John the Baptist is. He is lifting him up and, referring back to the Jewish Scriptures, showing the faithfulness of the Father once again. How often do we celebrate each other and tell each other exactly what they have done to help us? Not in an ego building way but, instead, in a character enhancing way.
Jesus’ prayer to the Father shows the intimacy of the Father and the Son. It shows the authority that the Father has bestowed on Jesus and Jesus doesn’t think he is the bee's knees because of it. He understands both the responsibility and the honour to be able to serve and reveal his Father.
My favourite line among so many here is when Jesus thanks the Father for hiding these things from the ‘wise' and the ‘learned' and reveals them to infants. This really struck me because, well, we are so often a haughty bunch. This line puts us in our place and I think we need that some (if not most) of the time. We have seen this play out in many groups and individuals where they assume to know the only right way to do something. Jesus’ prayer reminds us that you may be wise and know a lot but, believe this, it’s Jesus and the Father who have authority.
Sometimes we can almost have a rivalry with Jesus to get more attention from God and, in doing so, wreak havoc as we become competitive and divisive. We can get so wrapped up in trying to figure out what God ‘has' for us that we forget to live and enjoy what he has for us and has already given us. When we forget to live life with him, we get burned out and tired. We become frustrated. We become frustrated at God when he doesn’t deliver things that we were tricked into believing rather than finding peace and comfort in who he actually is.
In The Message version its says:
'Are you burned out on religion?’
Our country and its people are. I am too. I love my faith but I think religion has become tainted for so many of us. What once held so much beauty, mystery and sacredness has turned into something that it never should have been. What once was is still there but it’s often hard to see. I’ve seen it hurt so many people – and our Father has seen it too. Jesus is there.
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.”
He already died for us. As you strain under that burden of inadequacy, shame, guilt, neglect (the list goes on), please know that he is right there with you in the mess. In the thick of it. He is able to take the burden. It’s hard to give away when we have lived with so many horrible feelings for so long. It’s sometimes easier to hold on to these burdens than to give them away. The possibility of a happier life – a life unencumbered – is one of the scariest thoughts but I pray that you allow Him to take all that. You don’t need to feel forgotten anymore. Let yourself make the choice to let Jesus take the burden and you find the rest.
Susie Keegan is a creative, a font nerd, a graphic designer and the Church of Ireland Chaplain to Dublin Institute of Technology with 11 years experience in youth work. Use ‘Comic Sans’ in the wrong context and you’ll feel her wrath! Being an author on this blog has really pushed her comfort zone and she is very happy to be part of this community.