Opposition by lack of repentance 2: Come to me and I will give you rest

Jesus’ reaction to non-repentance is to offer repentance again

Matthew 11:25–30

The conflicts of Jesus

40 Blogs of Lent: Day 15

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 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. 28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:25–30

 

A seat on the Norfolk coastal path.

Turn around

If I wanted to get to London from Manchester and was on the M6 motorway heading towards Carlisle there is something wrong. London is in the other direction. I need to get off the motorway, turn around and go the other way. That is the meaning of repent, to turn around and go the other way.

Jesus always offers everyone a chance to turn around, to turn from the bad stuff they do. When Jesus said, “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,” it sounds very exclusive as if Jesus is only interested in an elite. As if he only wants super holy spiritual people, people unlike me. It’s easy to take a few words out of context. The context here is that the towns in Galilee to which Jesus first took his message of repentance did not repent. Jesus is not saying those unrepentant people are going to be cut off for eternity, Jesus is offering them a second chance.

Rest comes first

When God made man in the Genesis story it was towards the evening of the sixth day he gave us the task of looking after the world and subduing it or taming it. The next morning you can feel Adam’s excitement as he is ready to start work. “What shall I subdue first?” he thinks.

But God has other plans. Rest. God’s seventh day is the first day for man and God says rest. Rest is very important to God, so he created the Sabbath for man. We cannot function properly if we are not rested. Jesus offers rest, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

The God of second chances

Jesus has tasks for us to do. But first he wants us to be prepared, which means rest. Stopping is difficult to do, we like to be busy. A little stress is good, it motivates us to start and to complete tasks. Being overstressed is destructive. Coming to Jesus for busy people is difficult, there are so many other things to take their attention. When Jesus said repent he meant change, put him first. But it is open to everybody: “Come to me all,” says Jesus, those who have heard his call before get second, third, hundredth chances. Jesus is patient and waiting.

Those who have responded and failed also get a second chance. Failure does not cut you off from Jesus’ love. Jesus is waiting to give you another chance no matter how many times you have failed other people, no matter how many times you have failed yourself, no matter how many times you have failed Jesus, he is saying, “Come to me, I will give you rest. There are no limits to the forgiveness of Jesus.

Are you ready to come to Jesus?


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2 thoughts on “Opposition by lack of repentance 2: Come to me and I will give you rest

  1. Ok. I’m going backwards through Lent. I was never very good a keeping resolutions whether Lenten or new year. But we do get a second chance. If we fail in our resolution to lose weight by whatever it is no use giving up. We can start again.

    Great to get a reassurance that Jesus is ready and waiting for us to start again.

    Very challenging to think that we are called to rest first. To me that sort of rest means listening. Doing is easier than listening. If I listen I may find that my idea is not the same as God’s and I may be asked to take a different path!

    1. Thanks John.

      The problem with listening, the challenge with listening, is that we might find out we were wrong all along. Can we cope with that?

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