We can be a blessing to others who accept and believe in Jesus. Not everyone will reject our witness. There are those who will welcome us and receive a blessing from His story of salvation in us. After all, we are the ambassadors of the King! When people receive us, they welcome the King, for we are His representatives. We are messengers of the King of kings!
However, in the days Jesus walked the earth, not everyone who listened to Jesus and watched Him give life in miraculous life-altering ways believed. It is the same for believers who join God in His work today. Not every person we talk with, pray for and with will believe in Jesus.
When we live our lives to please God in our obedience to “go and make disciples”, this is a grim reality for those who reject salvation. But remember, it is God’s work. We are invited by God to go and tell, teach and encourage others by telling what He has done for us. The responsibility for acceptance is up to the people. All of us have been given free will to choose life or death. This is God’s way. Although it is hard to see someone, especially a loved one, reject salvation through Jesus, it is between God and the person.
It is no coincidence that Jesus follows up this talk about those who will reject Him with telling his followers that the “yoke” of God’s work that He gives us to do will fit well and be light. When the yoke gets heavy, it might be how we think about our responsibility to be Christ’s ambassadors in the work of helping people find and follow Jesus. If we think it is all up to us, then the work becomes too heavy for us to bear. When we know it is all up to God, then the work is lighter.
Let’s continue to think and pray through these thoughts as we read what Jesus is saying in this passage.
Woe on Unrepentant Towns
20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
The Father Revealed in the Son
25 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. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
27 “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.
28 “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.”
WHAT WE LEARN
WHO WE ARE
We become the children of God through faith in Christ; we are disciples as we faithfully follow Him and obey His will. Sonship does not change, but discipleship does change as we walk with Christ. There is a great need today for faithful disciples, believers who will learn from Christ and live for Him.
How unusual to find the word woe on the lips of Jesus! This word means judgment, but it also includes pity and sorrow. How tragic that these cities should treat lightly their opportunities to see and hear the Son of God, and be saved!
Capernaum had been “exalted to heaven” by being privileged to have the Messiah live there. Yet her greater privileges only brought greater responsibilities and greater judgment. Five of the ten miracles recorded in Matthew 8—9 were performed in Capernaum.
Why did the religious leaders rebel against John and Jesus? Because they (the leaders) were intellectually and spiritually proud and would not become little babes in humility and honesty. There is a vast difference between the spoiled children of the parable (Matt. 11:16–19) and the submissive children of this statement of praise.
The Father reveals Himself to the Son, and the Son reveals Himself and the Father to those who are willing to come to the Son in faith. These verses indicate both the sovereignty of the Father and the responsibility of the sinner.
Jesus says to “come”. The Pharisees all said “Do!” and tried to make the people follow Moses and the traditions. But true salvation is found only in a person, Jesus Christ.
To come to Him means to trust Him. This invitation is open to those who are exhausted and burdened down. That is exactly how the people felt under the yoke of pharisaical legalism (Matt. 23:4; Acts 15:10).
This is a deeper experience. When we come to Christ by faith, He gives us rest. When we take His yoke and learn, we find rest, that deeper rest of surrender and obedience. The first is “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1); the second is “the peace of God” (Phil. 4:6–8). To “take a yoke” in that day meant to become a disciple. When we submit to Christ, we are yoked to Him. The word easy means “well-fitting”; He has just the yoke that is tailor-made for our lives and needs. The burden of doing His will is not a heavy one (John 5:3).
The first two commands represent a crisis as we come and yield to Christ, but this step is a process. As we learn more about Him, we find a deeper peace, because we trust Him more. Life is simplified and unified around the person of Christ. This invitation is for “all”—not just the people of Israel (Matt. 10:5–6).
Today, let us come to Jesus, take on the yoke of His wisdom and learn from Him.
Thank you, Lord for the reminder that You are God and we are not. You are Savior and Lord for those who accept you and live for you. We are merely the messengers of what you have done and how you work in our lives. Your yoke is a privilege and fitting to bear. May all we think, say or do today be for your glory while done in your Name.
In Jesus Name, Amen