Finding Rest in Jesus

2020-07-05 – Year A – Proper 9 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145:1-13; Matthew 11:25-30

  • Joke about a plane going down and the smartest man in the world takes a child’s backpack instead of a parachute.

Little Children

  • In the Kingdom of God, which Jesus so frequently taught about, things are often the opposite of what we are used to in the world. The last shall be first. The poor are rich, the wise are foolish, and the leader is to be a servant of all.
  • In the Gospel today, Jesus adds another example to this list. “These things” are hidden from the wise and understanding and they are revealed to children.
  • What are “these things” that Jesus speaks of?
    • “the significance of Jesus’ mission”
  • What is the difference between children and “the wise and understanding”?
    • Self-dependence vs. outward dependence
    • The older we get, and the more we learn, and the more we provide for ourselves, the less we want to depend on others for help.
  • Sometimes children have a simple clarity to their thinking that adults often lack.
    • example of a child reminding us of the importance of our prayers.
  • In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus tells his disciples that they must become “like children” to “enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

  • So how do we become like children?
  • It is both a gift and a choice.
  • The lesson today points to the will of the father and son in revealing (vv. 25 & 27)
  • But it also points to our responsibility to follow (“come to me” v. 28).
  • To our brains, these two things seem to contradict each other, but the Bible holds them together over and over. 

Rest for your Souls

  • In Jesus day, Jews often spoke of the “yoke of the Law” (Torah)
    • Each person was to bear the burden of the law in order to be righteous before God. It was their own responsibility.
    • Beyond this, the Rabbi’s, especially the Pharisees, built up and an extensive set of case law with extra rules to flesh out how the commandments should be lived.
    • Matthew 23:4 “Tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear…”
    • Romans 3:20 – by works of the law no one will be justified.
  • It is into this context that Jesus reveals a different way, his way.
    • Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me…”
    • Romans 3:21-22
  • This doesn’t give us license to sin, nor does it guarantee that the life of the Christian will be sunshine and daisies.
    • “Jesus did not escape the hard life, but he could experience rest and refreshment in its midst. Christians are not promised freedom from illness or calamity, but they may experience God’s sustaining grace so that they are not crushed or driven to despair (2 Cor 4:8–9).”
  • It does mean that our righteousness doesn’t depend upon us and our striving but upon Christ who justifies us and who gives us his Holy Spirit to help us do what we cannot do for ourselves and by ourselves.
  • We have to be like children to be able to accept this help. We need to be aware of our true situation, we are helpless without his help, but his grace and mercy are abundant!
  • “The Lord is gracious and merciful, long-suffering, and of great kindness. The Lord is loving to everyone, and his mercy is over all his works.” (Psalm 145:8-9, BCP 2019)

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