COME TO ME
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
What did Jesus mean by “learn from me”? Why did He point to the fact that He was “gentle” and “humble in heart”?
Though Jesus was the Son of God, He freely confessed: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself…I can do nothing on my own initiative.” He was humble in heart because He recognized that no human being can accomplish the will of God. God Himself must indwell a person and perform His will through the person as a vessel. It was the Father in Him who did the mighty works, and that is how it must be with us if we are ever to please Him. We must “learn of Him” – be indwelt as He was indwelt.
Jesus was also “gentle.” He refused to strive in His own strength. He was one with the Father, so that the Father’s life and power coursed through Him. “The Father is in me, and I in the Father,” He told His critics. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” “My Father and I are one.” He did not “try” to do the will of His Father, He simply allowed Himself to be indwelt as a vessel so that the Father could manifest His life through Him. Though great work was accomplished, it was all from a state of spiritual rest.
This was the “rest” hinted at in creation week, in Israel’s weekly keeping of a Sabbath day, and in the rest of the earthly Promised Land. All of these Old Testament shadows pictured the time when Christ Jesus would come to this earth to demonstrate how God can live in human beings and fulfill His will in them without their own effort or striving.
Once we recognize that we can do nothing righteous of ourselves – that all our righteousness, before and after conversion, are like filthy rags – we are ready to allow Christ to live through us. “There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Not a day, not a physical place on this earth, but a rest which comes from being yoked in union with Christ. The “fulfillment” of the Sabbath type:
“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested form his works, as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10).
The external “ought to,” whether it be of the ten commandment law or of our own making according to our church tradition, shows us our inability to please God. It convicts us of failure and weakness. When we are about to drown, after we have wallowed in our own self-effort and failed miserably, we can finally cease from our own works and enter into rest in Christ.
This “rest” is not a rest of laziness. We have been set free from the law of “ought to,” but it is not a freedom to live as we please in the flesh. Rather, we have been joined – yoked – to Christ and “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Not two, but one; just as Jesus and his Father were one, so that for Him to live was really the Father. And for us to live is Christ! When He indwells us, He lives His life of tremendous works through us. The proof of His oneness with the Father, He said, was the “works” that were being accomplished. If we are one with Him, He will live that same fruitful life through us today! Collectively, we will do even “greater” works that He did while on earth, because the He was limited to one human body, whereas now He lives in many.”
If, as Christians, we have been “crucified with Christ”, “died to sin”, “died to the law” and we “no longer live” how can we say we must “die to self?”
According to Romans 6:6, “our old self/man was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin…” If who we were in Adam has in fact died in Christ, just what self are we to die to?
The old man/self has already died in Christ and we have been transformed into a new creature in Christ, one who is holy, blameless, forgiven, sanctified, made righteous, complete, etc. So there is no longer any old self/man to die to, right?
On the other hand, we do live in a world full of temptation and pulls on our flesh but the flesh is not who you are! So, if you say, we have to die to what our flesh might be tempted to engage in, I could agree to that. The trouble for me is many Christians think they still have an “old man” that needs to die. According to the Scriptures that simply is not true!
The old man wasn’t merely wounded in Christ, he died in Him! We need to die to the lie of a separate self apart from Christ. That’s what needs to die!
The reason some think they can keep the ten commandments is because they don’t realize they demand perfect obedience and not just the best “you” can do. You see, when God says, “Do not steal” He means ever! Not even a piece of gum. When He says, “Do not lie” He means ever, not even a little. When He says, “Do not covet your neighbors things” He means not even once!
You see, the Ten Commandments demand 100% obedience, so if you have ever lied, stolen or coveted, you have broken the Law and have no hope! But the Good News of Jesus Christ is, He in fact did fulfill the whole Law. This is why He said, “It is finished” from the cross.
“By one offering/sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).
The perfect demands of the Law are met in those who have placed their faith in the work Jesus did on the cross. By faith we have now died to sin, died to the Law and are free to walk in the Spirit.
So those who claim to keep the Law really don’t understand its demands. Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and what He did do. We are the ones who know for sure that we need Him because we cannot accomplish the perfection required by the Law. So we live a life of rest and thankfulness for what Christ Himself has done on our behalf!