Come To Me

“Come to me, all who are overburdened and weary. Like the lead ox on a team, I will help pull your heavy load. Take my yoke upon you, and learn to walk my way, for I am gentle and humble of heart. In me you will find rest for your soles because my yoke fits and your share of the load is light” (Eyewitness Stories, Matthew 11: 28-30).

Eyewitness Stories: p. 22
In Your Bible: Matthew 11: 27-30

People often gathered to watch Jesus and hear his powerful words of life. He drew crowds. He often said, “Come to me.” He says this for everyone.

Come

Jesus uses the example of a paired ox team walking together. When believers come to Jesus, he promises they can walk with him and learn from him.We have heard about Jesus sharing our burdens. He assures us he will help carry our load. His yoke fits. He’s steady and reliable in unsafe or rocky areas – any circumstance! That’s assurance. He’s done it before, knows what he’s doing, and he helps believers in need.

Learn

The often-overlooked portion of this verse is “learn to walk my way.” Jesus is humble, gentle and so much more. He says we can learn to do it his way. Leave our way behind . . . learn and take on his.

Rest

He tells us his yolk fits him (perfectly). It’s a mystery how he is able to help in our work and give us rest as we walk with him. We can rest in him. Yes, come one and all to Jesus.

Prayer: Father, help me to take Jesus as my strong and steady guide.

Questions: How do you feel when you read Jesus’ words, “Come to me”?
What does it mean to learn how he walks? This should comfort you, but does it do more? How do you learn of Jesus’ ways?

Love/Kindness – The Golden Rule

“Do what you would have others do to you, for that is the intent of everything taught in the Law and the prophets” (Eyewitness Matthew 7:12).

Eyewitness: p. 67
In Your Bible: Matthew 5:12-48; Luke 6:31-36

Jesus has much to say about righteous behavior. Most of us have been taught the right way. However, it’s best to stop and take each of Jesus’ teachings slowly, rather than reading quickly through them. Jesus repeats kindness, love and mercy several times (also known as the Golden Rule).

Love and Kindness

Jesus reminds hearers of the Levitical teaching – You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord (NASB Leviticus 19:18).

Jesus astounds them with a new view: “People usually say, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, ‘but I say you should show kindness to your enemies, doing good to those who persecute you” (Eyewitness Matthew 5:433,44).

He ends this explanation saying God causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall on everyone. Jesus commands the believer, “Show kindness a God does” (Eyewitness Matthew 5:45b).

God’s Love Is Perfect Love

At the end of Matthew 5, Jesus again commands the believer to be perfect. “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (NASB Matthew 5:48). Wow, is this possible? Yes, Jesus said we can do this by agape love, God’s love within the believer. Ponder this.

That’s not easy to do in difficult times or difficult situations. Jesus makes comparisons many times with his teachings saying, “You have heard it said, but I tell you”. Jesus’ words should change our thought process – how we act or react.

The agape love in us provides the ability of believers’ to be godlike, and someday be the perfection of God. God’s love in us never ceases to care for and love other believers. *

Jesus states this well: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him [Jesus] will not die, but live forever” (Eyewitness John 3:16). Believers’ can have eternal life by the love kindness and benevolence of God through Christ Jesus. Yes, believers are commanded to use the Golden Rule.

Prayer: Father, help me fully understand agape love…your love within me. Then act on it.

Questions: How difficult is it to follow Jesus’ command to show kindness to your enemy? How difficult is it to love your neighbor? Now about perfect. How do you react when Jesus says you can be perfect? Really.

* The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1958, pp. 176-178.

Jesus Teaches On Prayer

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask” (Eyewitness Matthew 6:8b).

Eyewitness: p 68
In Your Bible: Matt 6:5-8, 13 -18; Luke 11:1-3

The disciples watched Jesus, saw what he did, heard what he said, and knew he prayed. They asked him to teach them to pray as John had taught his disciples. Yes, John the Baptizer taught his close followers many things including prayer. Jesus’ disciples eagerly wanted to know how to pray.

Pray This Way

Jesus taught what’s become known as the Lord’s Prayer (from Eyewitness Luke 11:2-4):

Our Father in Heaven, may your name be honored
May your Kingdom come and your will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us the bread we need for today.
Forgive our wrongs as we forgive the wrongs of others.
Keep us from temptation and protect us from evil. (Eyewitness Luke 11:2-4)

Prayer – Plain and Simple

  • Find a quiet, secluded place.
  • Be as simple and honest as you can.
  • The focus will shift from you to God, and you will sense his grace.
  • This is your Father in Heaven. He knows what you need better than you do.

Pray and Listen

Jesus calls believers to pray to our Father in Heaven. He loves us and wants to hear from us. This should bolster our courage to talk and pray with him. With God you we pray very simply.

Prayer: Father, help me take a fresh view of praying. I want to hear your voice as we spend time together.

Questions: You’ve probably heard, read, and said the Lord’s Prayer more times than you can count. How does this explanation help personalize your approach to the Father? How can you change a formal relationship with God to a private meaningful one?

Let Your Light Shine

“You are here to give light to the whole world” (Eyewitness Matthew 5:14a).

Eyewitness: p. 64
In Your Bible: Matthew 5:13-16

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches how to live with a purpose. Using the example of light he says something we can understand.

WHY DOES GOD HAVE YOU HERE?

Jesus speaks right to this question… “You’re here to give light to the whole world” (Eyewitness Matthew 5:13a). When Jesus commanded his followers to be lights of the world, he declared they should be nothing less than like him. We shine with the reflection of his light, the presence of Christ in the believer’s heart.*

KINDNESS AND DEEDS

Jesus said, “In the same way, you should let your kindness shine before men so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Eyewitness Matthew 5:16). People watch believers’ actions. We know they speak louder than words. Christianity is meant to be seen, our deeds should draw attention to God and not to us *

HIS LIGHT WILL SHINE THROUGH YOU

Here is my short list of how to shine:

  • Be morally excellent
  • Be generous
  • Be hospitable
  • Honor and praise your Father in Heaven
  • Don’t keep God a secret

This light (Christ in the believer) is:

  • A light which guides in making life choices
  • A light which warns – when need be
  • A light which loves and uplifts *

Jesus showed us through his compelling words, actions, and compassion that we have a purpose on earth. Be generous with your light, resources, and kindness. Christ’s light shines through the believer.

Prayer: Father, I want to show people who you are. Let your love/light shine through me so others to see and seek you.

Questions: How does Jesus’ command to let your light shine make a difference in how you live? What is the difference between “You are the light of the church.” And “You are the light of the world?”

* The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol 1, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1975, pp. 122-125.