“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Christ declares in Matthew 11:28.
Is this an invitation of Christ? Well, only if you understand that an invitation from the King of kings comes as a command. An invitation to a birthday party of a friend you may accept or reject. An invitation from the Lord of heaven and earth is a command that you had better obey—or lose your life!
It is, therefore, a command, without doubt. But it is couched in a way that, in the Lord’s command to come to Him with the burden of sin, He speaks tenderly and with infinite love, for He woos God’s elect to Him by sweet words. He knows how great the burden of the sin of His people can be. He knows how, crushed beneath their sin, they wonder whether God can possibly ever receive them. He knows that they are so ashamed that to come to Christ seems a boldness too great for an unworthy sinner.
The words are calculated to give us courage, courage in Christ’s love for us, a love that is too great for us to comprehend. The Lord does not say to you and me, “Come to Me—or else.” His voice is not harsh and threatening. He comes in His love for poor, chastised, frightened sinners who know their sins make them unworthy even for Christ to take a quick glance in their direction. “Come to Me ... I fulfilled the law for you who cannot keep it. I will give you rest—rest in salvation by grace alone!”
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I love this passage of Scripture. I cannot read it without my mind going to that place. Without tears on my eyes and without that expectation of hearing the words of my Lord and my God. O, to be known by Him! To be blessed by the Creator of the world!
There are a few points that jump at me:
1. there is a kingdom prepared for His people before the creation of the world. Not for all, but for His people. Those who are blessed by the Father! What a beautiful picture of a perfect plan, of our names written in His book.
2. I find it interesting, how the righteous will ask: when did we do this Lord? (as if they don't remember, because they acted not for their own glory, but as a natural way to live...they lived out of what was in their hearts, so there was no record keeping of good deeds in their minds... but God recorded those actions in His book!). O precious Savior! May I forget what I do good and be reminded by You alone!
3. In contrast, the wicked, will say: when did we see you like that and did not help you? they did have a record of all their good deeds, they knew them and could "remind" the Holy God of their deeds. But they are not reminded of them. They acted also from what was in their hearts... their own glory!
O, to be known by God! Not that we know Him, but that He knows us!, not that we love Him, but that He loves us! what a blessed and sweet sound that will be, when we enter this kingdom of rest prepared for us before the foundation of the world.