Today’s readings.. (1 Samuel 23), (Isaiah 66), (Matthew 11)

The final verses of Matthew ch.11 – are easy to read – but they are also profound – and demand our meditative understanding.  Jesus declares, in apparent prayer to his Father (from v.25), “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children; yes father for such was your gracious will.”  This reminds us of Paul’s anxieties over the believers in Galatia, “”… my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” [4 v.19] Our attitude to life ‘in Christ’ must be child-like, trusting and humble if we are to genuinely accept into our hearts the teaching of Christ; we must put his words into practice to prove they are in our hearts – all sense of human pride and ego must be vanquished.  Jesus then says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son  except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” [v.27]   Jesus has all authority and our relationship with God is through Jesus, he represents God, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” [John 14 v.9]

Jesus then says to his disciples; he is saying this to us too – if we truly are disciples, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me  We cannot learn from Jesus unless we are yoked to him! He shares our burdens; this is not theoretical, this is real!  It must be practised, our minds must constantly sense the reality of it happening – our meditative reading of God’s word daily is an essential foundation.

Our chapter draws to its climax as we read and reflect on its final words;  “for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”   Then, with something of a shock, we may recall and see the contrast in v.20!  “Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done because they did not repent.”  They had seen wondrous happenings, but it had not affected them in the way it should!   We have not seen “mighty works” – or have we?

We have the whole of God’s word to read and inspire us whenever we feel like doing so – they couldn’t.  We have seen prophecy fulfilling, especially the drama of God’s nation reborn, how great their joy in entering Jerusalem.  Let us come more fervently to Jesus – to a living and real relationship with him, his words constantly echoing in our hearts saying, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”