When Jesus was in the upper room with his disciples, just before he was arrested and killed, he shared with them about his relationship with his Father. In John chapter 14 he said, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.’
Matthew chapter 11 reports a similar statement,
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
We hear that the Father has committed all things to Jesus, so that Jesus represents the Father fully.
The Father Invites Us
But the statement in Matthew continues with the most wonderful invitation in the world!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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 will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As we discussed recently, Jesus is so identified with the Father that he can say, ‘I and the Father are one’—not the same person but one in purpose. The relationship of Jesus to the Father is so close that we can understand the character and motives of the Father through the words and actions of Jesus.
This invitation from Jesus is such a case; since Jesus represents the character and attitude of the Father, we understand his invitation to represent the Father’s attitude toward us as well.
Who is included in the invitation? Jesus says ALL who are weary and burdened.
- What about ‘sinners’ and common people? Especially sinners and common people!
- What about the New Testament Pharisees and and today’s oppressive Christian leaders? Yes, Jesus, representing the attitude of the Father, was sometimes harsh with us, but he invites us too!
Jesus does not mention any qualifications because there are none. We need only to come to him, learn of him, and find rest for our burdened inner life. No groveling is necessary, just acceptance of the Father’s invitation and his love for us.
Those who think we have to beg the Father to accept us are mistaken; he invites us—as we are! He is not angry at us, and we do not have to appease him to be accepted. He is ready to give us rest from our alienation and from the burdens placed upon us by ourselves and others.
Notice that Jesus says his burden is light. This is opposite to what many think, so they begin to make lists of rules to follow, and the baggage of legalistic rules become the very burdens Jesus and the Father wish to take away.
Instead, as we come to him and begin to learn of him, our love for the Father, ourselves, and others grows stronger and our behavior begins to change.
The Father Seeks Us
Not only does the Father invite us; he seeks us! In Luke chapter 15, Jesus tells the three stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son to demonstrate how the Father actively seeks us out—eager to eliminate the alienation we feel and to establish a joyful relationship with us.
We have talked about these stories elsewhere; you may wish to visit The Parable of the Joyous Father to learn more about how we are so precious to the Father. The Father desires to have a positive relationship with each of us and goes to great length to find us when we are not even looking for him.
How Does the Father Feel about You?
How do we know how the Father feels about us? Jesus is the clearest and most complete window into the answer to that question, and Jesus demonstrates that the Father invites us to let him remove our burdens and seeks us out in order to create a relationship with him.
We will see next time that the Father even grants judgment authority to Jesus.