- Written by Pastor Shawn Nettleton Pastor Shawn Nettleton
- Created: May 27 2020 May 27 2020
Friends in Christ,
Christ is risen and ascended on high! Alleluia!
The Word of the Lord from Matthew 11:25–30:
At that time Jesus declared, “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. 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. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, 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.
Today's devotion and prayer comes from Rev. Harold Senkbeil's devotional book Where in the World is God?, pages 103–104.
When Jesus says, "weary and burdened," we're all ears. That's us. We are weary and burdened. It's not just the burden of our daily work. No, it's the weariness of living. We sometimes get downright sick and tired of everything. We scramble so fast in this world of ours, just going about the business of living, that the whole concept of rest seems foreign to us.
What can be done about it? Many people believe that the Christian faith is supposed to do the trick. Faith in Jesus will help us find a silver lining for every cloud. The trouble is that life doesn't work that way. Sheer willpower will not turn our frowns upside down into happy smiles for Jesus. The Christian church is not a big self-help group, where we simply forget our troubles by thinking happy thoughts to chase the blues away. Fortunately, Jesus has something better for us than simply happy thoughts. He give us himself.
"Come to me," he says, "and I will give you rest." It's important to hear him clearly. Left to ourselves we really don't want rest from Jesus; we want rules. We'd like to know what we can do to improve our situation, what we can do to become healthy, wealthy, and wise. We would like Jesus to give us a 12-step recovery program. At minimum, we want to know what we can do to clean up our act and make ourselves over into better people. But Jesus is not a moralist. He is a Savior!
It sounds strange to hear Jesus first invite us to rest and then in the next breath to say, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." How can a yoke be easy or a burden light? When it is the yoke and burden of Jesus; that's when! It is the yoke of the cross. On his cross Jesus pulled off the greatest swap in history. He took our sin and gave us his own righteousness. He took all our sin away with him into his death. His cross, that sign of death, is the sign of life and healing for us. This is what it means to be a Christian, to be baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus, to bear the mark of the cross in this world. This is our calling. This is our yoke, but it is also our deep and abiding joy. For every burden there is strength, in every sorrow there is comfort, and in all distress there is peace. It is the strength, comfort, and peace of Jesus Christ.
Wherever Jesus is, there is rest for weary hearts and burdened souls. He is present among us, offering a Sabbath rest for all the people of God in this world. We have the high honor to come to Jesus where he has promised to be found—in his holy church, where his Word is preached and his sacraments administered. There he continues to bring healing for weary hearts and strength for burdened souls.
Blessed Lord, grant that in the midst of our work, we may find rest and peace in your presence and may take joy in serving you, our refuge, our strength, and our great reward. Amen.
The almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve you. Amen
Serving you in Christ,
Pastor Shawn Nettleton
Rev. Shawn Nettleton is Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You can reach him in the church office, by email at nettleton@StJohnsFC.org or at 970-305-2420.