“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” John 5:39-40
“Come.” It’s just a little word, but it’s one of the most profound words to come from the mouth of Jesus. It’s an invitation, issued to people like you and I. People who struggle with everyday life issues.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
This has always been one of my favourite scriptures. How good it is to know that we have Jesus, on whom to lay life’s heavy burdens. However, if we read on, we see that there’s so much more to the invitation than just laying down our burdens (not that that’s a small thing)
In the next verse Jesus goes on to say, “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.” Matthew 11:29
To be yoked with Jesus doesn’t mean laying down one burden to pick up another, and then try to carry that burden instead. Jesus actually carries this as well. I love the imagery that Jesus uses of the yoke.
When a young ox is being yoke-trained, he is coupled with an older, stronger, more experienced ox. This older ox takes the lead, shouldering most of the weight. When the younger one tries to pull in the wrong direction, the older one pulls him back on course, and keeps a steady pace.
This is a lovely picture of how Jesus works with us, keeping right alongside us, taking the weight out of life, setting the pace, keeping us on course.
The first time Jesus issued the invitation to “come” is in Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” Matthew 4:19
“I will make you -fishers of men”. It’s Jesus who teaches and trains us, where we are willing to be taught and trained. I’m sure you have read or heard that well known saying – I’m not sure where it first originated – “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”
But we first have to answer the call.
Come on His Terms
What are the things we do when we receive an invitation? We read the “terms”. The date, time whether we should bring anything and importantly, the dress code.
So it is with Jesus invitation.
The time: Now. It’s always now.
Often we believe we have to wait. This belief comes from all sorts of thinking patterns; One of the biggest things that hold us back from answering the invitation is feeling unworthy. So many feel that they need to be a better person first; nicer, more ‘acceptable’. But even our squeaky cleanest, by our standards, is like a pile of filthy rags, when we’re trying to wheel and deal with the King of Kings on our terms. (See Isaiah 64:6 )
Others feel they should know their Bible better first, maybe go to Bible college so that they’d be ‘more useful’. Some feel bogged down in young parenthood and think they need to wait till the children are a bit older and they have more time. Some are afraid of what Jesus might ask them to give up. As if He wouldn’t give us a thousand times more than any measly things we possess.
The time is always right now.
The dress code: Come as you are. Come unworthy, come unclean, rejected by your peers, forsaken, abused, angry, an outcast, come forgotten, overlooked, come with all your pride, come with your habit of lying, your addictions, your striving, your empty religion. Jesus has the perfect clothing to exchange for all your old rags: “a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair” Isaiah 61:3
“he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
As with any invitation, Jesus’ call to come to Him requires a response. How will you respond?