Come... unto Me

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

This is one of the most well known, and to many favourite, verses in the New Testament; this invitation from the Lord Jesus Christ to ‘come unto Him.”  Not only is the verse important and interesting for its own sake, but for where its stands in the Gospel of Matthew.

The background is that John the Baptist had been cast into prison, which because of his understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures he could not understand, for the Messiah was supposed to bring about the delivery of the captives (Isaiah 61:1), yet here he was languishing in prison as a prelude to his execution  So he sends a message to Christ seeking confirmation that he was indeed the promised Messiah.  

And lest the hearers should imagine that John was wilting under the pressure (he was in fact perhaps being impatient), the Lord publicly commends him as not a reed shaken in the wind, nor a man dressed in soft clothing but that he was a prophet.  But, says the Lord, he was more than a prophet, for he was the one who had been promised: “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee” (Matt. 11:10; Malachi 3:1)  Not only so but he was the one who pointed out Christ as the “Lamb of God, who would bear away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  And lest there should be any doubt about John the Lord tells us that “of them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (v.11).

The Lord then goes on to consider the generation that was about to behead the LORD’S Messenger and Crucify God’s Son: they were like children in the market place where nothing satisfied them, neither John nor Christ.

There then follows some of the severest words that ever left the lips of Christ; the warning of judgements that would overtake the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum because of their unbelief and rejection of Himself.

How it must have gladdened the heart of our Saviour to know that while the true things concerning himself were hidden from the ‘wise and prudent,’ that is from those who are wise in their own hearts and possess natural intelligence, the religious leaders of the day; the truth as to who he was and is was understood by those who would be considered babes.

So who is This One who came to take away the sin of the world?  Matthew goes on to quote the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, where He makes three remarkable claims. 

1.  “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.”  To Him has been committed all judgement, He has been exalted above all principality and power, and in Him all the fulness of God is pleased to dwell.

2.  “No man knoweth the Son but the Father” indicating that there are mysteries about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ that are beyond the understanding of human minds.  He is only fully known by God himself.

3.  “Neither knoweth any man the Father , save the Son. and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him,” that is to say that all knowledge of God can only be found through the person of Christ.  As he Himself said: “ I am the way the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

Let us ponder these words for one moment: for the Lord Jesus is claiming supreme authority, that his person is unfathomable, and that he and he alone can bring men and women to God his Father.  Had these claims been made by an ordinary man they would have been blasphemous, but they were not made by an ordinary man, but by the incarnate Son of God.

It is the same one who today offers rest to those who “Come unto Him.”  And let us note carefully that it is not an invitation to a religion but to a person.   It is He and He alone who can give us rest and assurance of the forgiveness of our sins, and in taking His yoke upon us find constant rest for our souls.

                  ‘Come unto Me, ye weary,

                  And I will give you rest’ —

                  Oh blessed voice of Jesus,

                  Which comes to hearts opprest!

                  It tells of benediction;

                  Of pardon, grace, and peace;

                  Of joy that hath no ending;

                  Of love which cannot cease.


© Douglas Carr 2021