SERMON FOR THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY, JULY 23, 2017
YOU SIMPLY NEED TO KNOW. Matthew 11:25-30
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. “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. “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.”
God doesn’t leave us in doubt as to what the eternal truth is but if you try to understand God’s Word and work without faith nothing in the Bible will make much sense. The point is that every doctrine of Scripture ends in a mystery because it all takes us back to God himself. Scripture is true because God the Holy Spirit gives us the faith to believe it’s true. That is the very thing that Jesus was dealing with as he spoke to his disciples about the simplicity of his teachings. YOU SIMPLY NEED TO KNOW. You need to know the truth about God’s saving work. You need to know the truth only Jesus can reveal. You need to know that God plans for you to find rest in him.
1. “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Jesus had a difficult confrontation with a number of influential leaders in some of the cities where he had performed the majority of his miracles. They were like children playing. They wanted to play one game for a while and then another game the next minute. Jesus had no intentions of trying to keep up with their whims. He was teaching them that they were totally dependent on God but that was not what they were learning. Instead they looked for more miracles, more exciting shows, and no spiritual value.
As sad as all this sounds Jesus found in these events a reason for a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to his heavenly Father. The things that he was talking about were the simple truths of God’s plan for salvation. The truth is that the Bible is God’s Word. It is the story of God’s love. You are saved by God’s undeserved love that moved Jesus to pay for our sins on the cross. Obviously there is a lot more to what the Bible teaches than that, but that is the central truth. All the other teachings of the Bible support that teaching. The Holy Scripture is God’s message of love for the world and anyone who is “too smart” to understand it is just too smart for his own good. God calls that ignorance and foolishness.
A childlike faith like Jesus is talking about is one that let’s God talk and then listens to him. We need the humility, the simple willingness to acknowledge that he is God and we aren’t. There wasn’t enough of that around when Jesus said these words and there isn’t enough of it around now. It takes courage and the simplicity of a child to say that only Jesus can save us and take us safely to heaven. Without him we just won’t go. Without Jesus you’ll never know the One true God. YOU SIMPLY NEED TO KNOW. You need to know the truth about God’s saving work. You need to know the truth only Jesus can reveal.
2. St. Paul says that no one is able to figure out God’s plan of salvation and the way God’s grace works. It is something that has to be revealed. There are countless people who believe what the Bible says and still don’t find Jesus in it. Even the Jewish leaders at Jesus’ time didn’t understand Jesus when he said that the Old Testament Scriptures testify of him. To them the Old Testament was nothing but a list of rules and ceremonies people had to follow to get right with God. When we read the Bible we need to look for Jesus. He reveals the Father that no one will really know without him.
If you want to know the Father and the kind of love the Father has just remember the way he loved the world. He gave his One and only Son. The Son set aside his glory as true God and took a human nature in order to be a servant, God’s suffering servant. Jesus had to die for a world full of people who deserved to die themselves and spend an eternity separated from God. He was forsaken by his own Father on the cross so that we could be counted worthy to spend eternity with God. He died but he rose from the dead to to give us that gift of eternal life with him. If the god you worship didn’t do that then that imaginary god is worthless. If the god people worship demands something before he gives you anything that god is no god at all. YOU SIMPLY NEED TO KNOW. You need to know the truth about God’s saving work. You need to know the truth only Jesus can reveal. You need to know that God plans for you to find rest in him.
3. The people Jesus talked to were used to carrying heavy loads. They might not have even realized it. King David said that day and night God’s hand was heavy on him. That was because of guilt that David tried to carry himself rather than going to God for the mercy that only the God could show. Have you ever felt a load like that? Have things ever been just too much for you to handle? Have the problems and the stresses ever been just too big? Those are things that have almost become a way of life for us. We want everything right now. Nothing is certain. What it going to crash and burn next? It’s just too much.
Of course God does not enjoy seeing his people suffering but God can use those loads we sometimes carry to serve a very important purpose. Jesus invites us to himself and says that he will give us rest. God didn’t promise to help you carry the load you carry. He didn’t promise to forgive most of your sins. He didn’t promise to get you 99% of the way back to God. Jesus carried it all. Jesus paid for it all. Jesus brought us all the way back to our Father. That is rest. That is the Sabbath God trained his Old Testament people to treasure. It is knowing that Jesus took away the greatest problem we will ever face and conquered the greatest enemy any of us have and he cured the greatest fear humans face. Jesus lived, died, and rose again to take our sins away along with all the eternal results of sin.
Yes we still face a lot of things every day that we would rather not face. Too often we carry loads that God already carried for us. Jesus invites us back again and tells you he wants you to let him carry it all. He assures us of his forgiveness again and again. He takes our hands and leads us with the reminder that if he could and did do all that he can take care of us one day at a time too. And he does. YOU SIMPLY NEED TO KNOW. You need to know the truth about God’s saving work. You need to know the truth only Jesus can reveal. You need to know that God plans for you to find rest in him.