Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
Epistle: Romans 7:14-25a
Lesson: Zechariah 9:9-12
Psalm: Psalm 145:1-14
CLB Commentary – Dr. Eugene Boe
The text for this Sunday follows the rejection of Jesus by those who lived in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. They had no use for Jesus. They were not impressed by him, or by what he did among them, or by what he offered them. Jesus did not complain about this. But how did his twelve disciples deal with this? What questions did this rejection raise in their minds?
Jeffery Gibbs suggests that Matthew is “creating a close narrative link between 11:16–24, where Jesus’ ministry seems to be failing, and this remarkable text (11:25-30) that reveals that all is transpiring under the will and good pleasure of the Father and the Son. It is at that very time of seeming failure that Jesus’ words reveal what truly is transpiring.” 1 Rather than see this rejection as a failure, he gave thanks to God his Father for his way of revelation. It is God’s way of grace that he comes to those who have nothing other than their need, their distress, and their poverty. These are the ones who can be given to. The defining characteristic of the “infants” in this text should be read directly off its opposite, namely, the “wise and understanding.” 2 Jesus “is saying that the divine revelation comes to those who (are led by the Spirit to recognize that they) are ignorant, impotent, and incapable of saving themselves, just as a helpless infant relies completely on his parents for food, warmth, safety, and life itself.”3
At the center of God’s revelation is the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. In this Jesus, the Father has put all that he is. The Father and the Son know each other completely. It is through the Son that we know the Father. Without the Son there is no way to know the Father. The one who in faith knows Jesus as God’s Son the Savior, also knows God.
Jesus gives us a wonderful invitation. He says, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We can think about life’s burdens in general, but it is more accurate to think of the burdens of the law that weigh upon us as persons. (See Matthew 23:4 and Acts 15: 10) The promised gift is rest. The work that was needed to be done for our salvation has been completed by another. The burden of the law was carried by Jesus. The curse of the law was laid upon him. There is nothing left for us to do. All has been done. He takes the yoke of the law from us.
In place of our working we receive rest. Our Lord places on us the yoke of learning that he is gentle and that he receives the burdened one. This is not a yoke of law. It is a gospel yoke in which we are given all that Jesus is and has done for us. He lived carrying the yoke of the law. He went to the cross with our sins upon him. So now he puts on us the yoke of grace and forgiveness. He is our rest who give the weary and burdened sinner true rest.
1 Jeffrey A. Gibbs, Matthew 11:2–20:34, Concordia Commentary (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2010), 582.