Matt 11: 25 – 30

We are about half-way through Matthew’s gospel. In this section of the gospel Jesus faces opposition. In this passage he seems to be looking back over his activities. He considers what he has achieved, successes and failures. He realises that his message has had practically no effect on the rich and the learned of Jewish society, while it has been accepted joyfully by a small group of his disciples who cone from the poor and lowly classes.

Faced with such a disappointing result, we probably would feel discouraged. Instead Jesus expresses joy and blesses his Father for all that has taken place. This is one of the few prayers of Jesus reported in the gospels. 1 (arm 208

READ

Take time now to read Matt 11: 25 – 30. Although it is just six verses long you would be well advised to read it out loud, and several times.

25At that time, Jesus exclaimed, “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things form the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. 26Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. 27Everything has been entrusted to me by the Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28Come to me, all you who labour and overburdened, and I will give you rest. 29Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

WORDS

“.. revealing these things..”

What is the significance of this phrase? Let us look at what has just preceded our reading.

 Verse 5 “Go tell John what you hear and see.” This is followed by a description of the kingdom.
Verse 11 This speaks of entering the kingdom.
Verse 17 Again we are invited to reflect on entering the kingdom.
Both these incidents remind us to “choose life”.
Verse 21 Again we are encouraged to “choose life”. This is our adult responsibility

This contrasts with the call to child-like trust in God;   “revealing them to mere children .. for that is what it pleased you to do.”

“..no one knows
The verb “to know” in the Bible is not used to indicate that one has met with a person a few times or that we recognise somebody. It means to have a deep experience of that person, to have entered into a deep and intimate relationship with somebody.

“.. hiding these things form the learned and the clever..”
These words of Jesus do not mean that God purposely annoys the learned or important people, or that he does not like them. He is simply acknowledging the fact that the poor, the humble, the lowly, have been the first to accept and welcome his teaching of liberation.2 (arm 209

To help us understand this text better we will now divide it up.
Give each part a title.
This is how I understand it. Have you divided it differently?

 “Glory to God”
25At that time, Jesus exclaimed, “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things form the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. 26Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.

Jesus and the Father
27Everything has been entrusted to me by the Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son.

Our relationship with Jesus
and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28Come to me, all you who labour and overburdened, and I will give you rest. 29Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
To gain a clearer understanding of the first part we will rewrite it. Note how the writer emphasizes what is important for us.

“Glory to God”
25At that time, Jesus exclaimed, “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing them to mere children. 26Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.
We again find repetition in the third part of the reading.

Our relationship with Jesus
and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28Come to me, all you who labour and overburdened, and I will give you rest. 29Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

One of the most important aspects of today’s reading is that it gives us a golden opportunity to:

Pray using the words of Scripture.

 Eight parts have been selected which you may use for praying in words of scripture. It is wise to only use one or two of these for each period of prayer.

“Glory to God”
25At that time, Jesus exclaimed, 1.I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things form the learned and the clever and 2. revealing them to mere children. 26Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.

Jesus and the Father
3.
27Everything has been entrusted to me by the Father
; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son.

Our relationship with Jesus
and 4. those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (know) 5. 28Come to me, all you who labour and overburdened, and I will give you rest. 6. 29Shoulder my yoke and 7. learn from me, for 8. I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30Yes,  6. my yoke is easy and my burden light.

Enter into your using your imagination. Imagine you are seated at a round table with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. You enter into a deep conversation with them.
Each time respond using the selected words in the text.

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1. This is a prayer of praise. Think of the many times that you have seen the Good News in action. Enter whole heartedly into this prayer of praise.

2. When were you aware of receiving a new insight, a new understanding of God?
How open am I to growing in my understanding of God?
What new insight have you received into your relationship with Jesus?
Respond to God using these words, “for revealing to mere children.”

3. Bring to mind something that God has entrusted to you.

4. Do you really know Jesus?

 5. What an extraordinary invitation this is!

Take it seriously.
Repeat. “Come to me.”
Pray using the words of scripture, “Come to me.”

6. “Shoulder my yoke .. it is easy and light”
Everything costs. Jesus invites us to follow his teaching (yoke). He assures us tah there is a cost to living our lives by his standards, however this is a small price to pay. Paul tells us, “I want you to be happy.” Phil 4: 4 Everything Jesus asks of us in for our own good, to enable us to live life to the full – “have eternal life”.
Repeat, “your yoke is easy and your burden light.”

7. “Learn from me”
This is a third invitation. Savor these words as you repeat them. Listen to Jesus saying, “Learn from me,” and replying “Learn from him.”

8. Of all the qualities Jesus could have chosen it is remarkable that he choose “gentleness” as the first and then “humbleness”. Humility is acknowledging in all honesty our giftedness and our short-comings and placing these before the Lord in a spirit of gratitude and seeking forgiveness. Come before the Lord praying, “I am gentle, I will be gentle, I accept my giftedness and weakness in joy and regret. “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing these things to me.”