Thursday 15 July 2010 Holy Communion at St Giles
Gospel Matthew 11
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Must be one of shortest gospel readings in lectionary. 3 short verses. Comes at end of chapter full of failure and woe.
Chapter 11 follows long passage of teaching. Given to disciples by Jesus. Mission of 12 (last week) followed by persecutions to come. Discipleship has cost – Jesus has come to bring not peace but a sword. Will set family members against each other. But despite cost, we should have no fear. Anyone who acknowledges Jesus will be acknowledged by him in heaven.
Then comes news from John the Baptist in prison. He asks what’s going on? What he hears being done does not sound like what he thinks a Messiah should be doing.
John hoped his mission of condemning sin and demanding repentance would be adopted. But it wasn’t. There is a theme of rejection.
Woe to this generation who rejected Jesus. They are likened to a group of children who did not dance when John and Jesus played the pipes. John called for mourning and repentance. Jesus invited them to rejoice. But they would not.
The OT prophets were rejected. The next words are those of disappointment. The Scribes and Pharisees opposed him in Capernaum. Jesus was laughed at by the crowd in his adopted home village.
So he moves on from John the Baptist who looked and sounded like the OT prophets. Jesus widened his scope after his rejection by the chosen people. He thanks God that what has been hidden from the wise and intelligent has been revealed to infants. Us.
So all this talk of rejection and disappointment can be left behind. And here we reach today’s gospel reading. It is full of encouragement for us. It is so short, I’ll read it again.
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Amen