When your phone or any other piece of technology is on the fritz, what do you do? You refresh the gadget by powering it off and turning it back on. You put it to sleep and wake it back up, hoping it will go through the proper start-up sequence.
Matthew 11 is a chapter full of confusion. Everyone is spiritually on the fritz! John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus because he is confused. “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another” (Matthew 11:3)? The people are confused because they are not sure how to respond to Christ’s message. John and Jesus at times seem to be pointing to the same thing, the Kingdom of God, yet their messages seemed different. The cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were confused and refused to accept Jesus’ message. As a result, they would suffer a tragic fate.
Jesus pictures the confusion beautifully by describing a scene in the marketplace. Maybe around the corner of one building, you would find children performing a play. At times the children are frolicking with joy, and at other times they are mourning the tragedy. However, the entertainment freezes and the children are perplexed because their audience does not respond emotionally. It is here where Jesus tenderly diagnosis the listener’s problem—they are broken people.
When John preached, people should have sensed the need for repentance. On the stage of God’s story, the drama cues the mournful response to man’s sinfulness. However, the world injects into their system the drugs of entertainment and frivolity. They pursue entertainment more out of fear of repentance than a love for amusement. They are repulsed by the emotion. “Life is about happiness,” the world says. However, one finds the path to eternal joy through the door of mourning.
When Jesus preached, he preached the gospel. It was the good news to the poor. “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5). With such a message, the crowds should have been filled with joy! But they weren’t. Since they shortcircuited happiness in their lives by pursuing other things, they could never process the message of joy which only comes by repentance.
The fact is we are all broken and confused people, but Jesus always has the answer. He calls to the His listeners, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28). This is Jesus’ favorite invitation. In order to repair what is broken about us, we must be refreshed. When Jesus promises rest, He is not promising a peaceful slumber. Oswald Chambers describes rest as the “perfection of vital activity.” So few come to Jesus only because it requires the shutdown of pride. We must genuinely mourn our condition and brokenness. “Blessed are they that mourn,” Jesus said, “for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
Will you allow Christ to refresh your soul? By coming to Jesus, you have begun the start-up sequence in your life which will lead you to heavenly joy.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. — Romans 15:13