The Facts of Life

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.
—Matthew 11:27-30, NIV (Jesus speaking)

Three things in this passage stand out for me:

All things are under Jesus’ control

Do not be deceived. Jesus has already won the victory. His Father gave Him all things. He has been given all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), and He has ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9) to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty (Hebrews 8:1), where He intercedes for His servants (1 John 2:1) The second time He comes is not to deal with sin, for He completed that work upon the cross, but to rescue those who love Him (Hebrews 9:18).

Where in all this is there room for Satan? There is none! Satan is a liar, the father of all lies in fact, and a deceiver. There is no enemy territory, for all things are the Lord’s. Do not succumb to the satanic lie that evil has any legitimacy or power. Remember, Satan has to have permission from God to test the sons of men (Job 1:6-12). Therefore when you fall into temptations and trials, remember that God would never allow you to be tempted beyond your ability to resist. A good teacher allows the students to be tested, but the test is constructed to teach and to strengthen, not to destroy; therefore you are never given a test you cannot pass. Greet adversity with joy (James 1:2-4), because only the better students are given the harder tests, and when they pass them, they are given the greater rewards.

There are many Christians who would give Satan glory and honor and ascribe great works of power to him. Not me! I live in a unipolar universe, where only Jesus reigns. If you don’t live there, I strongly urge you to move. This is a much nicer place to be.

Jesus claims to be the only way, yet he claims to be humble!

This is clearly contradictory unless His self-image is accurate. Sayings like this make it clear that we cannot accept Jesus as an ethical teacher while rejecting His divine claims, because then our ethics would come from a delusional maniac!

I remember once I got into one of those preposterous arguments with a friend about whether or not I knew a certain third party. Finally in frustration I asked, “How can you possibly know who my friends are?”

So only those who know Jesus know God and are saved. But who can tell who knows Jesus? Only Jesus can judge that. To whom does Jesus reveal His Father? To those whom He chooses. We might invent a theology to predict whom Jesus will choose, but in the end that is His sovereign choice.

If the exclusivity of this claim offends you, ask yourself this: Do you trust Jesus to choose correctly? If you do, you shouldn’t be troubled.

Jesus imposes a yoke and a burden upon us.

A lot of us use this passage to portray the Christian life as one of ease and relaxation, but even though the yoke is easy, we still wear a yoke. Even though the burden is light, we still carry a burden. We are saved by our faith for a purpose: to do the work of His kingdom. We wear the yoke of His discipline, we carry the burden of His commandments. But having been given the assurance of the reward up-front, His yoke is truly easy and His burden is truly light.

Let us work hard for Him, not as if we could thereby earn the salvation which is already assured us as a gift, but to show ourselves worthy of His choice and grateful for His kindness.

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