“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 11:28-30
Anyone can come to Jesus?
Really? Did I read that verse correctly?
Yes, the invitation is for everyone.
And depending on which translation of the book of Matthew you are reading, you will find the word “anyone” appearing in the teachings of Jesus approximately 40 times. The word “everyone” appears an additional 10 times. The word “whoever” shows up around 20 times.
What are we to make of that?
At least this:
Jesus doesn’t make exceptions.
Isn’t that interesting? Especially when you consider these few examples of how most of us think:
- We see that there is a line, but we think there must be a faster way for us. Exceptions.
- We look and see that there is a process in place, but we think that we can skip a couple of steps here and there. Exceptions.
- We find there is a checklist to be followed, but we think that we can start in the middle. Exceptions.
In short, we live in a world of exceptions. We are “yeah, but…” kind of people. As in, “Yeah, this is generally how things work, but not for me.”
But, remember – Jesus doesn’t make exceptions.
On the one hand, that fact can be very troubling. For example:
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37-39).
You see, there are no loopholes here; no exceptions to be made. This is the word of the Lord for the young and the old; the rich and the poor; the powerful and the meek. If we are looking for the “yeah, but” as it applies to us, then we should not look to Jesus, for He does not make exceptions.
But the inclusive nature of Jesus is far more incredible than troubling. Because inasmuch as His “anyones” and “whoevers” may apply to us in the previous reference, we also find them in statements like these:
“The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests” (Matthew 22:8-10).
We are the “anyones” in this scenario, as well. We are the ones who don’t deserve to be at the banquet. The dirty, the downtrodden, the ones at the end of our ropes. Oh yes, this is the glory of being “anyone.” Because we are the “anyones” who know they should not be invited to the banquet, yet we are precisely the “anyones” the Master desires to be there.
Here again – Jesus doesn’t make exceptions.
Thank goodness He doesn’t.
No, Jesus plays by the same rules when it comes to each and every one of us.
So when Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest,” you can trust that He is talking to you.
Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor
To read more of Michael’s writing, check out his daily blog, Forward Progress http://michaelkelley.co/