It was about six months before the tragic end that Jesus sent out thirty-five deputations of two each. He was beginning that slow memorable journey south that ended finally at the cross. These men are sent ahead to prepare the way. By and by they return and make a glad exultant report of the good results attending their work. Even the demons had acknowledged the power of Jesus' name on their lips.
As He was listening Jesus looked up, and said, |Father, I thank Thee.| And then, as though He could see those great crowds to whom they had been ministering in His name, He said, |Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.|
There are two invitations here, |come| and |take.| There are two sorts of people. Those who are tugging and straining at work, and carrying heavy burdens, and then those who have received rest, and are now asked to go a step farther. There are two kinds of rest, a given rest, and a found rest. The given rest cannot be found. It comes as a sheer out gift, from Jesus' own hand. The found rest cannot be given, may I say? It comes stealing its gentle way in as one fits into Jesus' plan for his life.
Many folks have accepted the first of these invitations. They have |come| to Jesus, and received sweet rest from His hand. But they have gone no farther. At the close of that first invitation there is a punctuation period, a full stop. Some of the old schoolbooks used to say that one should stop at a period and count four. Well, a great many people have followed that old rule here, and more than followed. They have stopped at that period, and never gotten past it. I want just now to ask you to come with me as we talk together a bit about this second invitation, |Take My yoke.|
Jesus used several different words in tying people up to Himself. There is a growth in them, as He draws us nearer and nearer. First always is the invitation |Come unto Me.| That means salvation, life. Then He says, |Follow Me,| |Come after Me.| That means discipleship. |Learn of Me| means training in discipleship. |Yoke up with Me| means closest fellowship. |Abide in Me| leads one out into abundant life. |As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you,| means living Jesus' life over again. And then the last |Go ye| is the outer reach of all, service for a world.