We all like to receive an invitation, whether it is an invitation to a meal or a party, to a theater or a concert, or maybe even to a wedding. Usually at the bottom of an invitation are the cryptic letters RSVP. And most of us know that it is a request for us to reply in due course to the invitation.
John Stott told the story about a young couple from an eastern European nation who had found asylum in the free world and their knowledge of both English and French was very limited. So, when they received an invitation to a wedding with the letters RSVP at the bottom, they didn’t have the foggiest idea of what it meant. The husband racked his brain for a while until illumination seemed to dawn upon him. And he said, “I know vat it means… ‘Remember Send Vedding Present.’”
He thought it was a demand, when in reality it was an invitation to an offer. We have been looking at the greatest invitation ever made, and it was made by none other than the Lord of the universe. As you read these verses you will surely understand why they have come to be known as the comfortable words of Christ. For they are clearly the most tender and compassionate words of which our Lord uttered. These words have been immortalized in Handel’s Messiah as well as other writings outside of the Holy Scriptures.
From whom is the invitation given? Of course, the invitation is given by Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe. In Matthew’s Gospel, the invitation is issued just after Jesus has advanced some extra-ordinary human claims, claims that are exclusive and absolute.
To whom is the invitation given? It is addressed to us, to all human beings. But as he gives the invitation, he paints a picture that is not at all complimentary. He describes us as a bunch of oxen laboring under a mystic yoke and bearing a heavy, even crushing burden upon our backs. Jesus assumed, in other words, that all human beings are burdened. Think of some of the burdens that we bear: our anxieties, our fears, the burdens of our temptations, and maybe even of our responsibilities. And there is the sense, sometimes, that life has no meaning, thus the burden of meaninglessness. Then there is the burden of our failings, what have been called our sins, and therefore, of our guilt. We have all done something so profoundly wrong. In the liturgy it is called intolerable.
What does Jesus offer us? He offers us rest and relief. He offers us forgiveness for our sins. He offers us rest for our souls.
Yet, we must not forget that a response is required. Sadly, we all have from time to time forgotten to respond to an invitation, only to miss a deadline and thus miss the particular event. But to fail to respond to this offer is to miss out for all eternity. Join us this coming Lord’s Day as we consider the Greatest Invitation Ever Made, and especially, how you can respond to it in order to receive the offer.
Happy Mother’s Day! Our nation has set aside this Sunday to especially honor mothers. Join us as we pray for our mothers.
Plan to join us Sunday May 21 for a churchwide fellowship immediately following our morning worship. We will provide the meat (chicken) and drinks and ask for you to bring some side dishes and desserts. We are eagerly anticipating this time together.
For His Glory,