Interpreting Matthew 11:28
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Apostle Mathew in his book talks in great length about the Messiah Jesus Christ the son of God. His work is the first book of the New Testament and was first written in Greek language before being translated into other languages. In Matthew 11:28, the great Apostle zeros in on core mission of Jesus Christ when he came down to the world, to save God’s people from evil and provide them with a chance to lead eternal life devoid of the tribulations on earth. The verse points out to the ability of Jesus Christ in salvaging the human kind so long as they are ready to repent and turn away from their sinful ways and follow him. It urges the Jews and by extension all the Christians to follow the Messiah so that they can find rest
In the Ancient Greek, people believed it was extremely hard to reach God even though they continually tried their best to see if they will be able to reach him. This verse can be interpreted to be a message and an encouragement to Greek at that particular time that they should leave this to Jesus and follow his teachings which will eventually lead them to God the father of Jesus Christ. “It says come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest”. The Greek were worried lot in the sense that they may not be able to find God. The verse speaks to their hearts to stop being worried about the possibility of not finding God and leave that to Jesus to lead them in finding God. The Apostle presented Jesus Christ as a bridge through which the troubled men will finally be able to find their God. God had stayed 400 years without revealing himself to the people in anyway before the Messiah was born and it is understandable why the Greeks were now becoming restless worried about why God had abandoned them. (Kittel, Bromiley and Friedrich 2014)
The erse can also be interpreted to mean message of relieve to the Jews who were heavily burdened by rigorous rules and laws set by the Pharisees in order to be viewed as a righteous person. The Pharisees themselves did not follow these laws as they indulged in life and had it easy while the majority of the Jews people labored or struggled to follow each and every law put in place by them. At that time it was widely believed that they were other laws that God told Moses orally and so the Pharisees would came up with a myriad of complex laws and regulations and claim that they were part of what God told Moses orally. The Apostle Mathew message to the Jews came to inform them of a Messiah who can take way all those burdens and relieve them of the heavy loads of sticking to myriad of laws in pursuit of God. The verse talks Jesus Christ as the son of God who came to earth to provide a true way to God devoid of many laws and rules that Jews struggled to strictly adhere to as required by the Pharisees. (Copeland 2012)
Message of Repentance and Good Works
The scripture also refers to a man heavily burdened and disturbed by his consciousness having committed transgressions that he would not have liked to commit, the man who is struggling to re-establish himself before the eyes of God but doesn’t fully understand how to go about it. The Apostle in his book in Matthew 11:28 reassure this man that there is way in which he can reconnect with God again through his Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah. (Cairns 2011) The Christ is standing with his open arms welcoming his people to follow him as he leads the way to God. The heavy sinner is thus provided an opportunity by the Christ to have all his sins washed away and he remains clean and acceptable before God’s eye. The Apostle is talking to the Jews urging them the follow Jesus Christ and he will help them. The verse points out to the presence of a helper who will help sinners do away with the sins and give them peace of mind having mended there ways with God. At that time people used to connect directly to God through series of actions which God used to reveal himself to the people. But he had stayed for many years without doing so people were struggling to it that they are forgiven sins that they commit, thus Mathew is teaching the Jews and by extension all the Christians about the presence of Messiah, the savior who will clean them and lead them to God, the Father. (Palmer 2015)
The verse can also refers to the hearths of the troubled men in the world full of diseases, robbery, violence and general lack of peace. The earth where no one stays without his guards on and manages to survive on his own might. The men’s own might is insufficient to the might of the world. The scripture therefore in Matthew 11:28 provide solace to the men, telling them there is someone who would provide that peace of hearth in wake of the earths tribulations and challenges. That all they need to do is to follow Jesus Christ and will see all these problems taken away by him. The reason behind this is that Jesus Christ the son of God is mighty before all the earth’s problems and challenges none of them can even provide slightest challenge to him thus he dispenses with them with ease. On the other hand the men of the earth do not have these powers against the earth’s forces thus it mounts a great challenge to them and more often than not it overcomes them and throws them into problems. The Apostle therefore in this verse reaches out to all Jews and Christians in general to stop being troubled and worried by the problems and challenges in the earth and cast all those to Jesus Christ who will not only give them rest them but also provide peace in their hearths. (Heaster 2014)
Savior and Salvation
The scripture is also urging the Jews to be people of good work. When they follow Jesus they should not be people of do evil for in so doing they will continue suffering and facing all the problems in the earth. It says “Come to me you all who are weary…” This is Jesus speaking to his people through the Apostle. By saying “come” it means leave what you are doing and follow Jesus. The scripture directs that those of Christ must leave their earthly ways and follow the narrow and righteous path of Jesus Christ which will grant them peace. That one can not do earthly things and yet claim to be following the footsteps of the Messiah for he is righteous and pure and can not therefore be party to the earthly things. The Apostle is reinforcing the message of repentance in this particular verse in a different way by simply saying “come...” Men can not simply go to Jesus by walking there but by leaving their earthly behaviors and repenting their sins before him and they shall become righteous and acceptable before the eyes of the God. This will come in exchange of peace and happy dwelling having all the tribulations taken over by Jesus Christ, the Messiah. (Stanton 2010)
Apostle Matthew also in this verse encourages God’s people that there is an opportunity to work with Christ and God again. This is an opportunity that people need to take advantage of having been no communication between God and man kind for long period before Jesus Christ came to the world. It is of paramount importance that God’s people remain in communication with their creator so that they may be able to lead righteous life that is pleasing to the eyes of the lord. The scripture in this verse emphasizes this notion in different way in that God desires to see his people remain in contact with him always. That it is not pleasing to God seeing his people suffering because they have not mended their ways with him. The Apostle therefore tells the Jews to mend their ways with the God through his son Jesus Christ and they will have an opportunity to work with God once again as they would wish. He tells them the path they are pursuing is not right; God had distanced himself from them as a result of their sinful nature love of material and earthly things or possessions. Working with God will provide peace of mind with them; they shall find rest and God will once again reveal himself or manifest himself to them in various ways as desired by the Jews. None of these would therefore happen if the people are not working with God and they will continue toiling until such a time when they will truly start working with God, doing things which please God and as directed by him. (Barclay 2001)
Reflecting on the above analysis or extended explanations of scripture as put by the Apostle in Matthew 11:28, we learn of God who is always stretching his hands to us, going out of his way to see to it that his people have a chance to be with him. He sees the tribulation his people go through and he is not pleased with it. He uses Matthew as a vessel to convey this message of hope to all those people who are weary and ensuring that any person has a chance to get this message and find a helper who will take away his sins and burdens and make him have rest. This is God who is willing to take up burdens that do not belong to him; he goes further and sends his own son down to earth where he doesn’t have to be but because of God’s love to his people, Jesus Christ comes down so that people/sinners can be saved and also the word of God is fulfilled as written in the old testament. We can also deduce that God had seen the tribulations the Jews were going through in religiously following the laws that were set by the Pharisees and he was not pleased with it. In the eyes of the God that was not the righteous life as he envisaged it because most of the laws that were put in place by the Pharisees were man-made without Gods anointing and guidance.
Barclay, William. 2001. The Gospel Of Matthew. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press.
Cairns, Alan. 2011. Dictionary Of Theological Terms. Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International.
Cooke, Richard. 2009. New Testament. London: SCM Press.
Copeland, Mark A. 2012. The Gospel Of Matthew. Ebook. 1st ed. New York.https://m.biblestudyguide.org/ebooks/copeland/matt_so.pdf.
Eden, Hilaire. 2011. Apostle Matthew. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press.
Heaster, Dancun. 2014. "Verse By Verse Commentary On Gospel Of Matthew". Christadelphian, no. 1. https://heaster.org/Matthew.pdf.
Kittel, Gerhard, Geoffrey William Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich. 2014. Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
Marksman, Hilaire. 2008. Bible Exposition. 2nd ed. Alabama: Books for Libraries Press.
Palmer, David Robert. 2015. "The Gospel Of MATTHEW". Bible Translation, no. 2: 1-37. https://bibletranslation.ws/trans/matt.pdf.
Stanton, Graham. 2010. A Gospel For A New People. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press.
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