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Sermon July 9 2023

Pentecost 6 A 2023 Burdens Sermon

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 Today we have one of the most comforting Bible verses in all of scripture.  Listen again to Christ’s words.  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Yes.  We all have burdens.  And some of the burdens that we carry are heavy.  Just consider all the things that weigh down our hearts and lives: death, loss, illness, worry, politics, financial hardships, grief, guilt, marital tension, traumatic events.

 Each one of these burdens is a weight that we carry on our shoulders. And many of these burdens are inevitable and entirely outside our realm of control. So, when we hear today that Jesus will ease our burdens it is music to our ears.

It is indeed Good News to hear: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Jesus knows the burdens that we face in this world.  Jesus knows the pressure, and the problems, and the concerns that we all have living in this world.  And He tells us, place these burdens on Him, and we will find rest.

The verse today reminds me of the Hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”  You know the lyrics.  It goes like this.  “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

My friends, Jesus does answer prayer.  And He promises to relieve our burdens and give us His support.  Matthew chapter 6 states “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”

Or “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ Or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Yes, Jesus knows our every burden and our every care, and He promises us that He will be there for us.  Do you remember Luther’s explanation to the First Article of the Apostles Creed?  It goes like this.  “God has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.”

“He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have.  He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.  He defends me against all danger, and guards and protects me from all evil.  All this He does out of Fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without merit or worthiness in meThis is most certainly true.”

God truly provides all that we need, and yet, as we all well know, we still have burdens.  We still have burdens because sin has corrupted God’s good creation. 

We still have burdens because the evil one has power over us.  We still have burdens because sin has separated us from God and one another.

But God has provided the answer to our sinful condition.  He sent His Son to deliver us from the power of the evil one.  He sent His Son to take away the sin of the world.  He sent His Son to die in our place so that you and I can experience the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and the gift of life everlasting.

Jesus has taken upon Himself the burden of our sin.  On the cross, Jesus washed us clean so that sin and death will have no power over us. 

And that is what makes our yokes easy, and our burdens light.  Christ’s Resurrection is our Resurrection.  Christ’s Victory is our Victory. 

Even so, not everyone knows this truth.  Scripture informs us that “this truth” has been hidden from the wise and understanding folks but revealed to the Lord’s children.  And now, today, it has been revealed to you. 

Therefore come and hear what Jesus has to say. Jesus said: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Let us pray:  Heavenly Father, your strength is stronger than mountains and deeper than oceans. You take care of our needs and watch over us day and night.  Teach us to hold confidently to your grace that in times of fear and danger we may know that you are near and depend on you.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.