Jesus’ Prayer of Thanksgiving
At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!
“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:25-30 NLT
My Thoughts: In my last blog, Jesus gave us a harsh warning regarding the judgment of unbelievers and the role we are to play in helping them know more about him. Today we see Jesus launch into prayer.
His prayer has three parts and the last portion is unrelated to the first two parts of his prayer:
- First, Jesus thanks his Father God for hiding the truth of his words to those that refuse to have a relationship with him.
- Next, Jesus explains that there is a strong relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son. To know the Father we have to first know the Son.
- Finally, Jesus offers a helping hand to those who are weary which has nothing to do with the rest of the prayer.
Remember, Jesus is speaking to people in different towns when he encountered opposition from unbelievers. I love that Jesus speaks his prayer out loud for everyone to hear. His message is to inform those unbelievers the reason they don’t understand what he is saying, is because they think they are too wise and too clever. He also tells them that the reason they can’t possibly know him as the Messiah (as his Father knows him) is because Jesus chooses us, but only when we first choose Him.
Then suddenly his prayer takes a drastic turn and Jesus extends a hand of mercy and calls out for those who are weary and need rest. Who was in the crowd that day that needed to hear those words?
I can almost imagine the skeptics and unbelievers jeering and shouting words of disbelief at Jesus, telling him to leave their town. Instead of fighting them, Jesus prays for them and the Father reveals to Jesus there is one (or maybe more) who is tired and overcome with their life. Perhaps with all the skeptics around they were too frightened to cry out and ask for help. But their heart was burning for the message Jesus was sharing and they knew he was the very thing they needed. Although their words may have been silent their faith cried out loud and Jesus heard them and felt compassion. He offered them hope and rest.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Is that you? Are you in a place where you think you can’t handle one more thing, one more problem, one more…, anything? Jesus also hears your weary soul and He wants to carry your burdens. There are times in our lives when things are too heavy, so what do we do? We reach out and ask for help. The Bible tells us that Christ says:
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV
If you are a believer and you are carrying a heavy load, please reach out to God for help. If you are a planner, outline what you need and take it to God. If you are so overwhelmed you still aren’t sure what you need, then take it to God! God is always our first answer. Perhaps it’s so overwhelming all you can do is just cry. Well, you know what? God says that is okay too because he hears and sees our tears!
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” Romans 8:26-27 NLT
I love this verse! When we are so confused or so overwhelmed, all we need to do is cry out to God with our tears and the Spirit will intervene with the right words on our behalf! What an amazing benefit of having a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Next, ask for help from another mature and trusted believer, or perhaps a counselor, or even an agency that can offer relief. What Jesus is telling us in his prayer is that God never meant for us to be overburdened and he will help us shoulder the burden.
Before we go any further, I do have a ‘however’ for us.
However, please know that there is a difference between being burdened and in doing your own daily work. God clearly tells us:
“For each one should carry his own load.” Galatians 6:5 NIV
You may be asking for a little more clarification for a ‘load.’ Please let me share some wise advice I received from a pastor:
Everyone in the world has a ‘load’ which is their own responsibility to carry each and every day. It includes things like our relationship with God, our family, our jobs, and our daily care needs (utilities, gas, laundry, food, etc.). It’s not anyone’s responsibility but ours to manage and care for our daily load.
For instance, if I’m a recently graduated college student my primary load is to find a job, save up money to get a place of my own, and begin to take care of myself. It does not mean that I hang on to those footloose and fancy free college days and mooch off of my parents until I feel like doing any of those things! When I do that, my lack of responsibility for my own load suddenly becomes a burden to my parents! Do you see how that works?
The prayer Jesus prays in our reading today has nothing to do with someone who is being irresponsible and not carrying their own load, but specifically to someone in the crowd who is overwhelmed by a burden. Maybe they lost a spouse, or a job, maybe a child is sick, or maybe they are overburdened with that irresponsible college student? Whatever the problem, Jesus saw it that day and he extended words of mercy to help them find their way.
I’d like to think when Jesus left after his prayer this person’s faith was strong enough, and the words of Jesus were compelling enough, they made the decision to follow him. That process would have put them in touch with other believers that could help them find their way back to solid ground.
If you sincerely seek Jesus, he will sincerely find you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV
Closing Prayer: Father, I love how your compassion overrides any frustration for those who refuse to believe in you. What I love the most is you never give up on us! Father thank you for the encouragement of your words that remind me if I want to know more about you, I must first surrender my heart to you. In the middle of the towns refusal to hear Jesus speak, we learn there is at least one who needed mercy and help from the LORD, and you answered their weary heart. How many times have you extended mercy and encouragement to me, when I have been overburdened LORD? Every time, dear Jesus, every time, and I praise your Holy Name for this blessing. Amen.