"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
But how does Jesus feel about offering his invitation to people? And how does he get to a point where he says these great words, even in the midst of a time when people are finding fault with him and not committing to follow him? (It seems people are wanting Jesus to play along to their tune, rather than responding by obeying him.) Here's my run-down of some of the earlier parts of chapter 11.
verses 7-10. Following a visit from some of John the Baptist's followers, Jesus questions the crowds about the fiery teacher himself, John the Baptist: “You went to see John for a reason, remember? He’s a man of iron, an earnest man (you saw this), and he’s a prophet whose job was to point to the coming of the Lord.”
v11-15 “After the Prophets and the Law came, John has come, and now after him something far greater: the kingdom of God is here for all to enter - if people hear and avail themselves of this opportunity.”
v16-19 “What are you like? You don’t want to listen to John, and now you won’t listen to me (the greater one)! You have seen by our actions that we are from God.” (Actions including: John’s forthright teaching and lifestyle which captured crowds, and now Jesus’ teaching, amazing authority and miracles)
v20-24 Jesus denounces those who did not repent. “You cities who have not repented will not remain! Even when the wicked people from Sodom or Tyre or Sidon would have responded, you have not! You will face punishment for not responding in this unique time to me.”
v25-27 Jesus speaks to his Father: “Father, Lord of all kingdoms, thank you for how you hide and reveal your truth at the right times, so people can know you, all in line with your plan”
v28-29 Trusting God and with love for the people there anyway, Jesus invites people to him, promising them “rest for their souls” when they join with him.
It still amazes me how faithful God is to us in his Son Jesus when we are so faithless to Him.
Check out the 07.03.2010 talk I gave on this chapter on my church's website for more, and see what Jesus' response to the crowds was, his frustration with them and the judgement he announces as well as his great love to want to help them and give to them from his great riches: http://www.aechurch.org.uk/aec_sermons.php