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Lately, I’ve been captivated by the word ‘Come’. As part of my devotional one morning, I read a verse – one that many are familiar with and one that I have read many times. However, this time, I couldn’t help but continue to think of this word. But, God’s word is a mystery. I’m a firm believer that God continues to speak to us in His living Word in our particular need at His particular time. I truly also believe that God sends us what we need when we need it.
The verse is Matthew 11:28, which says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” It’s a verse that brings comfort to those who read it, because of His sustaining strength in our times of weariness. For some reason, when I read it this time, ‘Come’ really stood out. Upon a quick search in the four gospels, I find that the word ‘Come’ has power. It is commanding and at the same time compassionate, inviting while admonishing. And as only Jesus could, He wraps all these together. In numerous verses, He uses “Come” to state His mission. Matthew 9:13 tells us that He has come to call the sinners, not the righteous. Again, Matthew 18:11 says: “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” The Son of Man “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Matthew 10:34 admonishes: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” In Matthew 24:5, He warns of false prophets: “for many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” He admonishes his followers of the cost of following Him in Matthew 16:24: “..If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny Himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” He uses the simple word “Come” to command demons to leave (Mark 1:25, Mark 5:8, Mark 9:25). He healed the afflicted (Mark 3:3, Matthew 8:7) and raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43).
In all the uses of the word “Come”, the most comforting meaning to me is when He invites us to come to him. He invited Zaccheus to “hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5). In John 4:16, He invites the Samaritan woman to “call her husband and come” to drink of the Living Water. Knowing Peter’s fear, He compassionately (and commandingly) invited Peter to come and walk on water toward Him (Matthew 14:29). He invited the rich young ruler (Mark 10:21) and the children (Mark 10:14). He invited His disciples on the journey that forever changed their lives (John 1:39). He invites us (believers and non-believers alike) to come and to follow Him (Matthew 22:4, John 7:37). And for all of those who believe in Him and follow Him, this is what He will do: He will give us the rest He promised in Matthew 11:28 here in this life. But He doesn’t stop there. Matthew 25:34 states: “Then the King will say to those on His right, Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
What do we do with this invitation? I would surmise that the response may vary, as we are all different. For me, three responses are required. First and foremost, I thank Him for the invitation and accept it. Knowing that the cost is not cheap, and the task is not easy, I follow Him. He has not promised that the journey won’t be difficult. But, since He has sacrificed His life for me and has kept all His promises - if He prepared a house for me, He will also prepare a way. Once we accept the invitation, we are to invite others. How did Philip and the Samaritan woman respond when they first met Jesus? John 1:45 says “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of who Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph’”. Nathanael had his doubts, and Philip said to him, “Come and see” (John 1:46). Nathanael followed and believed. The Samaritan woman invited the entire village to “come, see a man who told me all things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” (John 4:28-30). Our response ought to be as grand. Our response to Jesus invitation to come is to GO. Matthew 28: 19 says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We ought to invite others to come and find the Savior. Our third response should then be to await His return eagerly, to invite Him to come back to us and rescue us. I believe it can be summed in John’s Revelation 22:20: “Come, Lord Jesus.” Nothing more and nothing less.
It amazes me that a simple word like “come” can carry such a punch. But then again, the Lord uses the simple things to fulfill His purposes and carry His message. It also amazes me that I had read this verse many times, and THIS time, this simple word stood out to me. I can’t say that I was under extreme duress or hardship, but Jesus spoke to me through this word. He works in amazing ways. The next time you read Scripture, I pray that He would give you a verse or word that leads you to explore further. There’s no joy as when you hear His word in a new way. When you do, I would invite you to share this message with others. Sharing a message from the Lord is encouraging and uplifting.
Sherif Mikhael - Elder, HOPE Church Raleigh
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