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The Greatest Invitation Ever Made

The way to find rest is to lose our burden at the cross and then allow Christ to put his yoke upon us instead.


All of us enjoy receiving invitations—to a meal, a wedding, or a concert. Usually, when the invitation is printed on a little card, there are cryptic letters written at the bottom: RSVP. We know what those letters mean. They are an abbreviation of a French request to reply to the invitation. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that.

A couple found political asylum in this country during the Second World War. They came from Eastern or Central Europe, and they were not well versed in American culture. One day they received an invitation to a wedding, and at the bottom of the invitation were those cryptic letters: RSVP. In his thick, Eastern European accent, the husband said, "Vife, vat does it mean: RSVP? " So they thought for a while, until inspiration dawned, and the husband said, "Vife, I know vat it means: Remember Send Vedding Presents."

They made a mistake by imaging that the message was a demand when, in reality, it was an invitation. Unfortunately, there are many people who make the same mistake about Jesus Christ and the gospel. They think it is a demand when in reality it is an offer—a free invitation.

In Matthew 11:25–30, Jesus speaks what are among the most tender and appealing words he ever uttered: Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. These words have been immortalized in different ways. Some of us know them from Handel's Messiah, in that famous aria in which he combines these words with others from the prophet Isaiah: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd. Come unto him." Members of the Anglican Communion may know that Thomas Cranmer, architect of the Anglican Prayer Book, incorporated these words into the Anglican Communion service.

For myself, I can ...

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John Stott was the former rector emeritus of All Souls Church in London, a prolific author and scholar, and a mentor to many Christian leaders around the globe.

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Many people make the mistake of assuming the gospel is a command rather than a free invitation.

I. God is revealed only by Jesus Christ.

II. God is revealed only to little children.

III. Jesus invites us to come to him.

IV. Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon us.


One of the great paradoxes of the Christian life is that we find freedom by submitting ourselves to Christ's yoke.