We have seen earlier in this chapter how many objected to Jesus’ methods. Jesus’ words in verse 19 are a wry observation that whatever he did, he couldn’t do right for doing wrong in the eyes of some people.
Now we see that not only did many object to his methods, they also objected to the message itself, being indifferent or openly hostile to it. Jesus and his disciples preached, taught, healed and delivered throughout the entire region, yet most of the people of Israel did not repent and turn to him.
There is a big division between verses 19 and 20. From verse 20 onwards, Jesus takes on a different way of speaking. Here is the judgement that John was expecting. Here is the plain speech and the honest appraisal. Jesus has done his tour of the region, performing miracles and proclaiming the gospel, and the people have not responded. They have not understood that what they have received from Jesus has been a privilege, not a right – see how many cities did not benefit from Jesus’ direct ministry, and yet Jesus is sure that citizens of those cities, even those famed for their wickedness, would have taken Jesus more seriously. The cities of Galilee have had their chance, and they have wasted it.
So Jesus’ focus changes. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,” he says. Jesus will no longer go to Israel. From now on, all who wish to are invited to come to him, to separate themselves from an unbelieving nation, and turn instead to their Messiah. Only a chapter ago, we saw that Jesus instructed his disciples to go out only to Jewish towns. Now Jesus extends the invitation to “all”.
Don’t resist Jesus. He extends the invitation to you now. Come to him today, whether you are weary from the pressures of your life, or bowed down with the burdens of your responsibility. He will give you rest.