"Come unto me, all ye that labor,
And are heavy laden, and I will give rest." (Matthew xi, 28)
"... and him that cometh to me
I will in no wise cast out." (John vi, 36)
Here is an invitation from Jesus. It is so personal, so intimate and so warm. It bears the promise that will not fail. Heaven and earth shall pass away but his words shall not pass away for, the words are not of Jesus but HIS that sent him. He seeks not his own will not the will of the heavenly Father.
He extends this invitation to all those who are unhappy and full of unrest. Everyone, who is shaken cruelly by the rough hands of destiny, can look forward with hope, for courage and consolation. In fact it is just for such as are unhappy that Jesus came into this world. There are many, whose life has been made bitter by sobs and sighs and who have lost interest in everything under the sun. They need not think themselves quite lost. There is much hope yet. They are not lonely and abandoned. There is some one who is deeply interested in their activities. His only aim is to complete that which is still unfulfilled. He would remove every thorn from the way and make the path straight if only they allow him to do so; if only they have faith in the saving power of Jesus. No one that has faith is quite lost. Alas for human the disbelief!
Jesus came not to criticise and reject but to accept and save man. This is the reason why he is known as the Saviour and not as the propounder of a system of abstract philosophy. This is also the reason why he placed love high above intellect. He knew that man does not live by the light of knowledge alone but needs the warmth of intimate love also. He needs to be understood, but more than that, he needs to be saved from the shafts of sorrow and adversity. Howsoever fallen the condition of a man may be, he would still like to live, and live in peace and happiness. Jesus knew it, and, took upon himself the responsibility of showing the way. One would sometimes like to know why there is evil and suffering at all; and why one who is able to save us all, is not able to banish evil from earth. Why there is evil we do not know. We do not know whether evil as such would cease to be or not. But we do know that there is a way by which we can overcome evil, or at least minimise it, individually, and help others in overcoming it. As for the evil in general, it is a mystery. Perhaps it will always be there. Perhaps it is endemic to existence. As Jesus himself says:
"It must needs be that offences come." (Matthew xviii, 7)
"In the world ye shall have tribulation." (John xvii, 33)
What is of significance is not that there is evil but that there is a way to overcome it and that there is one who is very anxious to help us do so. This is enough.
The way consists in the teachings of Jesus. As a matter of fact the entire Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the way. We are not called upon to leave the world and join the Kingdom of God somewhere else, but to establish the Kingdom right here in our midst by good deeds. Good deeds depend on good motives. So, in the end, Kingdom of God is a sort of rebirth in terms of changed attitudes. It is an internal re-orientation of outlook. This is why Jesus said: "The Kingdom of God is within you." This changed outlook must manifest in changed deeds bearing fruit worthy of name. In the Kingdom of God there would be a spirit of service; there would be more cooperation than competition. Men shall be governed by the inner spirit and not merely by outer advantages. No one will suffer for want of help nor shall there be iniquity among men. The vision of Isaiah would be fulfilled. "The Lord shall judge between the nations, and shall reprove many peoples' and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hook: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah ii, 4)
The present century man needs just this Gospel. Having been disillusioned and ruined by the recurring wars, famines and pestilences, he looks for inner faith to hold his own against the might of circumstance. The vast technological advancement of the present century has merely made life more complex. It has not been able to heal the inner wounds born of endless strife and limitless disorder. There is unfortunately a tendency among people to hold Science responsible for all these evils. It is a mistake. To decry Science is not to solve the problem. The blame is not outside but inside. Were men any the better when there was no scientific outlook? They behaved in much the same way. Doing away with Science will make us materially worse without making us spiritually better. And, after all, what is Science except a reasoned attitude towards men and things? What we need is a faith that will reawaken our belief in the worth of existence and value of moral life. Science is to be supplemented, not discarded. Science is not incompatible with religion.
In Jesus we find the faith, the way and the life. We must fulfil and not destroy even as Jesus did. We must have life and have it more abundantly. All life-preserving ideas are good. To preserve and promote life is to serve. To serve would mean, to take less and give more. All those who take upon themselves the cross of Jesus and serve, are called upon to inherit the Kingdom of God.
"For I was hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." (Matthew xxx, 35-36)
This is the way of service. Everyone is called upon to do his best and do it timely. There is no time to lose. Jesus asks us to work
"While it is day for, the night cometh, when no man can work." (John ix, 4)
Remember the work and remember also "the night." Do as much as you can. Do not fear difficulties and discomforts. If you remember Jesus and his works, he too will remember you and would readily come to your help. Remember his promise:
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John xiv, 18)