You have probably heard the verses ... you may even know them by memory - Matthew 11:28-30: "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." These were our memory verses in our Sunday School lesson for this morning. Jesus invites us to come to Him and find rest for our souls. That sounds really good. There is far too little rest in our world today - in ANY part of our lives ... physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. So what does "rest for your soul" mean?
People usually think Jesus is talking about finding calm and peace in an otherwise chaotic and overwhelming world. As such, it is an invitation to come to Him and just ... rest. But there is so much more here, and it is easily understood when you read these verses in their context. Going back to verses 25-27, Jesus says, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. What "things" was Jesus talking about? He was talking about the truth of His kingdom, of the good news that Jesus is the promised Savior. And He was calling people to repent - to turn away from sin and to find forgiveness and life in Him.
So many heard Jesus' teaching and saw His miracles, but they still did not believe. Like many today they claimed to believe in God, but their hearts were far from Him. They are like the people described by the prophet, Isaiah, in Isaiah 29:13: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." So Jesus thanks the Father for revealing the truth of sin and judgment and forgiveness and salvation to some, while hiding it from others. Some might think that unfair, but no one deserves mercy or grace. Remember, "ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10).
Who then, can be saved? How can ANYONE come to know God and receive this good news? Back to Matthew 11, verse 27: "All things have been committed to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." Unless Jesus reveals the truth to you or to me through His Spirit and His Word, we are eternally LOST. We have no access to the Father. We would be like so many who do not know the true God, who make up their own "gods" and even claim to be Christians, but don't know Jesus! Remember Isaiah's words, "These people come near to me with their MOUTH and honor me with their LIPS, but their hearts are far from me."
No one - NO ONE, will find true rest ... rest from trying to live their lives for their own pleasure and purposes, trying to be happy, trying to get ahead, trying ... just trying and trying and trying and failing to find joy by finding REST!! So now, Jesus says, "Come to ME, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest!" How does Jesus give you rest? By bringing you to the Father! By helping you to FOCUS on the same thing Jesus did when He was here on the earth - pleasing His Father. "Take MY yoke upon you and learn from Me," Jesus says. Jesus lived to please the Father. He knew that was the purpose of His life, and it will be the purpose of those who know Jesus. "MY yoke is easy, and My burden is light," Jesus says. Living to please God brings REST because through faith in Jesus you KNOW that He is with you, that your sins are forgiven, that you HAVE eternal life, and HE is ALL you need!!
Oh, how I pray that for you and for me! REST ... you need it ... I need it, and Jesus invites you to come to Him and to find it.