Day 13 - Come and Rest

Day 13 - Come and Rest

Written By: Joy Hardin

Matthew 11:28-30
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT)

Earlier in Matthew Jesus addressed his message to multiple groups of people. Here in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus gives a personal invitation to anyone who will receive it: “Come, take my yoke, and rest.”

Are you weary and overburdened? This burden refers to the weight of our sin or our spiritual anxiety. “My guilt overwhelms me—it is a burden too heavy to bear” (Psalm 38:4, NLT). This is a load we can’t carry. Sometimes it may feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders, like the mythological character Atlas. Although this fictional character was only said to hold up the sky, Jesus did actually carry the weight of the world’s sins to the cross.
Think of your best vacation and all the work needed to make it happen. Shopping prices and finding a place to go, researching restaurants and things to do, packing for yourself and all you need for the kids, getting someone to watch your house and your dog, and the list goes on. By the time you get to your vacation spot you need an extra week. Usually after you get home with the unpacking, laundry, mowing the overgrown lawn, etc. you need another vacation. Most of us have a few vacation nightmares we can share: flat tires, relatives who heard you were in the area and crashed your party, the kids got sick or injured, you lost your wallet or passport, and the time of rest was a disaster. Even our best vacations are usually a lot of work, and we don’t always get the relaxation and rest we so badly need.

Jesus offers to “give” us rest if we will “take” his yoke. It almost sounds like a contradiction, to take a yoke and get rest until we discover what Jesus means. The rest Jesus offers is a refreshing, spiritual rest. We don’t have to do any of the work. We simply take or accept his yoke, and we do this by surrender and submission to his authority.

In Judaism “yoke” was a common metaphor for the Law as a means to salvation. We know that no amount of keeping the Law or being good will get us to heaven. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NLT). Jesus was and is offering a yoke of grace and not of works. The interesting thing about a yoke is that it is meant for two. Jesus does not intend for us to do life alone. He wants to carry the load with us.
In the busyness and stress of life, it’s easy to find ourselves weary and exhausted, trying to do more, be more, and get more. We need rest for our souls. This is what Jesus offers to all who will come to him and surrender to his yoke.

Take a few minutes and recall (hopefully with laughter) your worst or most disastrous vacation. Aren’t you tired thinking about it?

When and where can you go to be refreshed? Make a plan and write it on your calendar to regularly rest and be refreshed in Jesus. As Dallas Willard said, “Arrange your days so that you experience total contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God.”

Father, you know my weariness and my worries. Help me to put my trust in you and find your rest. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT).