28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
This very familiar Bible passage beckons us, stirring the deep longing in our souls for this promised rest and refreshment. Why, though, do so many of us find it unattainable? Well, the good news is that it is attainable in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
During this time in Bible history the Pharisees had heaped an unforgiving morass of rules and regulations on the people to the point it was impossible to keep them. God’s people must have despaired, knowing they could never live up to the standard. But Jesus invited them (and us) to come to Him, offering a different way—a better way.
His invitation to come is for all—all who are weary and burdened. Weary from rules. Burdened with sin. Laden with guilt. Worn from work. When you do come to Him, a promise is attached to it. Notice there is no condition to the invitation. It’s a come-as-you-are invite. Whatever your situation Jesus promises to give you rest.
This is not the rest you seek while reclining on the sofa in front of the TV or sitting on the beach in Florida. Yes, these may provide a temporary respite but not the rest Jesus promises. He says I will give you rest. To receive the promise you need to come to the Person, Jesus. Then, and only then, will you find rest from the weariness of sin and life.
How do we go about this? We find the answer in Matthew 11:29: “Take up my yoke and learn from me” (emphasis mine).
In Bible times a wooden yoke was placed on an ox while it pulled a heavy piece of equipment. The ox labored in its work with the heavy yoke bearing down. The yoke Jesus offers, though, is easy and light. He is not like the Egyptian taskmaster or the self-righteous Pharisee. He gives you what you need and carries what you can’t.
Imagine if each day you mentally “put on” Jesus’ yoke. The yoke is still there, but He bears the weight. Life continues on, but Jesus is carrying your burdens. As you daily walk with Jesus hand in hand, or in this case yoke on yoke, you will begin to hear the tender heart of your Savior commanding you, “Come to Me.”
I used to walk my dog in Crockett Park with a friend. Several times, many weeks in a row, we would come across another dog walker with her pug. This dog carried a log—about four inches in diameter and 18 inches long—in his mouth while strolling through the park. We would laugh whenever we saw him and wondered why he carried this oversized stick.
One day when I walked alone I said “Hi” to the owner, smiled and continued on. As soon as I passed a thought flashed through my mind: “That is you, Sally.” How silly I must have looked from heaven, thinking I could carry all my burdens myself.
We were not meant to carry the burdens of life on our finite frames. Peter learned this and exhorted his listeners: “Cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). When we intentionally put on Christ’s yoke, Jesus promises rest in Him. The Amplified Version translates it this way, “...and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.”
- This kind of rest can only come with a relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Have you given your life to Jesus?
- Spend time in prayer asking God to reveal to you what burdens you are carrying. Some may be obvious and some not. Ask God what you should do with these burdens. It may require a simple confession of a sin. It may require surrendering a desire. It may require day-to-day dependence on and trust in God.
- Reflect and journal on how your day went when you intentionally put on Christ’s yoke. Reflect and journal on your days when you carried your burdens yourself.
- Pray Matthew 11:28-30 over your life this week. Simply go line by line, praying whatever the Holy Spirit brings to mind.