Come & Rest
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
Recently I was trying to setup a security system on my computer. The security was bank grade. The company gave it a 100% guarantee and yet in fine print you read “nothing is truly 100% guaranteed.” I found that ironic yet true. Ironic that they gave a 100% guarantee protection seal knowing that they had to recognized true reality that no can give 100% guarantee about anything. We get guarantees everyday don’t we and yet those things are always ultimately limited and momentary. No human or product can give 100% guarantee and that is because of their essential nature – finite, creaturely, subject to decay and defection.
Look now at the words of Jesus in the text before us: ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’
This is a call with a promise. Jesus says if we who are weary and burdened come to him he will give us rest. Jesus can call us to himself and promise freedom-rest precisely because of his essential nature, his person. Unlike this world that is passing away, Jesus is declaring himself to be not of this world. Remember only the eternal God who is inexhaustible, self-sufficient, and at complete rest can give true and lasting rest ( ). Jesus is declaring himself to be the eternal God who made the heavens and the earth, who has life in himself and who has need of nothing but gives from the overflow of his being that never runs dry. Jesus is saying, “I am Yahweh in the flesh, who created in six days and on the seventh day rested from my work and I call you now to me and to my perfect freedom-rest.” Because the inexhaustible, incorruptible, eternal God can never be shaken nor cease from this freedom-rest so Jesus can say, “Come to me…and I will give you rest.” Everyone and everything else who make this claim are liars and robbers because they themselves are of need of rest and decay. You may say, “yes but Jesus needed to sleep so how could he claim to give me rest? This is strange?” Of course Jesus needed sleep as he was truly and fully God and truly and fully man. If he didn’t need sleep he wouldn’t have been a true human being and therefore unable to save us. But one thing is missed in the hypothetical thought, sleep and rest are not the same. Many men and women close their eyes and sleep, but they don’t know true rest. What Jesus is speaking about is our true souls need. He is saying to us, “you are weighed down with the burden of sin and burdens of life and fears and anxieties of all kinds. You run here and there to be relieved, but I tell you, come to me and I will give you rest.” Jesus most assuredly made this promise, true, full, and eternal, when he went to the cross and bore our sins (our true and great burden) in his body on the tree (1 Pt. 2:24). He took the punishment that we deserved and the bore the holy wrath due us and our sin and by his crushing we are healed (Isa. 53; 1 Jn.4:10). By his substitutionary death the Bible says we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Our sins have been removed (Ps. 103:12) and there is no longer any wrath for us (1 Th. 5:9), and we are reconciled to God (Eph. 2:13; 2 Cor. 5:18). This is true rest! To know that guilt and shame and striving has ceased through and in Christ (Heb. 4:10). To know blessed satisfaction, 100% guaranteed. There is not another to look for. We might wonder if there is a limit, I tell you where to find the answer – the empty tomb. Look in that tomb! Is there a body suffering decay? No! For he who died for our rest has risen from the dead never to die again and has ascended to the right hand of the Father and fills the heavens (Eph. 4:10). Eternal rest in him who is the indestructible, unshakable, inexhaustible Saviour-King. He put death to death by his death and now we can truly rest in him who has rested from his labor receiving the eternal glory due his work and name.
Are you weary? Are you burden with many burdens? Your freedom-rest has come in the only one who can give you a 100% guarantee. He died and rose to seal it for you if you will only cease from your labor and come and fall on him, for he worked for such a one.
I think of the words of Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress,
“…I am undone, because of this burden which lies heavily upon me! Moreover, I am certainly informed, that this city of ours will be burned with fire from heaven! In that fearful catastrophe, both myself, with you, my wife, and you, my sweet babes shall come to miserable ruin, unless some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered.”
Bunyan then says,
‘Now I saw in dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was…called ‘SALVATION’…burdened Christian ran…He ran until he came to a place where there was a hill, and upon that hill stood a Cross…at the bottom a tomb….When Christian came up to the Cross, his burden fell off…and began to tumble until it came to the mouth of the tomb, where it fell in, and I saw it no more!” Then Christian was glad and joyful, and said with a merry heart, “Jesus has given me rest by his sorrows, and life by his death!”’
Oh come and rest!
Oh rest divine through blood and sorrow
Oh rest divine through Word incarnate
Striving, sweating, none to lose my burden
Promises given, promises made, all tried to relieve and cut but no relief was given,
Till on that Cross my eyes did fix and see him my sin did lay
Glorious day, I did smell the ropes burning, the burden broken, rolled away
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