Rest for Your Soul

“Come to Me, all you 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.” Matthew 11:28-30

This passage is undoubtedly one that many of you have memorized, think about, quote, and share on social media. It’s a timeless, rich encouragement for us. Let’s take a few minutes and dive deeper into these verses today.

In the preceding context of this passage, Jesus teaches us some important things that help us grasp His love and care for us even more. When we look at the beginning of Matthew 11, we see an outworking of a theme of God concealing Himself from some and revealing Himself to others.

  • In verses 2-6, Jesus revealed the truth about who He is to John the Baptist and his disciples.
  • In verses 7-19, Jesus addressed the crowds, telling them who John the Baptist was as a prophet. He confronted them regarding their reception of John and Jesus, Himself, as well. The crowds claimed John “had a demon” (v. 18). They claimed Jesus was a drunk and a glutton, a friend of tax collectors and sinners (v. 19).
  • In verses 20-24, Jesus then rebuked the cities that He had done mighty works in, because they didn’t repent.
  • Which brings us to verses 25-27, where Jesus prays to God the Father, saying, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (v. 25-27)

This theme in Chapter 11, this prayer from Christ teaches us of God’s great, abounding love towards us, His people. Verses 25-30 show us God’s glorious sovereignty in salvation, as well as the gentle call of the Gospel to all who hear. For He, who is willing to reveal Himself to babes (to us), is the very one who says, “Come to me…” The Lord of heaven and earth says, “Come”. (Proverbs 9:5, Matthew 22:4)

  • Who does He call to come? Those who are burdened and loaded down with the guilt of sin and fear of judgment. (v.22,24)
  • What does Jesus promise to those who come? Rest! Jesus relieves burden by saving from sin and guilt. (Matthew 9:2-6)
  • What instruction does He give to those who come? We are to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him. If you aren’t familiar with what a “yoke” is, it’s a wooden beam that keeps two oxen (or similar animals) together as they are plowing a field. The people Jesus spoke to were under the yoke of the legalistic teachings of the Pharisees. It was an intolerable yoke. Yet, those who belong to Christ have that yoke removed and His put on. As we think about Jesus’ “yoke”, we need to understand that salvation requires our submission to Jesus as our Lord, Master, and Teacher.
  • What is true of our great Teacher? He is gentle and lowly in heart. In Him and under His care and instruction, we find rest for our souls.
  • What does Christ promise about His yoke? Though animal yokes are quite difficult and heavy to maneuver, in contrast, Jesus says His yoke is easy and burden light. Following Jesus is the best life that could ever be lived, for He is a gentle and humble King who serves His people. (Proverbs 3:17)

Be encouraged and thankful today that Christ has chosen to reveal Himself to you. Be thankful for Jesus has relieved your great burden. Know, and come to know more in His Word, of the rest that is yours in Him! As you find rest for your weary soul, as you walk with Him, remember and seek to learn from the instruction and example of your gentle Teacher. Submit to and learn from your Lord and Master. Take benefit from His nurture and care.