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Jesus Gives True Rest (For Our Souls!)

Written by Andrew Schaller | February, 2011
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“At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘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. 27 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. 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 11:25-30

It’s a fact of life for human beings — we get tired.

Whether it’s the body or the mind, we need down-time; we need rest. We need to eat good food which our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies (Psalm 139:14) can convert to energy. We need good sleep to allow our bodies to recharge and recuperate.

Our souls also need rest.

We commit sin each day, sins of thought, word and deed. Our consciences, when aware, keep track of our misdeeds. Bearing witness to the law written in our hearts, our consciences accuse and cause guilt. The knowledge of our guilt is a heavy burden to bear
(cf. Psalm 38:3-4).

We generally know our limits. We have all learned from experience what physical burdens or material items we can attempt to pick up and carry. We know not to try to grasp and pick up the car when it’s stuck in the snow!

Oh that we always
remembered our weakness when it comes to sin!

We are easily deceived — sometimes by ourselves, sometimes by the world, sometimes by Satan — into thinking that we can bear or at least shoulder our sin and guilt for a time. We overestimate our strength. In our weakness of self-deception we tell ourselves that we can ‘handle it.’ Then other wrong thoughts enter our minds: “I’ll do better next time.” “I won’t do that again.” “I’ve learned my lesson.”

The fact is that we can’t bear our burden of sin. We can’t ‘handle’ temptation on our own. It’s useless to vow to do better on our own or promise to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” and ‘just do it.’

We cannot and dare not attempt to bear our sin and guilt. It is necessary that we despair of our own strength, our own ‘ability’ and ‘will-power.’ It is only after we have been led — through God’s Law — to see that we cannot bear the burden, that the Spirit of God comes on His mission, enabling us to throw ourselves upon Jesus’ invitation.

What invitation? Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, invites us to come to Him with our burdens of sin and guilt.

Jesus doesn’t give us a ‘pep talk.’

He doesn’t tell us that if we try harder, we can do it.

He doesn’t tell us not to worry about it.

He promises to take our burden from us, to lift the weight of sin and guilt!

Moreover, Jesus doesn’t offer merely to take our burden for a while and then return it to us. He invites us to give up our burden and trade it with Him. He’ll take our burden of sin in return for His righteous robe which weighs nothing! He was without sin and guilt. Jesus’ own burden is easy—feather-light!

So it is that Jesus gives our burdened souls true rest. He is our Sabbath (a word which means rest). He is “the end of the law for righteousness” for all those who are in Christ Jesus (cf. Romans 10:4).

We “learn of Him” not to attempt to satisfy God’s law by our actions, but to trust in the perfect life of Jesus, our lowly, Law-abiding substitute.

Truly, only “babes”—those who have been equipped with a child-like faith—take Jesus up on His invitation, praising and thanking Him for His grace and mercy.

In a sinful and burdensome world, Jesus alone gives real rest.

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