“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
Jesus spends more time preaching to the crowds that have started to follow His every move. And He gives them a call. He urges them to come to Him. It is a call that we as Kingdom citizens should long to see all respond to. It is a call that sums up Jesus’ entire ministry – through Him all are invited to come and take their place in God’s Kingdom of grace. But the remainder of the sentence, what Jesus says after “Come to me”, is the truly amazing, radically freeing part.
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28. Religious systems are all about man’s approach to god/the gods. And in every system to approach your god you have to please him first. You have to earn your place. You have to be free of baggage. But Jesus offers a different, better way. With Jesus we get access to the one true God. And with Jesus all can come. We don’t have to earn our place, for He bought it on the cross. We don’t have to please God first for He already loved us from before the world began (see Ephesians 1:4-5). We don’t have to be free of baggage, for Jesus says “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” That is amazingly good news!
We do not need to struggle any more. No more do we need to wrestle with heavy burdens, fears, doubts and uncertainties alone. In the Kingdom Jesus offers to take our heavy burdens and give us rest. He offers a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (Matthew 11:30).
The religious leaders of the day had made faith into a complicated legalistic system full of obligations, requirements and regulations. As He established the Kingdom Jesus came to restore our relationship with God to what it was always meant to be – a relationship.
In the Kingdom we don’t have to follow a heavy burden of rules and obligations to please God. As we rest in the presence of Jesus, as we soak in the shalom peace of God that washes all our fears away we discover that we are loved not because of who we are or what we have done but because God in His mercy chose to lavish us with love. We did not earn it, and we cannot lose it. We are secure in His love. We don’t have to fear any more. When we rest in His love our worries about tomorrow fade away. Our concerns about what will happen become much less troublesome as when we enjoy Kingdom rest for we realise that God has a plan, that He is in control and that He causes all things to work together for the good of those He loves and whom He has called according to His purposes.
We do not need to wrestle alone anymore with heavy burdens, for in the Kingdom Jesus urges us to bring them to Him and rather than struggling under the weight of them instead receive rest and His easy yoke with a light burden. Instead of fear and anxiety when we turn to Jesus and rest in Him we receive peace, perfect shalom peace that passes all understanding. Peace that restores. Peace that makes amends. Peace that brings fullness of life. Peace that enables wellness. As we rest in the love of God we find strength to face each new day He gives us, and we see that He is holding us secure, guiding us, defending us, carrying the burdens for us and enabling us to face all that comes our way.
Do not try to face the struggles and trials of life in your own strength. Instead turn to Jesus for rest, and as the old hymn goes “Cast all your burdens upon the Lord, for Jesus cares, He cares for you”.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” John 6:37