“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-30).
How comforting these words of our Lord Jesus Christ are to all his elect! Come unto me and I will give you rest. It seems that sometimes that is all we wish for in our busy lives – just a little rest. We can find ourselves so caught up in the stress and business of life that it can be so hard to find even a small window of time to enjoy some peace and quiet. The pile of papers continues to grow, deadlines loom nearer and nearer, and the to-do list seems to go on endlessly. When will you ever find the time to just relax?
But that’s not the kind of rest that Christ is speaking of here. “Come unto me… and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The rest our Lord promises is rest in the truest sense – not a mere break from physical labor that replenishes our earthly energy for a brief time, but a lasting spiritual relief for the soul from the constant battle it wages in this life. Daily we struggle with fierce spiritual enemies that attack us from every side as we fight the good fight of faith. Satan and his hosts lurk around every corner, poised with fiery darts to hurl at us when we are least expecting it. The world tempts us to abandon the straight and narrow path, sweetly inviting us to “have a little fun.” But when, by the grace of God, their invitation holds no appeal to us and we refuse to join in their revelings, we are faced with hateful mocking and ridicule. And perhaps most taxing on the soul is the sin residing within ourselves. Daily we must fight against our own sinful natures that are part of who we are. A constant war wages within our own beings – the old man of sin versus the new man of regeneration, so that we confess with the apostle Paul, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:19). Truly we need rest!
And truly our Savior Jesus Christ is the only place we can truly find rest. He is our High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). He is the sole source of our rest and comfort for He made Himself a propitiatory sacrifice on account of our sins and imputes His perfect righteousness to our account before the Almighty Judge of heaven and earth. He gave us the ultimate victory over all our spiritual enemies and daily gives us the strength to fight the battle of faith through His poured-out Spirit. And one day He will bring us to be with Him in everlasting heavenly rest and covenant fellowship with God in heaven. That final reality is not ours yet, but we do have a small foretaste of that heavenly rest here on this earth. Every week when we enter God’s house of worship, we receive a small glimpse of the perfection that is to come. We sing His praises with fellow saints, come before the throne of God in prayer, and hear the voice of our Lord through the preaching of the gospel. When we hear and receive the preaching, we hear Christ. And doing so, we come unto Him and receive rest for our weary and heavy-laden souls. So let’s prepare ourselves to enter into that rest tomorrow. Prepare yourself to lay your burden at the cross and be comforted. Come unto Him and you will find rest for your soul.