Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NTDS (14): True Rest

Matt 11:28-29

28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

That sounds appealing doesn’t it? Who, in this world, doesn’t need rest? Who, at least at times, does not feel weary? The question is, “What kind of rest is Jesus talking about?” Is Jesus promising physical rest? How would that work? If not, then what does He mean?

We can discern the meaning from a close examination of the text and context.  Up to this point, Jesus has spent His time teaching the Jewish people about the coming Kingdom. It has been a radical departure from what the Jewish teachers and leaders have been teaching over the past 1400 years, since the Law of Moses was given. During that time, the rabbi’s had been adding and adding to the Law. Jesus continually pointed out that these man made rules and regulations were piling a great burden upon the people, a burden they were unable to bear.

This is why Jesus says to come to Him. He expands that in verse 29 by saying that when you come to Him, you are to take His yoke upon yourself. He says to learn of Him, rather than listening to these so-called “teachers of the Law. Wait a minute, that sounds like even more work! Well it might sound that way, but it isn’t. The expression He uses, “Take my yoke,” means “to be guided by” That is what a yoke is for. It is used to guide an animal in the right direction. This is what Jesus is telling His followers to do. He is telling them, that if you come to Him and learn of Him, instead of being loaded down with the burden of trying to be righteous, you will find rest.

He says in verse 30, that His “yoke “ is easy and His “burden” is light. Why is that? Because what Jesus asks from you, is not that you keep hundreds of laws in order to be right with God, but instead that you put your faith and trust in Him. If you do that, you find rest. Verse 29 tells us what kind of rest He is really talking about. It is rest for one’s soul.

You see you can never find rest for your soul by trying to keep the law. It is an impossible task to keep God’s law, let alone the myriads of laws that man might place upon us. Our souls are restless because we feel that burden of living up to man’s expectations and our notions of what it might take for God to accept us. All of us feel that burden, even those who say they don’t believe in God. They may not understand it, but it comes out in their anger towards this God they say they don’t believe in. We want somehow, to be accepted by our creator and trying to earn that acceptance is a heavy burden.

When we come to Jesus, all of this changes. Instead of trying so hard to live a life of righteousness, we receive forgiveness for all of our unrighteousness, and that brings rest to our souls. When we are resting in Him and His sacrifice for us, we can acknowledge that truly, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

If you have not yet experienced His rest, I pray that you will “come to Him.” Put your faith and trust in Him and learn of Him. He has paid the price for your inability to keep God’s law. He died on a Roman cross so that you would not have to pay this price, but He also rose from the dead, to prove His authority and ability to give you that rest.

For all of you that have already put your trust in Christ, I pray that you will be reminded today, that Jesus wants you to rest in that salvation. Don’t fall back into trying to earn your way to God and feeling the burden that it brings. Continue to learn of Him. The more you learn of Him, the more your will love Him will grow and the more you will rest your soul in His finished work on the cross!

God bless you


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