Jesus promised that everyone who comes to Him will receive rest for their souls. In Matthew 11:28, He said,
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Those who are weary are those who are tired due to overuse or great strain or stress. The context has to do with seeking God and trying to earn salvation. Weary has to do with being tired to the point of losing heart. It’s an arduous toil in seeking to please God.
Jesus calls to Himself everyone who is exhausted from trying to find and please God through their own resources. He invites the person who is wearied from this vain search and who has lost heart in achieving God’s righteous standard by his own efforts.
To be heavy-laden means to be loaded down with a great burden. The Pharisees had done exactly that to the Jews with their abundance of silly rules and false requirements. Heavy-laden indicates that somewhere along the way a great load was dumped on a weary person.
To those people, Jesus says, “Come to me“. It is to believe to the point of submitting to His Lordship. He said,
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (John 6:35)
See the parallels between comes and believes? They are the same invitation. And they have the same result. The one who comes will no longer hunger or thirst, and will find rest.
The rest that Jesus provides has at least 5 qualities, which interestingly are similar to the definitions found in the dictionary for the word ‘rest’:
- Rest is defined as cessation from action, motion, labor, or exertion.
- Similarly, to enter God’s rest is to cease from efforts of trying to earn salvation
- Rest is defined as freedom from that which wearies or disturbs.
- Entering God’s rest gives us freedom from the cares and burdens that rob us of peace and joy.
- Rest is defined as fixed and settled
- To be in God’s rest is to have the assurance that our eternal destiny is secure in Jesus Christ.
- It is to be freed from the uncertainties of circumstances, decisions, people, etc…
- Rest is defined as being confident and trustful
- When we enter God’s rest, we have the promise that “he who began a good work in us will perfect it (Phil. 1:6)
- Rest is defined as leaning, or depending on
- As children of God, we can depend with 100% complete certainty that our Lord will ‘supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19)