Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
The restless soul is never satisfied with wealth and success. A deceased country music icon could testify to this truth. He had nearly forty of his albums appear on Billboard’s country music top-ten charts and just as many number one singles. But he also had multiple marriages and spent time in prison. Even with all his achievements, he once lamented: “There’s a restlessness in my soul that I’ve never conquered, not with motion, marriages or meaning. . . . It’s still there to a degree. And it will be till the day I die.” Sadly, he could have found rest in his soul before his life ended.
Jesus invites all those, like this musician, who have become weary from toiling in sin and its consequences to come to Him personally: “Come to me,” He says. When we receive salvation in Jesus, He will take the burdens from us and “give [us] rest” (Matthew 11:28). The only requirements are to believe in Him and then to learn from Him how to live the abundant life He provides (John 10:10). Taking on the yoke of Jesus’ discipleship results in our finding “rest for [our] souls” (Matthew 11:29).
When we come to Jesus, He doesn’t abbreviate our accountability to God. He gives peace to our restless souls by providing us a new and less burdensome way to live in Him. He gives us true rest.
In what ways do you feel weary and burdened right now? What’s it like to experience the promised “rest” Jesus offers?
Jesus, let my restless soul find peace and rest in You alone.
For further study, read The Compassion of Jesus.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28–29 are among the most comforting in the Gospels. The thought of finding deep, soul-rest in Him is certainly appealing in our turbulent times. The context for these words, however, might be surprising. The chapter opens (vv. 1–6) with John the Baptist seeking confirmation that he’d rightly identified Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus affirms John’s previous confidence before telling the audience of the unique greatness John had displayed (vv. 7–19). Christ would then go on to declare a judgment (vv. 20–24) upon cities where His work hadn’t been received before then turning to the Father in prayer (vv. 25–26). This leads into Jesus’ offer of rest—perhaps the very kind of rest that John needed as he followed events from prison. Christ’s recognition of our personal fragility—even in one as profound as John—seems to be behind His powerful offer of true rest.