“Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11v28
The Absence of Rest
As dusk settles on our city all seems peaceful. But, under this appearance of rest, turmoil and struggle abound. From day to day, the burdens, the disappointments, and sorrows of life bear down upon us, and in the darkest hours of struggle we can feel helpless, even hopeless.
Yet, in this helplessness there is hope. There, we realise that the source of our burden is our separation from God. We begin to understand that rather than rest in our God and trust in Him, we have sought to follow our own path, to our own hurt. And there, we realise our own responsibility – that our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2).
At first, this seems to increase our helplessness. We wonder how we could ever be reconciled with God, knowing it is impossible for us to ever do enough to make things right with Him (Romans 3:10-20).
The Hope of Rest
But, in this darkest of hours hope appears, and descending into our darkness, Jesus Christ, ‘the Light of the world’ (John 9:5), invites us to find reconciliation and rest in Him. Truly, these are words of hope:
Come unto me … and I will give you rest
This rest is not the kind of temporary rest we experience in this life. Rather, it is a complete and eternal rest. A rest that knows the work of reconciliation is finished, once and for all, and this was accomplished through Jesus Christ, when God ‘made peace through the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things unto Himself’ (Colossians 1:20).
This rest has its source in God alone, yet Jesus Christ said, ‘I will give you rest’. There can be no other explanation than to understand that Jesus Christ is God – not another God, for there is only One God, the Creator, who having completed His work of creation, ‘rested on the seventh day’ (Genesis 2:2).
The Restoration of Rest
Now Jesus Christ, the author of rest, has come ‘to be the Saviour’ (1 John 4:14), the restorer of rest. He has come to ‘bare our sins in His own body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24); to make reparation for our wrongs. For God ‘hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is a real and eternal hope, for it is based in the finished work of Christ.
Now, when we come in our helplessness to Jesus Christ, and repent of our sin, He lifts us up saying, ‘Your sins are forgiven … go in peace’ (Luke 7:48,50). This forgiveness brings us to have peace with God (Romans 5:1), and as we come into His gracious presence, we come to enjoy the peace of God (Philippians 4:9). This is the rest Jesus Christ invites us to.
The Invitation to Rest
We have seen that the provision of this rest cost God a great deal. But for us, who ‘labour and are heavy laden’, this rest is free.
All our obligations have been paid in full by Jesus Christ, and all He asks of us is to come. He wants us to trust Him: to accept His provision and His promise. It is when we fully trust Him that we find fulness of rest.
‘Come unto me, all you 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 of heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls’.
Come to Jesus Christ now, and be at rest.