I Will Give You Rest
“Come unto Me, all who are
weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you,
and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find
rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light”
All too many have thought of “rest”
as something like being sprawled on a recliner in front of a TV set. Or
we might see ourselves in a mountain cabin next to a beautiful lake.
Perhaps “rest” is defined as being in
the arms of your beloved. You might think of it as a return to a "normal"
life after years in a hospital bed, a wheelchair, or a prison cell.
Retirement from work is seen as “rest”
for many people.
Our English dictionaries are consistent with that
idea. The “Webster’s Collegiate”
describes “rest” as “sleep …
minimal functional and metabolic activities
… freedom from activity or labor …
a state of motionlessness …
the repose of death”, and so on.
The New Testament Greek definition for “rest”
is not at all the same as the English. W. E. Vine in the excellent “Expository
Dictionary of New Testament Words” includes the meanings: “cessation”
and “refreshment” and he discusses the
English definition of “rest,” but he
also includes a quote from J. Patrick: “Here
(in Matthew 11:29), the contrast seems to be to
the burden imposed by the Pharisees. Christ’s rest is not a rest from
work, but IN work. NOT THE REST OF INACTIVITY but of the harmonious
working of all the faculties and affections of will, heart, imagination,
and conscience, because (he) has found in God the ideal sphere for
satisfaction and development.” Our need to rest is different than
we thought. Our need is to be in Him who gives us rest inside our soul.
All too often our dreams about “rest”
are just a flight of fantasy. When you think about it, TV all too often
leaves you with a drained and unfulfilled feeling. The “rest”
in the mountain cabin or in that person’s arms, does not last. To become
“free” from something like our job, often doesn’t work out so well.
“Retirement” has been grim for many. This is a restless world, and we
finally conclude there is no true rest in this place at all. These words
are important: You will only find true REST in the Lord!
Indeed we talk about “rest”
a lot, and consider it valuable. But since lasting rest is so rare,
perhaps (in relation to the definitions mentioned earlier) the world just
isn’t able to understand what it’s all about. The answer is right here in
our verses for today, where Jesus encourages us: “Come
unto ME … and I will give you rest". And it is true – He who is
OUTSIDE of our world and its woes, offers the REST you have always needed.
I can tell you personally, REST is found in Christ. It is in no other
person, place or thing. “Come unto” Him,
for He IS the only way.
In the Book of Hebrews, Chapters 3 and 4, there is an
interesting discussion of “rest” in
relation to the people Israel. Chapter 3 concludes (verse 19), “they
were not able to enter (His rest, verse 18)
because of unbelief.” When we finally and
utterly believe Him, we can at last find His rest, which is what we have
Unbelief causes us to remain – Rest-LESS! There must
be that time when our faith in Him is no longer merely based in our
EFFORTS to believe. It is at that point when we at last TRUST Him for all
of our needs that we find the REST offered in Christ. We won’t strive
anymore, because we’re already in Him, in His rest. Rest, faith, belief –
all this is based in our TRUST of Him. Do you really TRUST the Lord
today; that He loves you and He will bring you through?
In the Garden of Eden (a literal place – Genesis
2:8), “rest” simply meant that God had
COMPLETED His work of creation (Genesis 2:2). There was nothing more to
be added – it was all done. There was no more need. There was a
FULFILLMENT placed within creation that, for now, no longer exists in this
material universe. This REST that is gone from life is once more offered
to us in Christ.
We, as people, are always building, changing things,
working for something or aiming toward a goal. There is a restlessness
about us which is so profound that the word “restlessness” actually
DEFINES our humanity. When Paul taught us, “If
any man is in Christ, he is a new creation” (“creature”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17), he was presenting the truth that we can once again
enter a state of COMPLETENESS, of fulfillment, where we need nothing more.
We are finally at rest – in Jesus Christ.
When you finally KNOW you are in Christ, you become
SATISFIED. Oh, yes, the troubles of life will go on. The divorce still
might occur, your job might not last, your health can go and your car may
not start – But you have HIM! Things come and go in life (and so do
people), but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,
today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He who loves you is WITH you –
He saved us for eternity by His death for our sins
and authenticated what was done by His resurrection, which He showed when
“He appeared to more than five hundred brethren
at one time” (1 Corinthians 15:6). I have personally learned this
and have seen it in others: He is “able to save
to the uttermost, those who come to God through Him” and “He
ever lives to make intercession for them" (a truth found in Hebrews
7:25.” Jesus Christ is praying for you right now, and HIS prayers are
When you enter the REST of God in Christ, there is
work involved, but the work is HIS, not yours, and that is why our
Scripture for today continues: "Take my yoke upon
you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall
find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus’ rest is sometimes like the peace found within the eye of a
hurricane. The storms of life may rage all around you here on earth, but
you are given peace and can even rejoice, because you are with Him and in
Him. “Come unto Me" He shouts to your
heart – and my brother, my sister, come to Him now. In Him, you WILL
indeed find REST for your soul.
Father, I receive Your Son, Jesus Christ. In ways I
never expected, I trust in You now. Forgive my sins, my unbelief, and set
me free, Lord. I need You, I want You. Please give me Your rest.
Lord Jesus, I am Yours forever! Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Friday Study Ministries