Monday, January 16, 2012



A glorious invitation is given by our Savior in Matthew 11:28-29. Jesus extends an open invitation to weary and burdened sinners to find rest in Him. It is important to note the context. The Father reveals Himself only to those who have laid aside all pretense of self-sufficiency. He can only be known through the Son—and to those whom the Son chooses to reveal Him (Matthew 11:25-27; Cf. John 14:6). It is in relationship with God that true rest is found. St. Augustine, “Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless ‘til we find rest in Thee.”

The first invitation is to find “rest” FROM one’s labors—“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus’ invitation stands in stark contrast to that which was offered by the religious leaders of His day. Jesus indicted the Pharisees, saying, “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger” (Matthew 23:4). Such is the nature of false religion—heavy burdens are laid, but no rest is realized. Many work hard in “self-made religion” (Colossians 2:23), but their most strenuous efforts avail no alleviation of the sin burden. Atlas carried the globe on his shoulders, the burden of sin is of even greater mass. And it cannot be lightened or lifted by anyone but Jesus.

Jesus’ invites the heavy-ladened to come to Him. The false teachers wouldn’t lift so much as a finger, to alleviate a burden. Jesus bore all our burdens on the cross. He “cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). No sense of release and relief and rest can compare with that experienced by those who come to Jesus for forgiveness! “Days are filled with sorrow and care, hearts are lonely and drear; burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near.”

A second invitation is given to find rest IN one’s labors—“Take My yoke upon you…and you will find rest for your souls.” The believer in Christ is to take up His yoke and learn from Him. In contrast to all others Jesus is “gentle and lowly.” The devil is a harsh taskmaster. His demands are burdensome in every respect (Cf. Romans 6:16, 21, 23; 1 Peter 1:18). Jesus is the gentle “Shepherd and Guardian” of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). It is He who loved us and delivered Himself up for us who commands us (Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:24). He demands nothing for which He does not provide the necessary strength and resources (Philippians 4:13). “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). True joy and rest is found in learning from Him and serving Him.

“Come to Me,” He says, “And I will give you rest.” Rest is “Christ-bestowed.” It is bound up in Him, in His person. Are you weary? Troubled? Restless? The invitation is given with a promise and the promise is valid this day. “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Charles Spurgeon commented on this text: "’Come.’ A simple word, but very full of meaning. To come is to leave one thing and to advance to another. Come, then, ye laboring and heavy laden, leave your legal labors, leave your self-reliant efforts, leave your sins, leave your presumptions, leave all in which you hitherto have trusted, and come to Jesus, that is, think of, advance towards, rely upon the Savior. Let your contemplations think of him who bore the load of human sin upon the cross of Calvary, where he was made sin for us. Let your minds consider him who from his cross hurled the enormous mass of his people's transgressions into a bottomless sepulchre, where it was buried forever. Think of Jesus, the divinely-appointed substitute and sacrifice for guilty man. Then, seeing that he is God's own Son, let faith follow your contemplation; rely upon him, trust in him as having suffered in your stead, look to him for the payment of the debt which is due from you to the wrath of God. This is to come to Jesus.”

Horatius Bonar (1808-1899) was one of Scotland’s most gifted and influential pastors and writers in the 1800s. “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” based on this text, is generally considered to be the finest of his hymns. He intended the hymn to be used by the children—he considered it essential for the children to learn the truths of the person and work of Christ. He penned the words while serving as Pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Kelso, Scotland.

"I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say"
by Horatius Bonar

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise
And all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of Life I'll walk
Till traveling days are done.

Pastor Jerry

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