Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Jesus says “Come to me.” That is his very personal invitation to all of us. We must be willing to lay all of our messiness in front of him and say, sorry Jesus. I’m a mess because I’ve made wrong choices, but here I am, broken, sorry for what I’ve done, and willing to let you change my life. I’m willing to stop trying to fix myself, earn God’s favor, and look for love in all the wrong places.

The word “rest” is the Greek word anapauo, it means to refresh, to rejuvenate, to reinvigorate, or to revitalize. And he says that “special rest” would come to those who labor and are heavy-laden. Who is that? It is those struggling through life without hope of an eternal home in heaven. Remember he isn’t talking to just the disciples here, but has proclaimed to many Jewish listeners that he can reveal the Father to anyone He chooses and He is the only one who knows God the Father. The religious leaders (Scribes and Pharisees) had placed enormous burdens on the people, yet Jesus said they don’t practice what they preach. In other words, they are hypocrites, who promote legalism or complicated religious rules added to the law of Moses, (with good original intent to help people), that with time, became something very different that they couldn’t even adhere to themselves.

So the people were laboring to carry those burdens with the hope of gaining God’s approval, and Jesus said “Come” and he will give them rest. Not necessarily physical rest, but rest for their souls. He offered an easier path to the Father, one not made up of impossible rules and regulations that left their souls weary, but through Jesus, they could lay down their load of sin at his feet and find hope of eternal life.

I met a lady once who had terminal cancer and she shared her story. She grew up in the church, but never connected. She’d never been in a small group. She’d never served or given, but now facing her mortality, she wanted to earn her way into heaven by serving the Father in some way. It was a blessing for her to learn over time that his gift of salvation and eternal life is a gift. There is no toiling, laboring, and carrying a heavy burden of sin, guilt, and shame, only accepting the gift and laying that heavy burden at his nail-scarred feet. Receiving that rest, mercy and grace is the first step to freedom in Christ and an abundant life of joy and peace, no matter where he finds you. He meets you where you are, even at the end of your earthly life, and offers restoration and hope in an eternal future.

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)

Wishing you peace and rest in Jesus!

Deb Hill
Exec. Admin. Assistant

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