Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary 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 will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
We all need rest. Some need more rest than others, but we all need rest. Our strained eyes, spent bodies, and stressed souls crave it. God established the pattern of work and rest in creation: By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work (Genesis 2:2). Yet here in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus was speaking about so much more than just getting a good night’s sleep or taking a day off from work.
Jesus has removed the yoke of sin that weighed us down. He took on all our sin and nailed it to the cross. We are no longer responsible to carry its weight. He has removed the condemnation of sin from us as far as the east is from the west. To be sure, this gives us infinitely and eternally more than mere physical rest from activity.
Now, the devil loves to disturb our rest by making all sorts of accusations. But remember, Christian, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). When the devil reminds you about your past, tell him Jesus has taken care of that, and then remind him about his future in the lake of fire.
The best rest that any of us can get to rest in Jesus. We achieve this rest by living a life that is led by Jesus and a life that leans on Jesus. There is no striving when you are in Christ. He has already finished every aspect of work that needs to be done to make us right with God. All we are to do is to come to Jesus and rest in our redemption, moment by moment, knowing that He who began the good work in us has promised to bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). To be sure, there is much for us to do throughout our lives on this earth. But none of that doing has anything to do with our right standing before God.
Along with the rest Jesus offers comes His peace too. This is the peace that passes all understanding in the face of the stuff of this life that is designed to make us restless and fearful. Keep this in view when it comes to your sin: Debt paid . . . atonement made . . . sinner saved! Do that and you will experience the deep rest your soul aches for.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!