Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
There is a story of some Moravian missionaries who went to the Caribbean, sold themselves into slavery, just so that they could preach the gospel.
What was their method? Signs and wonders? Hiring a stadium and preaching to thousands?
No. As slaves they were yoked to fellow slaves like cattle, and as they pulled the plough together, the Moravians would share their faith and disciple the one next to them.
Hardcore isn’t it?!
In the passage above Jesus teaches us 1) to come to Him 2) to take on His yoke and 3) learn from Him.
You may recall in a previous blog I talked about ‘invitation and challenge.’ Here Jesus is addressing the disciples with an invitation.
Come to me… And find rest.
Jesus’s rest is found in relationship. And his invitation to ‘come to me’ is an invitation to relationship. “Be a part of my life. Live with me, watch me, listen to me.”
The only thing required of us to access this rest is faith… “The work that God requires is this: believe in the One he has sent.” (John 6:29). When we take Jesus at His Word and have an assurance that what he said will happen … We find rest. Rest is a release from striving. It’s a release from anxiety, worry, and tension. And it’s only found in relationship with Jesus.
At the time Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, the Pharisees had people bound by the traditions of man. They were groaning under the religious burdens of the law and tradition.
I like what it says in the Message translation of the passage … “Are you tired? Worn out? Are you burnt out on religion? Come to me…”
Jesus’ invitation is not about religion or tradition or law demands but an invitation to relationship. And it’s in Him, the righteous demands of the law are satisfied, so that our focus can simply be Him… not sin issues or law issues but Him. The Author and Perfector of our faith.
When we learn to live where the sole (or soul) focus of our being is Jesus by coming to Him, we learn to live freely – at rest with God and ourselves – no longer sin or law obsessed – but relationally contented in Jesus.
Part 2 coming soon …