Rest for the Weary
Read |Matthew 11: 28 - 30|
Jesus was addressing the people of Israel who were burdened with the legal do’s and don’ts of the Pharisees, as well as the consequences for their human failure in light of the law: guilt, frustration, and dissatisfaction. Jesus, in full knowledge of their plight, invites them to experience relief through personal relationship with him. These persons were like the crowds whom Jesus spoke about in Matthew 9:36, harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus had compassion on them and extended his hand--an antidote for their weariness.
Jesus said, “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.” (Matthew 11: 29, NIV). The term yoke is used metaphorically to represent the law in Jewish culture. The oral law was considered to be of divine origin and its massive obligations became far more burdensome than Scripture itself. But, Jesus’ yoke is different. It is used as a metaphor for discipleship and promises rest from the weariness and burden of religious regulation and human oppression, because its only requirement is wholehearted reliance on Him.
George Matheson, a 19th c. Scottish Presbyterian minister, said, “the weariness of the body is cured by slumber, but the weariness of the mind can be cured only by stimulus”. He suggests that an active meditational life on the work of Jesus will help promote rest and protection from mental weariness.
Weariness is the state in which the soul and spirit are weighed down, exhausted, worn out and crying for relief. While weariness can be traced to worry, anxiety, or unforgiveness, it can also result from bad habits or health issues. When you find yourself soul-weary, you need to cry out to God in prayer and as he said he will give you rest.
Jesus wants our souls resting on the assurance that he will keep his promises to us. He says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV). He says, “and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11: 29, NIV).
We can be refreshed as we immerse ourselves in the truth of God's Word, meditating on what it invites us to behold about the person, nature, power, work of Jesus. Doing this makes room for God to restore, strengthen and embolden us to contend with any disturbing situation that may come our way.
Resting in Jesus Christ protects us from weariness because even when we step into troubled waters we feel the assurance of Jesus’ presence and respond with confidence that, in His hands, all will be well. Resting in Jesus Christ also cures us from weariness because it gives us eternal hope for a brighter tomorrow and peaceful life in Him.
As you approach this Advent season bear in mind that Jesus is our salvation, our fortress, our mighty rock and refuge. He is the one answer to every question, concern, fear, and need we will ever have. And so He simply and comprehensively offers us Himself, for our hope is from Him and in Him.
1. Take some time this week to read through some of the beautiful promises God has made to us in His Word: https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/gods-promises-verses-in-the-bible/
2. Write down the promises that speak to your heart during this season.
3. Pray through each of the promises you have written for this season.
4. Encourage yourself to rest in God, no matter what may come by singing along to this beautiful hymn:
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God who believes that as we seek the truth of God's Word, and humble ourselves to live in agreement with it, that we will experience the transformation which allows us to enter wholistic wellness: spirit, soul and body. She is the Founder and President of EarthBasic and leads its Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.