There is a passage in Matthew (11:28-30) that many of us are familiar with and often comes to mind for me when I am being challenged, am tired, or hurting.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
We are all laboring through this life and so is the devil. He is working in different ways at different times to entrap us and keep us from Jesus and the Father. It is work for us to fight through this and keep our eyes on heaven. Jesus calls to us in that labor and invites us to Him and His rest.
Jesus says take His yoke and learn from Him. A yoke is something that is fashioned for a beast of burden to pull something. It is a tool made for work. We are going to labor in this world but there is a way to work and have rest at the same time. If we take the yoke of Jesus, the gospel, and put that around our neck and sit at His feet and learn, we will have rest. Jesus is humble and kind with a heart to save and to teach. He is looking to help us home in contrast to the devil who is interested in only destruction…and that burden is heavy.
Jesus is inviting us to spiritual rest and not a complete relief from the struggles in our physical world or a life of comfort or idleness. He is inviting us to protect ourselves with Him and to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6) just as He did and be victorious just as He is. I think of it like a bullet proof vest. The Kevlar covers the vital organs and will stop a bullet yet it is my understanding that even though the bullet is stopped, the force is enough to bruise and to hurt. Just as the one who is shot is left aching but alive…we will also be spiritually safe and have rest in Jesus though we may hurt outwardly.
Safe in Jesus, that is the point of the day. Jesus is safe and He provides rest. God has begun a good work in those who have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ and He is faithful to complete it and He will not forsake you even if everyone else does. That is the point to remember…and one more. None of this is true if we do not respond to the first word of this text…”Come”. Jesus is calling but we have to answer…in the moment and every day.