Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”
*Please read all of Matthew 11 to get the full context.
The Weary and Burdened
Who are the weary and burdened? Well, in the context of what Jesus was teaching here, they are those weighed down with slavery to sin and with love for the things of this world. They are those under the yoke (burden) of the teachings of men, which are contrary to the teachings of Christ.
They are those who reject God’s messages and his messengers, and who find fault with those who are bringing them the good news of the gospel – the good news of the gospel that Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Lord’s apostles taught. They accuse them falsely of what they did not do.
They accuse them of being harsh and unloving, of being legalists, and of being those who are teaching “works-based” salvation. For, they view the true gospel as unloving, while they see the cheap grace gospel as loving and kind, gentle and caring about others.
They are the worldly, who try to convince those walking in faithfulness to the Lord that they need to be more like those who are of this world; that they need to be more “normal.” They try to convince them, too, that holiness and godliness are wrong and that living to the flesh is right.
They are the unrepentant who, although they have had the truth taught to them, have refused to submit to God, to surrender their lives to Jesus, and to make him Lord of their lives. They are continuing in their habitual sinful practices, for they are choosing the path of least resistance.
So, rather than go to the cross of Christ, die to sin and self, and follow Jesus in surrender and in obedience to his will for their lives, they choose to go to the cheap grace gospel when they are “struggling” with their sinful addictions, because it consoles them in their sin. It gives them permission to continue in sin without guilt.
His Yoke is Easy
When this says that Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light, this is not talking about the cheap grace gospel. This is not referring to the path of least resistance. This is not giving permission for us to continue in our sinful practices, for that is the “easy way out.”
We have to read what Jesus taught, and we have to read what the apostles taught in the Scriptures, in context, studying the Scriptures verse by verse and chapter by chapter, rather than cherry picking Scriptures that fit with our lifestyles and how we want to live.
So, what is Jesus’ yoke? He said that if we want to come after him we must deny self and take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. For, he said, if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin), we will have eternal life with him (Lu 9:23-26; cf. Rom 8:1-17).
Jesus also said that everyone who has learned from God the Father comes to him (Jesus). And he said that unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, we have no life in us. He said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (See John 6:35-58).
We must participate, thus, in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in his death to sin and in his resurrection to new life. We must die with him to sin, be born anew of the Spirit of God, and now live to him and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
And we are to learn from him, not intellectually, but spiritually. We are to listen to what he says and then we are to do what he says to do. We are to follow him wherever he leads us and not go back to our former lives of living for sin and for self (Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 10:27; Jn 14:23-24).
Rest for Your Souls
When we are still living in sin, under the control of sin, the flesh and Satan, we are not at peace. We are not at rest. We are troubled in our minds and hearts, flittering here and there from one thing to another which will never satisfy the deep longings of our hearts.
Especially for those who know the truth, and who claim to believe in Jesus, they know that continuing in their sinful practices is opposed to the teachings of Scripture, and that it is opposed to Christ’s righteousness and holiness, so they are never at rest when they keep sinning.
Especially if they are sinning in secret, and so they are covering up their sin with lies, they are not at peace. They may find ways to temporarily give them some relief in ways that are not good, but it is only temporary, and it never satisfies, but it usually only makes their situations much worse.
But this isn’t just talking about inward peace and absence of guilt and condemnation, which some people try to find with the cheap grace gospel. But this is speaking of peace with God, i.e., being bought back for God with the blood of Jesus so that we now honor God with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20).
And the rest Jesus is speaking of is also not “we do nothing” and God does it all. For Jesus said we must listen to him, we must obey him, we must leave all to follow him, forsake our sins and idols, die daily to sin and self, and live for him and for his righteousness.
Faith in Jesus Christ is not light and fluffy. It is the narrow road that few travel that leads to eternal life. It is total surrender to him, not looking back. We are either for him or against him. There is no middle ground. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, but that sin no longer controls us.
The rest Jesus is speaking of, thus, is eternal rest. And we enter into his rest by faith, but that faith, if it is genuine, results in obedience and surrender to his will, or it is not genuine faith. For in both the OT and the NT we are taught that disobedience is equivalent to unbelief (1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3-4).
So, if you are relying on a prayer you prayed, or a confession of faith you made at one point in your life to guarantee you heaven as your eternal destiny, think again. If you walk according to the flesh (in sin), you will not inherit eternal life, but you will die in your sin (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6).
Do You Love Me?
An Original Work / July 24, 2013
Do you love Me now?
Will you seek My face?
I have given you
My love and My grace.
Will you walk with Me
Ev’rywhere I lead?
Will you find in Me
All of what you need?
Won’t you meet with Me
Down upon your knees?
Will you obey Me,
And do what I please?
Will you hear My voice
Speaking now to you?
I am couns’ling you
To abide in truth.
I have died for you;
Taken all your sins –
Crucified with Me,
You have been forgiv’n.
I have set you free
From your slavery,
So that you can now
Live in victory.