“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
To come means to believe (Acts 16:31); to receive (John 1:12); to eat (John 6:35); to drink (John 7:37); to look (Isaiah 45:22); to confess (1 John 4:2); to hear (John 5:24-25); to enter a door (John 10:9); to open a door (Revelation 3:20); to touch the hem of His garment (Matthew 9:20-21); and to accept the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
The object of faith is not a church, or a creed, or a clergyman, but the living Christ. Salvation is in a Person and His name is Jesus. Those who have Jesus are as saved as God can make them.
All Ye that Labour and are Heavy Laden
In order to truly come to Jesus, a person must be willing to admit that he is burdened with the weight of sin. Only those who acknowledge they are lost can be saved. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is preceded by repentance toward God.
And I Will Give You Rest
Notice that rest here is a gift; it is unearned and unmerited. This is the rest of salvation that comes from realizing that Christ finished the work of redemption on Calvary’s cross. It is the rest of conscience that follows the realization that the penalty of one’s sins has been paid once for all and that God will not demand payment twice.
In verses 29 and 30 the invitation changes from salvation to service.
Take My Yoke upon You
This means to enter into submission to His will, to turn over control of one’s life to Him (Romans 12:1-2).
And Learn of Me
As we acknowledge His lordship in every area of our lives, He trains us in His ways.
For I am Meek and Lowly in Heart
In contrast to the Pharisees who were harsh and proud, the true Teacher is meek and lowly. Those who take His yoke will learn to take the lowest place.
And Ye shall Find Rest unto Your Souls
Here it is not the rest of conscience but the rest of heart that is found by taking the lowly place before God and man. It is the rest that one experiences in the service of Christ when he stops trying to elevate himself.
For My Yoke is Easy
Once again there is a striking contrast with the Pharisees. Jesus said of them, “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers” (Matthew 23:4). Jesus’ yoke is easy; it does not chafe. Someone has suggested that if Jesus had a sign outside His carpenter’s shop, it probably would have read, “My yokes fit well.”
And My Burden is Light
This does not mean that there are no problems, trials, labor, or heartaches in the Christian life. But it does mean that we do not have to bear them alone. We are yoked with One who gives sufficient grace for every time of need. To serve Him is not bondage, but perfect freedom.
—Condensed from Matthew: Behold Your King by William MacDonald