Matthew 11:28 – 30 (Weymouth New Testament)
“Come to me, all you toiling and burdened ones, and I will give you rest. 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. For it is good to bear my yoke, and my burden is light.”
In this passage from the Bible, Jesus is speaking to everyday people in Galilee burdened with everyday problems including hardships and unfair treatment under Roman rule. This was after John the Baptist had been imprisoned for speaking against the wicked acts of King Herod Antipas. The people held John to be a mighty prophet, so his arrest had greatly increased the level of worry and stress of everyday people.
Jesus understood the mood of the people, and their feelings of bitterness being under a heavy, heavy, yoke of Roman rule. Large crowds followed him everywhere daily because the people were in desperate need of physical and spiritual healing. In a hopeless world, the teachings and miracles of Jesus were like a great thunder, lighting up a very dark night. Jesus was hope of deliverance for this severely burdened people.
It is in this context that Jesus made this loud and authoritative proclamation; he was saying to the people ‘come to me all you toiling burdened people, take my yoke, my principles, my lifestyle, my work – and you will see that it is light compared to what you are experiencing, and you will also find rest for your souls; you will feel lighter, sleep better, laugh merrier, and once again enjoy the great taste of your meat and wine’.
Countless millions of people from that era to our present time, who have looked to Jesus for regular guidance through quiet prayer, who have sought his healing touch, and unfailing provision of daily bread – have indeed found rest for their souls.
Seek Jesus in quiet prayer, with sincerity of heart, patiently, on a regular basis, asks for rest, healing, daily bread – and watch him work for your good, through his great and divine power. Come, abide, and enjoy the rest that Jesus gives!
Image: The sick come to Christ on his travels, lithograph by M. Fanoli, 1849, after J.F. Overbeck [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons]