Come to Me
Matthew 11:28Jesus offered rest to those who were carrying "heavy burdens." This spoke especially to the Pharisees and those under their influence, who had "improved upon" God's law by making it much stricter through added oral traditions. Obeying the law in the Pharisaic mode was, indeed, to carry heavy burdens.
Yet the offer of Jesus would also have touched the hearts of people whose lives were hard, and this would have been most who heard his preaching. They lived under Roman domination, paying "heavy" taxes to support the occupying army. Without the advantages of modern technology, they labored with difficulty to get enough food to eat and were often overcome by illness. The ministry of Jesus offered a new way, with God as the true king and with the power of God available to make people whole. Thus the "rest" of Jesus included the vast blessings of life in the kingdom of God.
The invitation of Matthew 11:28-30 is perhaps one of the most cherished of the sayings of Jesus, and for good reason. Even though our situation is quite different from that of his first audience, our souls long for the rest that he offers. We can easily feel overburdened by the stresses of contemporary life, even by the extra demands associated with modern technology. Many of us, even though we are Christians, live as if we have to earn God's favor by our good works.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you hear Jesus' invitation to come and receive his rest, how do you respond? From which burdens do you need relief? How might you give them to Jesus?PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for this stunning, heart-touching invitation! How much I need to put down my heavy burdens and receive enjoy and your rest.
I admit that I often carry burdens that aren't my own. I take on responsibility for that which you alone can accomplish. Then I worry and fret, aware of my own insufficiency. Oh, how I wish I could simply lay my burdens at your feet, so that I might be free to pick up your light, easy yoke.
Today I come to you, Lord, aching for your rest. Let nothing get in the way of my approach: not my fears, nor my ambitions, nor my desire to run my own life. I give you all that I can. Please give me back only that which I can handle, your light yoke. Amen.