Rest for the soul

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Read:  Matthew 11:25-30

Consider: As we enter another week of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is clear that the novelty of being at home has worn off and many people are becoming weary of the restrictions on their life.  Worse still is the feeling of helplessness many feel when faced with the prospect of returning to work and fearing for the safety of themselves and their families.  So what do you do when feeling tired and weary, or burdened by life?

When Jesus spoke to the crowds he knew that amongst them would be those who were struggling with life and those who found little meaning in life.  Jesus sets out the solution for them and it is to come to him.  You might think it presumptuous of Jesus to say: Come to me … and I will give you rest (11:28).  However, think about it for a moment.  There is an interesting episode recorded earlier in Matthew 11 that gives us some insight into this.  When John the Baptist was in prison he sent his disciples to ask Jesus the question:  ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ (Matthew 11:3).  Notice what Jesus said in reply: ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor’  (11:4-5).  Basically Jesus is telling John’s disciples that the things he does and what he says all point to one conclusion: that he is the promised Messiah.

Think again about Jesus’ statement that the weary and burdened should come to him and find rest.  Do you see that it is the one who can heal the blind and lame, those suffering from leprosy, the deaf, as well as raise the dead, that is making this promise.  If Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah, God’s Son, then there is nothing beyond his ability.  He is the only one who can make this claim,  because he is the only one who can fulfil it.

When Jesus talks about giving us rest, he is not essentially speaking of relief from physical weariness, but something that goes much deeper.  In Matthew 11:29 he says:  ‘… you will find rest for your souls’.   There is an emptiness in the human soul that seeks meaning, but often tries to find it in the world through striving after satisfaction from physical pleasures and material possessions.  While Jesus is, of course, interested in our physical welfare, he is more interested in our spiritual welfare.

If you know someone who is weary and burdened at the moment, point them to the only one who can provide the solution.

Pray:  Father, we pray for those who feel weary and burdened by life at the moment.  May they turn to your Son, Jesus Christ, and find rest for their souls.  Amen

Every blessing