“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.” (NIV)
In a season such as we are living these past few weeks, the words Jesus speaks in this passage should stir comfort and peace within our souls.
Let’s look at each of the ways Jesus expresses how He feels about us, individually and corporately as the Church.
Come to Me. What a special invitation that is to us. He desires us to be in His presence, and He desires to be in our presence.
All you who are weary and burdened. Is anyone of you weary? Are you just plain worn out, tired, lacking energy to carry on? Are you heavy hearted (burdened) by the sadness and gloom which has penetrated our world recently? Jesus calls you into His presence.
I will give you rest. Jesus speaks here, not of a rest from work, but a rest from the weariness and the burdens you have been carrying. He offers rest for your heart, your will, and your mind.
Take my yoke upon you. This yoke is not something simply give by Jesus, but it is something He wants to share with us. The function of a yoke is to join two things together. Jesus desires that we be joined together with Him.
Learn from Me. Jesus is saying here, Increase your knowledge of Me by listening to Me. Learn from Me by your observation of how I live and what I teach. Learn and use what you learn in the practice of everyday life.
Why does Jesus want us to learn from Him? Well, He gives us the answer to that question in the next phrase: “I am gentle and humble in heart.” If you are reading the King James Version you will read “meek” rather than “gentle.” Meekness is often associated with weakness, but it is far from that. W. E. Vine puts it this way in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: “(meek) is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.” You notice too, that humility is mentioned in the same statement with gentleness (meekness).
You will find rest for your souls. Here again Jesus offers that rest, not for the body, but for the soul. The soul, that part of God’s creation of human life in which we find our ability to reflect on what we have heard and have learned.
Jesus sums His invitation to us by reminding us that His yoke is easy and My burden is light. Why is it easy? It is easy because He is sharing and helping us to carry our burden. And because we are yoked together with Jesus, we find that we can make it out of this season of trial and trouble.
We often sing the old hymn which says, “Leaning on the everlasting arms of Jesus.” Friends, if there ever was a time we need to lean on Him; it is this day and time. The world that Satan rules now is extremely active in the effort to wipe the Church of Jesus Christ into a non-existent and non-effective condition. It is only by our willingness to lean on Him and seek His rest that we will stand firm and see Satan defeated.
----- Gary K Fair