Matthew 11:28 – “Come unto me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Many people of a certain age remember the Calgon commercials with phone ringing, kids screaming and the demands of life all hitting at one time. The actress in the commercial then screams out “calgon take me away,” and the next scene shows a bubble bath being prepared, so that she might enjoy a moment of rest. Rest is something that people of all ages are searching for, but it is something that is very elusive. We want rest, but rest doesn’t come easy.
Jesus however issued us a command in Matthew 11:28, “come unto Me and I will give you rest.” Many times we read that verse as an invitation, Jesus speaks in a still, small voice and says very sweetly “come to me and I will give you rest.” That is not accurate however, rather than a sweet invitation, this verse is a strong command. It is an imperative in the Greek language. Come to me. It is the same word Jesus used when He called His first disciple, “come to me and I will make you fishers of men.” It is not just an invitation, it is a command. Come to me, right now, stop wasting your time, come to me and find rest.
Why does Jesus command us to come to Him for rest? I think it is two fold. He is sick of seeing us waste our lives and our time trying to find rest and peace in the things of the world. He is tired of seeing us pursue the world with passion only to come up empty. For you see worldliness and sin always lead to emptiness even if we catch what we are pursuing. So Jesus says, Stop! Quit pursuing the things of the world. He is tired of seeing us wear ourselves out of things that don’t matter.
Secondly He knows that He is the only source of true rest. It is impossible to truly rest if you do not have peace. That is why when the angels appeared announcing the birth of Jesus they cried out, “peace on earth”. Rest is not possible apart from peace and Jesus knows that. He knows that if a person does not have peace with God they will never find true rest. He knows that if a person doesn’t have peace within themselves they will never find true rest, and so Jesus doesn’t say with a sweet tone, “come unto me,” but instead it is a word of command, “COME to me and find rest.” Quit chasing after things that will never give you rest or peace, because peace and conversely rest is only found in Jesus. Rest comes from having peace with God, and peace within yourself at knowing your sins are forgiven. So come to Jesus and find peace and rest. It is an invitation, yes, but it is a command as Jesus calls those who will follow Him to a life of obedience.
Rest is possible because of Jesus. Yes the journey of life is difficult sometimes and filled up with struggles of many kinds. We can quickly grow weary and weighed down by the burdens of life, and yet Jesus says, “stop, come to me, don’t be burdened, don’t be weary, lay aside those things that weight you down and find rest.” That invitation, that command is made even more powerful by the fact that it is spoken by the King. Come to the palace, lay your burdens down, come into the presence of the King and find rest. Find rest, find strength, and be renewed. Let your weariness fade away because you are now in the Presence of the King!
Come to Him, a person, not a list of rules, not red tape, not a program, not a false hope, not something of the world that fades away, but to a person, to Jesus. He is the King who personally cares about you and loves you. He will give you rest. That is grace in action.