I Will Give You Rest Matt. 11: 28-30 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jesus gave an invitation to “all ye that labour and are heavy laden.” Until you feel the labor of life and until you feel the heavy load of the burdens of life, you aren’t looking for rest. The world has tried to make everything easier in life. You pay at the pump, buy groceries at the grocery store, take a pill to ease your pain, air condition your home, car and office, buy meals that you just heat in the microwave and eat, handle all of your communication with a phone you can carry in your pocket, and so forth.
But easier and more convenient doesn’t equate to rest. People are more stressed now than ever before. You are carrying a load and weighed down with burdens that won’t let you rest. If you will be honest with yourself and God, you need rest. And our text this morning tells you where to find it. Rest is in Jesus Christ. But you must follow the order of how to have rest in Jesus Christ.
Most of us want to come to him, present our petitions, get some rest immediately and then go right on our merry way. We’ll come back to him later when we’re ready for more rest. Others of us will seek our rest in entertainment, pleasure and recreation. But that’s not how Jesus gives you rest. He has given us a very specific four-step formula to follow for obtaining rest.
Jesus said, “I will give you rest” when you:
Come unto me – Matt 11:28 – He didn’t say, “my mother, my foster father, my saints, your church, those who profess to be my earthly representatives, he said, “Come unto me.” You must come to Jesus, not to some false religious representation of him. He’s real; he’s here. He’s right where you can find him easily.
You’ll look for him when you labor and are heavy laden. Don’t fuss about how heavy your load is right now. Thank God that your burdens have caused you to seek rest in Jesus! When the Jews first came to Egypt, they had it made in Goshen. They didn’t start looking for rest until they were heavy laden [Ex 1:13-14; 2:23-25]. Israel was heavy laden when Jesus came [Matt 23:4]. You’ll seek the Lord when the load gets that heavy.
Take my yoke – Matt 11:29 – Yoke means work; it doesn’t mean rest. This is why most people don’t find the rest he promised. Rest is found in HIS yoke. Jesus was in this yoke during his entire earthly ministry [Jn 4:31-34]. He bore the yoke in his youth [Lam 3:27]. Jesus was twelve years old and was doing his Father’ business [Lk 3:42, 49]. Notice how his meat was in doing “the will of him that sent me” and finishing “his work.” And though Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, today, he is still in the yoke [1 Cor 15:24-28]. He intercedes for us and for the lost, right now [Heb 7:25; Rom 8:34]. He is still subject unto the Father.
Taking his yoke means you and he are going to be joined from now on. This is not a come and go invitation. But he said, “my yoke is easy, and my burden in light,” [Matt 11:30].
Learn of me – Matt 11:29 – “For I am meek and lowly in heart.” Jesus works in the yoke perfectly; he is submissively obedient and he is humble; that is, he is easy to work. He is lowly in heart because as an ox he is just a draft animal. Oxen have to be the same size to work together. So, Jesus humbled himself [Phil 2:8] “being found in fashion as a man.” Now we can be yoked together with him. He doesn’t call the commands; he responds to the commands. Step up – forward. Gee – right. Haw – left. Whoa – stop. Back – back up.
It’s like training a new ox in the yoke with a more experienced ox, yoking a green animal with one that is already trained. Oxen work in pairs. They respond to commands and to the whip. A green animal will fight the yoke at first, trying to get out. But, in time, he will become accustomed to the yoke and the whip. Oxen are never finished with their training.
God starts you with a burden you can bear and gradually increases the load. We are never asked to exceed our reasonable capabilities. When doing something like spreading compost… the further you go, the lighter the load. It’s a “courage builder.” Team masters work a team until they are “hard” and conditioned for a greater pull, like the hardness of a good soldier.
Find rest unto your souls – Matt 11:29 – In his yoke is where you find rest. This doesn’t make sense. It seems you would rest in not working. You tell people to come to church on Sunday and they say, “But Sunday is my only day to REST.” You can’t rest without being in church. You must trust what God is showing you and telling you to do.
You find rest in work… “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,” [Ecc 5:12]. You find strength in weakness… “when I am weak, then am I strong,” [2 Cor 12:9-10]. You find life in losing it… “”he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it,” [Matt 10:39]. Everything with God is contrary to the way it is in the world. Thus, you find rest in the yoke.
The Jews had rest promised to them in Canaan but first they had to go through the wilderness, yoked up to the Lord, and they fought it. The spies saw Canaan and bolted. They had to go through the fight with the kings in Canaan before they could possess the land and find their rest. By the time they finished the wilderness journey and the victories in Canaan, Caleb was just as strong as he had been 45 years earlier and went and possessed his own land. Jesus had the cross between the beginning of his ministry and his current rest at the right hand of God, where he is still in the yoke, interceding for us.
Paul knew the yoke [1 Cor 9:9]. In all that he endured while in the yoke, you can’t imagine how he found rest. But he did. He said, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong,” [2 Cor 12:10]. He found pleasure in these things while in the yoke. And the church really grew during his ministry. That’s due to the principle of the yoke. “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox,” [Prov 14:4]. If the church and the work of God are going to continue to grow, we must be in the yoke with Jesus.
Conclusion: If you are here today, laboring and heavy laden, come to Jesus. Come to this altar right here and get in the yoke. Tell Jesus that you’re planning to stay yoked to him and that you are willing to learn of him. You’ll find rest unto your soul. It won’t be there immediately. But when you find it, it will be the rest you’ve been looking for and it will be sweet.