Responding to the Promises of Jesus (Week 3)

The Promise of Rest in Jesus

Matthew 11:25-30


We all look forward to vacations. In fact, we find ourselves working extra hard to get things done before we leave so that we can rest while we are away. But have you ever come back from a vacation needing a vacation because of all the activities that you packed in to those precious few days…the driving to the destination…going to the theme park…even visiting family or old friends. Did you really find rest?
The problem is, we look at rest as the escape from or reward for all of our hard work. That is what the world has been telling us our whole lives. But things are different in God’s kingdom. He wants us to find rest in Him from all the things around us, because in doing so, we find ourselves being truly rested and prepared for what He wants us to do.

“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:27-30


The preceding verses are a prayerful conversation between Jesus and His Father, thanking Him for what He has done and for what He was going to do in and thru His Son. Then Jesus turns this prayerful conversation to and for his disciples in order for them to hear and know His heart. Verse 27 is a declaration for them to realize that HE is the way to the Father. In verses 28-30, Jesus gives us the way to find the promise of rest in Him.
  1. Come to Me
  2. Take and Learn
  3. Find Rest

1. Come to Me


Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”   

Matthew 11:28


A little English class lesson…this is an imperative statement sentence. “Come to me” has the understood subject being “YOU”. But to make this even more clear, Jesus goes on to say “all of you…” or “all y’all”.


Then, in case you were still wondering to whom He was talking to, He says, “who are weary and carry heavy burdens.” I am not asking for a show of hands, but if asked, could you honestly say you are NOT tired/weary and/or carrying some type of burden?  I couldn’t raise my hand. I know that I am to cast all my cares, for He cares for me (I Peter 5:7) But I am human, and tend to pick them back up thinking I can take care of them. But this only causes unrest in my soul. When someone offers to help us, why do we usually respond, “Oh, I got this” when in reality, we don’t. Jesus is telling us that HE wants to help us to not only carry the burden, but to truly find rest in Him!


If you will recall, when I did the 10 am phone call a week ago, I told you that Jesus used this type of invitation 23 times in the Synoptic Gospels. For us to come, we have to change directions, change our plan, surrendering to what Jesus wants us to do. And He promises to give us something that we cannot find anywhere else…true rest.


Last week, we sang the song “Lavished”, which is taken from the 23rd Psalm:  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” The part that always hits me is “makes me lie down…” Sheep can sometimes be stubborn, and the shepherd would have to make them stop, lay down and rest. One of my boys was like that…he fought going to sleep even though he was sooooo tired, because he was afraid of missing something. I remember laying him in his crib, standing over him, and patting his backside, sometimes making him lay down. He would finally surrender and go to sleep, finding the rest that he needed.

Matt Chandler, from one of our RightNowMedia devotionals, pointed out that in the desert region of the Middle East, there are only two rainy seasons, so there are not a lot of these green pastures with still waters. The shepherds would take their sheep there during the day, having the sheep take rest in this peaceful lush place, with the focus of being still and finding true rest. He goes on to say that as Christ as our Shepherd, we trust Him as He leads us, because in this place, we are restored, reanimated, refreshed.

So, the first thing I thought of was TRUST is true rest in Jesus, our Good Shepherd. 

2. Take and Learn


Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart,…”        

Matthew 11:29a          


Again, the imperative statement, with the “You” being understood is made.  It requires action on our behalf. We have the opportunity to receive the vast wisdom of our Lord and Master. We need to take advantage of this invitation! And only you can make that decision for your life.

Last week, Jerry shared from John 15:1-5 where Jesus says that God is the vinedresser or husbandman.  Dr. Earl Radmacher is quoted “So, when Jesus calls His Father the Vinedresser (Husbandman), He is describing Him in terms of His relationship and attitude as well as His actions in the lives of His disciples”.

We all know that in any relationship, there is give and take, but we tend to only take if we know the person’s heart and intent. This is why we need to be in a real true relationship with God, to know His heart and intent for us is always what is best.

The husbandman is defined as “a farmer or worker of soil” and husbandry is an agricultural term related to the production of crops or livestock. And to husband is to manage something well, showing prudence and economic sense. I can just picture Jesus, teaching and talking with His disciples, as they pass a farmer (husbandman) out working in the field. He is working a new team of oxen, trying to get them to work together, the bigger one being stubborn and not cooperating. “Take my yoke upon you…”


Or, a vinedresser working in the vineyard, knowing that it is months before he will see a harvest, still out there pruning off the fruitless vines and training the vines, putting in supports or tying them to the trellis.  He was saying to his disciples that they need to be taught on what they really need to focus on, learn from Him, abide in Him every day, and then go in the rest that you have Him with you every step of the way. The husbandman didn’t just wake up and know what all he had to do…Ask Ed Bell, he can tell you a lot of stories of what he has learned as a modern day husbandman/farmer. But he will also tell you that he sought out and learned from the best in the business. The world tells us to be the best, we have to learn from the best. Well guess what…we already have access to the very BEST…Jesus!!! He has an open invitation to learn from Him. And His ways are not like the world’s ways, but you can rest in His success when you fully follow after Him.


3. Find Rest


and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”                

Matthew 11:29b-30


Rest is more than sleep! I recently had a sleep test done, and it showed that I was not truly resting like I should. My dad and mom recommended that I start taking Melatonin, a natural vitamin that helps your brain to shut down and allow you to sleep. I have been finding this to truly help. But what has been helping the most is that before I close my eyes to go to sleep, I close my eyes in prayer and give all the cares and burdens of the day to the Lord…

“Be still and know that I AM God!”     

Psalm 46:10


“Put your hope in the Lord.” This is a good practice for my nighttime routine, but I also need to practice these during the day. 

Psalm 37:34


It is important to realize that we don’t work for the rest, but rather, what we do comes out of our rest. We rest at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him, and then go out sharing the message of grace, hope, love and peace. By resting in Him, our faith is made stronger. True rest is an intermission, or a cessation of motion, something that fidgety people like me struggle with doing. But in those moments, our hearts, minds and souls come into focus, allowing us to love God with all that we have and for Him to fill us with more of His love for others. Therefore, it is out of this rest that we are able to fulfill His calling for our lives…not as a task, but as a mission of love!

This is something that can only come through your daily surrender and relationship with Jesus. You can’t just do a Google search and find the answers. This is why Jesus said to “Come to Me”, to “Take and Learn” and then you will “Find Rest” for your soul in your daily life. This is how His promise of rest can be fulfilled.
I challenge you today to make a fresh commitment to the calling of being a disciple of Christ. Keep coming to Jesus! Keep taking time to learn from Him! And find rest, not only from the cares of this world, but also any that you may have acquired from some of the religious world. For when you are in relationship with Him, you will realize it’s not about religion, but who you are in Him…a child of God!

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