Rest - Rest: Matthew 11:28-30

Matthew 11:28‑30  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
AT 11:28-30{THERE is something very remarkable in the place we find those well-known verses, and there is a great contrast between what the blessed Lord proposes to the soul in them and His own circumstances at that moment. Indeed, it is this, I feel certain, that clothes them with the beauty that surrounds them. The Lord called around Himself His twelve disciples, and instructed them in view of all that lay, before them in their path. This occupies Matt. 10. As soon as He had finished, He Himself departed to teach and preach; for He was, while on earth, not only the faithful servant of Jehovah, but the unwearied servant of men, ministering to all the needy around Him.
John the Baptist, Christ's messenger, who was in prison, heard of His works; and, forgetting that it was not the day of Christ's power as yet, but the day of His grace, he allows a doubt to cross his heart. Can this be the Messiah of Israel after all? "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" The Lord, in sending His answer, refers John to the works, which were those which only the Messiah could do; but it must have been a grief to the heart of Christ to find the confidence of His forerunner and messenger thus shaken.
Next, the state of the nation of Israel, His own people, passed before His heart and grieved Him. He compares them to "children sitting in the market, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, 'We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.’" Israel would not have the ministry of either John the Baptist or Christ-they cast the one into prison, and in the end they crucified Christ. John the Baptist came and preached law, and they refused him; Christ came and preached grace, and they cast Him out. What a picture of the heart of man!
Then there were places on earth which witnessed Christ's mighty works-places where His glory shone out in a remarkable way-Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum. His thoughts turn with sadness to such, as He announces the woe which rests on abused and despised privilege; the heaven-exalted Capernaum should become the hell-doomed city. Reader, I entreat you to ponder such deeply solemn words as these, uttered by the sorrowing Savior, in regard to slighted opportunities and despised long-suffering. Never was there a period like this in the history of Christ as a man on earth, when His labor seemed so in vain-doubted by John, refused by Israel, despised in the scenes of His mightiest works. Yet at this moment it is He rises in the perfection of a man whose meat it was to do the will of Him that sent Him, and He says, "I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." And then it is, having let us, as it were, into the divine secret, He comes out with words which have fallen as healing balm upon many a troubled heart "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will rest you." It is now no longer a question of responsibility to accept or receive; it is free sovereign grace that acts from itself and for itself, finding the weary and burdened that it may rest them. Oh, how blessed all this is! Say, my reader, does it meet you? He who spoke those words knew what man was, what the world was, what the most privileged were. He knew that in a scene in which God was not, where His name had been dishonored and His grace refused, there was weariness and there were burdens enough, but rest there was none. He Himself stands here as the only One in whom there is a place for the sole of the foot to rest on; and, looking out over all time since, and poor breaking hearts in it, He says, "Come to me." The invitation is world-wide; those to whom it is addressed are found everywhere, "Ye that labor and are heavy laden." He knew what that was, and He alone could meet it. Reader, does it not suit you? You cannot deny it-however you may despise or refuse, you cannot say it does not suit you. I would here seek to meet one who says, "Well, what you say is very true; but I am greatly troubled by another little word of Christ which often comes up before me, namely, 'All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;' and I begin to think within myself, am I given of the Father to Christ? and so my burdens and labor of soul are increased." Reader, is this your state? If so, the way out of your difficulty is simple, and the end of your sorrow of heart near at hand; for do you not see that there is no condition or qualification-it is simply, "Come unto me," and going to Jesus is the proof of the Father's giving and drawing. It is to Himself I go, for He says, "Come." He does not say how He will give me rest. He presents Himself, and the rest for my poor sin-stricken soul and sin-burdened conscience is in connection with Himself and the revelation of the Father. He never said "come” until He Himself had come first from heaven to earth, that He might be in this sense "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." Reader, are you seeking rest? "Come unto me, and I will rest you."
The second rest is a further and needed thing too. It is connected with submission, with taking Christ's yoke upon us-it is rest after rest. But my business is at present with the first rest; it must be known first. Dear reader, most earnestly do I desire it for you. If you have never had it, you are, like Noah's dove, out of the ark, in a scene of judgment, without a spot for the sole of your foot to rest on. Safety, rest, peace and plenty were inside the ark; destruction, death, restlessness, and sorrow outside.
He who, when on earth, stood and said, "Come unto me," has since passed through death and the grave, and ascended up on high. In His death, He put away sin; in His resurrection, He proclaimed peace; from glory, where He is, He speaks. He is the same; death has not changed Him; glory has not changed Him. Rest is what you want, reader; it is in Him, and He says, "Come." May the beauty and attractiveness of Himself so surround you, so fill your heart, that, forgetting your feelings, sins, and sorrows, you may rise and go to Jesus, who is "a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat"-the only island of rest in the midst of an ocean of perpetual trouble. W. T. T.