Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Prison of Weariness
Like us, Jesus’ hearers were weary. Not the kind of weariness that we get from working hard all day, but the kind we get from bearing an internal burden that no one sees. Weariness from bearing a burden that weighs heavily on our mind while our head weighs heavily on our pillow. This kind of weariness is what Christ offers rest from.
Pressures and expectations and deadlines and money issues and relationships and responsibilities create these kinds of burdens. Often we’ve learned how to manage them so well that we can’t comprehend what rest from them would feel like. We’ve looked at the world for so long through prison bars that we can no longer conceive of the fresh grass under our feet or the music of the birds or the warm sun on our skin.
Rest in Christ
Rest is what Christ offers. “I will give you rest.” We don’t have to bear our heavy burdens alone—we aren’t even able to. Jesus invites us to give them over to him, so that he can bear them, and in return we have rest from them. That sounds like a good trade. Stress for rest. Pressure for peace. Anxiety for tranquility. Hurt for hope.
This is an ongoing transaction though. New burdens arise every day. Every day we must be diligent to bring them to Christ and hand them over. The longer we keep them and hoist them up on our shoulders, the more we feel heavy and weighed down and joyless. When we trust Christ with them we experience his light, easy rest.
This rest that Christ promises and gives, however, is not available to everyone. It is only for those who come to him. Only a select people will find rest in Christ—those who come to him. But he offers the invitation to those who will accept it.
His call to come, however, is even stronger than just an offer. The Greek word used here for “come” means “Come here!” or “Come on!” It was used to call someone to come eat or to come go somewhere. It’s more than just an invitation, it’s a excited command to come enjoy fellowship. Jesus knows that we are prone to try to figure our problems out on our own or to fix our mistakes or failures. We become locked up within because we never find freedom in striving. So he commands us. Come. Rest.