Finding Rest From Your Burdens

Vaughn Shoemaker was an award-winning cartoonist for a Chicago newspaper for many years. I remember one cartoon he drew of a mighty rushing waterfall. Over a waterfall extended a large branch of a tree, and in the branch was a nest with a mother bird sitting over her newly hatche … More


In contrast to His condemnation of the three Galilean cities Jesus issued a call to those who in faith would turn to Him (vv. 25-26). He declares that true discipleship can be enjoyed only by those who come to Him in childlike faith. Jesus goes on to say that the one who truly knows the Father is the Son (v. 27). But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so they can know Him too.

He issued a call to all who are weary and heavy-laden to come to Him. A yoke symbolizes obedience and Christian obedience includes learning from Christ. In this command there are actually two levels of rest that are promised. The first level is given to us when we become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (v. 28). The second level of rest is not something given to us but is found by us when we fulfill the requirements of being yoked with Christ: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (vv. 29-30).

Weariness is an internal exhaustion that comes from trying to achieve God’s standard by our own efforts.  Heavy-laden suggests the external burdens caused by the efforts of works of righteousness.  In this command Jesus contrasts the heavy burdens that we bring to Him at salvation with the light burdens that we carry with Him in service. The burdens are light because we do not carry them in our own strength but by the power of God’s grace, even as Paul testified: “I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Cor. 15:10).


When I experience a time when my burdens are just too much for me to bear I need to pray and ask the Lord to take them. After I have prayed it is so easy to pick up my burdens again and forget that I have layed them at His feet. This is not the way He is telling me to do in this passage in order to have the “rest” he is promising.

Matthew 11:25-30 (English Standard Version)

At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »