“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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Feeling anxious and depressed? Burdened by a load of fear, worry and pain? Jesus offers hope to those who are weary. Millions of Christians down through the millennia have taken great comfort in this invitation from the Lord. He offered this prayer and these words of soothing reassurance following a discussion about the signs and miracles He performed. These signs were proof that He was the Messiah that God had promised to send to. the Chosen people of Israel. However, many of the Jews, particularly the rich, the educated and the leaders rejected these signs because they did not accept the sign-givers, Jesus and His disciples. They were common people. They were not of the elite, the ruling religious parties, nor were they disciples of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus condemned them because the signs should have demonstrated to them the power of God and led them to faith and repentance.
Instead Jesus praised the faith of the common people, the poor, the downtrodden, the exploited, the sick, the lepers, the sinners, all people the elite despised and ignored. These poor folk accepted the signs Jesus and His disciples worked and believed in Him. In recognition of their faith, Jesus uttered of the most appealing and comforting passages in all of Scripture, an invitation which is attractive and hard to refuse because we all want to be relieved of our burdens and worries.
Yet millions do choose to reject this offer. Why? Many people consider that following Jesus is difficult and burdensome as they think it interferes with their lives, their agendas, their path to self-fulfillment. But Jesus has the only real comfort and peace to grant in this life and the next. All who seek comfort and rest from their weary lot in life, from their striving to be on top, to be somebody, will find satisfaction and relief only by surrendering their lives and priorities to Jesus. He offers comfort and rest for the suffering, the humble, the meek, weak and the downtrodden. Those who are self-sufficient and wise in their own eyes will never rest.