The COVID pandemic and the accompanying social unrest has left many of us feeling anxious and depressed, burdened by fear, worry and pain. These feelings have even engendered violence as people lash out in an effort to control their lives, often at the expense of others. The media and the government tell us to stand together and we will overcome, but this is a lie.
Only Jesus offers real hope and peace to those who are weary and burdened. 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 religious 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. They did not have the proper connections or credentials. Jesus condemned those who rejected Him 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 knew they had little or no control over their lives. They 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 today 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, to establish justice, 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, no now and not in the age to come.