Rest for the Weary

Click here for more messages from the book of Matthew.
Click here for more messages from the Mission and Conflict series.
Click here to return to the Sermons page.

Matthew 11:25-30 (Rest for the Weary)

INTRODUCTION: Our message series is called Mission and Conflict, and we have been tracing these two themes of mission and conflict together through Matthew 10-12.

We mentioned last week that the Bible is full of both warning passages and blessing passages, and often they appear right next to each other in Scripture.

That is certainly the case here. Last week we looked at a warning passage that offered a strong warning concerning those who do not repent and believe the message about Jesus. This week we come to a blessing passage that speaks of the sweet blessings that come to those who do repent and believe the message about Jesus. In this passage Jesus himself offers the invitation to come and find our rest in him. (Read Matthew 11:25-30 and pray)

——————————————–

How many of you feel rested this morning? How many of you feel rested most mornings? Jesus talks about rest in our passage this morning. Not just physical rest. Not just mental rest. He is talking about a more important rest, a deeper rest. He is talking about spiritual rest – rest for your soul.

We are a restless people. Our lives are often filled with hurts and regrets and guilt and so many distractions. Sometimes we try to tune it all out with music or television or various activities, but none of that cures the restlessness in our souls. None of that can make us whole again.

St. Augustine once prayed, “O Lord, you have formed us for yourself, and our souls are restless until they find their rest in you.” I have good news for you this morning. Jesus offers you rest. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Do you want rest in your life? Then come to Jesus. In this passage Jesus talks about how we may find our rest in God through him, through Jesus alone. If your soul is restless this morning, if you are weary and burdened by life’s heavy load, then this passage is for you. You need to find your rest in God through Jesus Christ.

I. Come to Jesus and learn from God (verses 25-26)

So, how do you do it? How do you find rest for your soul? First of all, Jesus invites you to come to him and learn from God. Jesus prayed the following in verse 25:

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” (Matthew 11:25-26)

    A. God is Lord of heaven and earth.

Notice that Jesus first addresses his Father as “Lord of heaven and earth.” This reminds us how great and awesome God is. God is sovereign over all things. He knows all things. There is nothing in heaven or earth that lies outside his gracious power. He is in control of the whole universe. You might wonder if such an awesome and mighty being would have anything to do with human beings, whether he would even notice us down here on this third rock from the sun. And yet he not only notices us: he speaks to us; he teaches us; he reveals to us things that are otherwise hidden from us.

    B. God has hidden these things from the wise and learned.

And yet God does not reveal these things to everyone. Verse 25 is very clear about that. Jesus says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11:25) “These things” refers to spiritual truth revealed from God.

When Jesus says that God has hidden these things from the wise and the learned, he is not talking about your intelligence or your I.Q. He is not talking about your grade point average. The wise and learned in this verse are not those who are extra smart or have a great intellect.

Rather, they are those who rely on their own wisdom and understanding instead of God’s. They are the exact opposite of the person described in Proverbs 3: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    C. God has revealed these things to little children.

And when Jesus says that God has revealed these things to “little children,” he is not talking about infants or babies. Rather this is similar to what he said in Matthew 18: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Jesus is speaking here of humility and trust. God has hidden these things from the people who think they know it all, but he has revealed them to those who humbly trust God and his word rather than their own wisdom or strength.

Why did God choose to reveal these things to the humble and trusting rather than the proud and self-reliant? Jesus finishes off his prayer in verse 26 by saying, “Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” (Matthew 11:26) The word translated “pleasure” at the end of verse 26 can also mean “will or choice.” In other words, it is God’s choice. He is Lord of heaven and earth, and he gets to choose to whom he will reveal spiritual truth. And he reveals it to those who are humble and trusting.

How do you find rest for your souls? First of all, come to Jesus in order to learn from God. Come as a little child, confessing your weakness and lack of understanding, and the Lord of heaven and earth will reveal these things to you.

II. Come to Jesus and know the Father (verse 27)

Secondly, Jesus invites you to come to him and know the Father. Jesus said in verse 27:

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27)

There are a number of things we learn from this verse.

    A. All things have been committed to Jesus by the Father.

First, all things have been committed to Jesus by the Father. That is an amazing statement. Jesus is saying that God the Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, has put all things under Jesus’ power and authority. Basically, Jesus is saying, “God has given me charge of the whole universe.” And so, all those things that God is pleased to reveal come through Jesus. People sometimes accuse Christians of being narrow-minded because we focus so exclusively on Jesus. But Jesus is God’s Son, and God the Father has revealed himself through Jesus. There is no other way to know God.

    B. No one knows the Son except the Father.

The second thing Jesus tells us here is that no one knows the Son except the Father. In other words, only God the Father truly knows Jesus the Son. Jesus is the infinite, majestic, eternal Son of God. He was with God in the beginning, and he was God. All things were made through him; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)

But no one looking at Jesus 2000 years ago could have known that. He looked just like an ordinary man. Even John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus, did not recognize him on his own. God had to reveal it to him.

John said: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34)

    C. No one knows the Father except the Son.

And just as no one knows the Son except the Father, so also no one knows the Father except the Son. Jesus is God. He was with the Father in the beginning. He has known the Father throughout all eternity. If there is anyone who knows God the Father and can help you to know the Father, it is Jesus Christ. There is no one else.

That’s why Jesus said, “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27) Only Jesus can reveal the Father. And to whom does Jesus choose to reveal God? To those who are humble and trusting; to the little children rather than the wise and the learned.

III. Come to Jesus and find rest for your soul (verses 28-30)

Jesus invites you to come to him and learn from God. Jesus invites you to come to him and know the Father. And then thirdly, Jesus invites you to come to him and find rest for your soul. Look at verses 28-30. These are some of the most comforting and best loved words of Jesus recorded in Scripture:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

    A. Jesus offers rest to the weary and burdened.

Notice several things here. First of all, look at Jesus’ invitation. Jesus offers rest to the weary and burdened. It is an open invitation. No one is excluded. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.” If you are weary and burdened this morning, then you qualify! This offer is open to you.

Life is full of struggles and hardships. It is easy to grow weary; it is normal to get discouraged; it is common to stumble under the weight of life’s burdens. Jesus offers you rest. The word translated “rest” in verse 28 is a word that means “to be still” or “to cease from movement.” Jesus offers to take all the strivings and restless longings of your heart and give you rest.

And that word “give” is also important. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This is Jesus’ gift to you. You do not have to earn it. You do not have to deserve it. You only need to respond to Jesus’ invitation.

    B. Jesus is gentle and humble in heart.

Secondly, notice Jesus’ character. Verse 29: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) What is Jesus like? He is gentle and humble in heart.

That word “humble” means “to come low to the ground.” That’s exactly what God did for you in Jesus. God is infinitely higher than any of us. Heaven is his throne, and the earth is his footstool. And yet God came “low to the ground” through Jesus. The infinite creator God of the universe came down to earth as a human being. And as the Son of God, Jesus showed us what the Father is like. Jesus is gentle and humble in heart. That means so is God the Father.

A lot of times people think of God as harsh and judgmental. And yes, God will and must punish sin. But God is not harsh. He is gentle, loving and forgiving. He sent his Son to die for your sins. He understands your weaknesses. Psalm 103 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14) That’s what God is like.

    C. Jesus calls you to follow him as his disciple.

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” The word “learn” in this verse is related to the word for “disciple.” When Jesus tells you to take his yoke upon you, he is asking you to become his disciple. He invites you to follow him and to serve him as your Master. This world is a harsh taskmaster. But not Jesus. Jesus is gentle and humble in heart. And when you follow him, you will find rest for your soul.

    D. His yoke is easy; his burden is light.

Why will you find rest for your soul? Look at what Jesus says in verse 30: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) The people Jesus was talking to were burdened under the law. Their religious leaders practically buried them under a pile of laws, commands and traditions. Jesus described them this way in Matthew 23. He said, “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23:4)

The law was a heavy burden for people in Jesus’ day, and it is a heavy burden for us today also. The law is always a heavy burden, because we can’t keep it. The law says, “Do not lie,” and we lie. The law says, “Do not steal,” and we steal. The law says, “You shall have no other gods before me,” and we put all sorts of things before God in our lives. And so, we feel the weight and the burden and the judgment of God’s law in our lives.

A lot of people think that’s what Christianity is all about. They think it is nothing but a bunch of rules and laws to follow, but that is not how Jesus describes it here. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

You see, being a Christian is not about following the law. It is about following a person. It is about following Christ. It is about taking Jesus’ yoke upon you. And Jesus’ yoke is easy, because he is there to help you live the Christian life. He is there to forgive you when you fail, he is there to pick you up when you fall, and he is there to strengthen you for the journey ahead. He is there to give you rest for your soul.

CONCLUSION: The Bible says there is no rest for the wicked. (Isaiah 57:20) There is also no rest for those outside of Christ. We can only find rest for our souls when we come to God through Jesus. The invitation is open to all who will humble themselves before God and come trusting in his Son.

    Come to Jesus and learn from God.
    Come to Jesus and know the Father.
    Come to Jesus and find rest for your soul.

© Ray Fowler

You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this message provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and that you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For any web postings, please link to the sermon directly at this website.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copies:
By Ray Fowler. © Ray Fowler. Website: http://www.rayfowler.org

Click here for more messages from the book of Matthew.
Click here for more messages from the Mission and Conflict series.
Click here to return to the Sermons page.