Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV)
25 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; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 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. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus addressed God in prayer as “Father” on many occasions, and he taught his followers that the Father is not far off but accessible to all who belong to him. Jesus also addressed the Father as “Lord of heaven and earth.” This was a reminder to his disciples that every created being will bow before God, willingly or unwillingly. He thanked God for choosing to show himself not necessarily to the wisest and most educated, but instead to those willing to simply trust him. God intended the good news of his plan for redemption to be made known to all. Jesus was the revelation of the Father, and as the God-man, he knew the Father in a way no one else could (v. 27). As a result of Jesus’ relationship to the Father, he asked the disciples to “come to” him (v. 28). Jesus called all who labor or are “tired from hard toil” and heavy laden or “loaded down” to come. The greatest burden a human can carry is the burden of sin and its consequences.
The word “yoke” (v. 29) describes a wooden frame placed over the heads of animals to make them work in tandem while ploughing. A yoke was also an emblem of submission to a conqueror or authority. Without Jesus, all humanity is in slavery and bondage to disobedience. Weariness is inevitable when people try to carry their own burdens, particularly the burden of sin and its effects. Those who place themselves under Jesus’ yoke find rest for their souls. Anyone run down from labor can approach Jesus for spiritual relief and enjoy life with renewed strength. To serve Jesus is no burden. Are you tired from hard toil and loaded down with sin and its consequences in your life? If so, then come to Jesus. If you turn to him in simple faith, he promises to take the weight of your iniquities upon himself and give you the greatest rest possible, rest for your soul. Then you will be able to serve him instead of sin as you get back to the work he has called you to with confidence and energy. Jesus is our ultimate rest. Stop and thank him for taking all your burdens upon himself, confess any sin, and serve alongside and underneath him like never before.