In these blogs, we are covering the teachings of Christ. Having covered the top ten (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). We are now looking at the command to ‘find your rest’.
There is no greater rest
There is no greater rest than the rest that is to be found in God. God designed the rest. So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [as His own, that is, set it apart as holy from other days] because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and done, Genesis 2:3.
Today when someone mentions resting – it usually means binge-watching a series on Netflix, often termed ‘chillin’. But the rest that Jesus speaks about is something very different.
Jesus said, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will ‘find your rest‘ (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls, Matthew 11:29.
The danger of burnout
Jesus and His disciples were being bombarded with demands. There were many people continually coming and going, and they couldn’t even find time to eat. We know the danger of burnout. A state where our emotions, mind and body has been subjected to prolonged or repeated stress. Jesus’ remedy was, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while,” Mark 6:31.
There is a whole chapter in the book of Hebrews entitled ‘the believer’s rest’ – While the promise of entering His rest still remains and is freely offered today, let us fear, in case any one of you may seem to come short of reaching it or think he has come too late… For we who believe [that is, we who personally trust and confidently rely on God] enter that rest [so we have His inner peace now because we are confident in our salvation, and assured of His power]… since the promise remains for some to enter His rest, and those who formerly had the good news preached to them failed to [grasp it and did not] enter because of [their unbelief evidenced by] disobedience. Hebrews 4:1.
Failure through unbelief
We fail to enter His rest due to unbelief. In entering His rest we therefore believe and cast off the yokes this world seeks to put upon us and instead take His yoke and learn from Him. How then do we learn from Him? – He has given us His Word and His Spirit to guide us through it.
There is a rest to be had now and there is a rest to be had for eternity. “Therefore I was angered with this generation, And I said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways [nor become progressively better and more intimately acquainted with them]’, So I swore [an oath] in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest [the promised land],’” Hebrews 3:10.
The Book of Revelation speaks of a time to come. Between Chapter 14:11 and 14:13 there lies to difference between those who enter His rest and those who do not.
And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night—those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name,” 14:11.
Then I heard [the distinct words of] a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes, [blessed indeed],” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest and have relief from their labours, for their deeds do follow them,” 14:13.
Take care, brothers and sisters
Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to trust and rely on the Lord, a heart] that turns away from the living God.
But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. For we [believers] have become partakers of Christ [sharing in all that the Messiah has for us], if only we hold firm our newborn confidence [which originally led us to Him] until the end, Hebrews 3:10.
He came to free His church
Henry says – We must come to Jesus Christ as our Rest, and repose ourselves in him (Matt. 11:28), Come to me all you that labour. He came to free His church from the yoke of ceremonial law and to introduce a purer and more spiritual way of worship. This is also to be understood by the guilt and power of sin.
All those, and those only, are invited to rest in Christ, that are conscious of the burden of sin, and groan under it. Not only convinced of the evil of their own sin, but are contrite in soul for it. That they are really sick of their sins, weary of the service of the world and of the flesh and see their state sad and dangerous and are in pain and fear about it. Such as in the case of the prodigal (Luke 15:17) and the publican (Luke 18:13). This is necessary preparation for pardon and peace. The Comforter must first convince (John 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Saviour], and about righteousness, and about judgment). He tears and He heals.
He holds out the golden sceptre
The invitation itself, ‘Come to Me’ is a glorious display of Christ’s greatness which we had (Matt. 11:27 no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son [deliberately] wills to reveal Him). As Lord of all, we may be frightened of Him, but here He holds out the golden sceptre, that we may touch the top of it and may live. It is the duty and interest of weary and heavy laden sinners to come to Jesus Christ. Renouncing all those things which stand in opposition to Him, or in competition with Him. We must accept Him, as our Physician and Advocate, and give up ourselves to His conduct and government.
Whoever will, let him come
Freely willing to be saved by Him, in His own way, and upon His own terms. Come and cast that burden upon Him, under which thou art heavy laden. Whoever will, let him come.
The blessing promised to those that do come: I will give you rest. Jesus Christ will give assured rest to those weary souls, that by a lively faith come to Him for it. Rest from the terror and power of sin. A rest in God, and a contentment of soul, in His love. This is that rest which remains for the people of God, begun in grace, and perfected in glory.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Rest in My love The service of My followers Is a path paved with beauty. It must always be one of love Never one of duty. Temptations can so easily overwhelm A heart consumed by fear. Service done from a sense of duty Denies My love drawing near. Against love, temptation has no power Live in My Spirit; in My love rest. Look to Me for everything And your life will indeed be blessed. Trust Me even when I do not Send the full measure you ask. It must not be thought necessarily Some weakness hindering My help in your task. In some cases this may be so Though I would expect you to see. That it is My restraining hand beckoning you To rest, step aside with Me. My desire it is that My help Flow into and through you. My concern is that you at all times Do what I would have you to do. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, I come to You afresh today. Forgive me for not striving to enter the rest that You offer. Give me a hunger for Your Word and Your presence that I do what You would have me to do on this earth. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.