“…I will give you rest.” Matthew 11.28
Jesus invited all those who were weary and burdened to come to him so that he could give them rest. Can we trust this promise, or could it be that Jesus decides not to give us rest on this particular occasion?
Jesus confidently made his promise, not just to reassure us of his presence looking out for us, but also because of what he was going on to do – to die for us. The ‘rest’ that he promised could also be summed up by another familiar phrase from the Gospels – having life “to the full” (John 10.10). Jesus said that the reason he came was so that we would have such life, and it is interesting that in the very next verse he spoke of himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. The promise of abundant life for us is linked to the laying down of his life.
This is why we can be confident about Jesus’ promise of rest – because it is a declaration of what he has already done and not about what he will do. He died for us, and by doing so he has opened up the way for us to enter the very presence of God. Our rest flows from being with God and this has already been achieved by Jesus. It isn’t a matter of Jesus pondering whether or not to give us rest because he took that decision when he died for us. ‘Rest’ is ours, if only we will come to him.
Call to mind some of the things that are troubling you or are on your heart at this time and as you lift them to Jesus in prayer, make a conscious effort to release the burdens and anxieties into his hands so that you can begin to experience and enjoy the rest that he has already prepared for you.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission