“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
Jesus has made an extraordinary claim and now He makes an extraordinary offer to all who hear Him. He claimed in the previous verse to be the only one who knows God the Father and to be able to reveal the Father to anyone He chooses (Matthew 11:25–27). Now He makes an invitation: if you’re struggling and tired, I can give you relief.
Here is the implication. Jesus’ Jewish listeners were engaged in a mighty struggle to know God the Father. Their religious leaders had placed enormous burdens on them (Matthew 23:4), and they were laboring to carry those burdens in hopes of being approved by God. Jesus has just said that He can reveal His Father to anyone, and He immediately offers rest to everyone who is weighed down.
Jesus is not talking about physical rest, necessarily. The following verse will describe it as rest for the soul. The path to the Father through Jesus is not one of weary labor and heavy work. Jesus’ earlier analogy about the path to life being narrow and “difficult” (Matthew 7:14) is entirely separate, and speaking from a different perspective. From the view of the world, following Christ means taking on difficult circumstances and giving up worldly pleasures. From the view of eternity—of salvation—following Christ means giving up the impossible task of carrying our own sin.
Christ does not say it here, but the gospel will reveal that Jesus is offering to carry the burden and do the work in order to lead those who come to Him—those who are “yoked” to Him—to the Father (Matthew 11:30; John 6:29).
Rest in Jesus today. Rest in His goodness and grace.