Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 KJV)

labor and heavy laden showing a man carrying a cupboard on his back

When you hear “labour” and “heavy laden” in this verse, what image comes to mind? Many Christians might picture Jesus addressing sinners burdened with sins. However, Jesus was speaking to those burdened by the emptiness of religious practices.

Envision the metaphor Jesus had in mind: someone burdened with a heavy load, sweating under its weight. This is the imagery Jesus invokes, inviting the religious to come to Him, offering to lift that burden and grant you rest. Who wouldn’t welcome such an offer?

What does Jesus mean by “labour and heavy laden”? Matthew 23:4 sheds light on this:

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers” (KJV).

The Old Covenant Law represents a spiritual burden. Keeping the Law is like carrying a heavy load. Acts 15:10 shows that even the Jewish ancestors could not bear this heavy burden.The Pharisees and religious leaders exacerbated this burden, adding to the people’s load with more demands while exempting themselves.

A relationship with God focused on keeping laws or following rules is burdensome, proving to be exhausting and unrewarding. Following religious rules is challenging emotionally, mentally, and physically.

When Jesus called people to escape from religion, He wasn’t referring to abandoning external, pagan religions. He addressed the departure from Old Testament religion—Judaism. Today, this means escaping the religious spirit within Christianity amongst God’s people.

Today, with the complexities within Christianity, we face the risk of being burdened by the heavy yoke of Christian religion. The religious spirit remains as prevalent among God’s people as it was in the Old Testament. Only a grace-based relationship with God, founded on faith in Christ’s work alone, can bring true rest to our weary souls.

May you find freedom from the snares of Christian religion and enter into the rest provided by Jesus.


Have you felt weighed down by the burdens of religion, including within Christianity?

Apply the Word

Falling into legalism is a subtle trap. If Christianity feels burdensome, it’s time to entrust those burdens to Jesus and embrace the rest found in God’s grace and love.


Express gratitude to the Father for the peace and rest available through our relationship with Him, made possible by Christ.

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