Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 KJV)
Jesus gives an open invitation to anyone that is laboring and carrying heavy loads to come to Him and receive rest. What was Jesus talking about in this verse? First, we should realize He uses figurative language here. Think of someone carrying a heavy load on their head or shoulders and are suffering under the weight of that load. That is the figure in mind here. Imagine Jesus coming to you and asking you to come to Him so that He will take the load off your shoulder or head and give you some rest.
What did Jesus call “labor and heavy laden” here? We might be tempted to assume He must be talking about the sins of the people or some hardship of life. Well, this scripture can fully apply to these circumstances but that was not what He was referring to here. Matthew 23:4 explains what this heavy load is:
“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 Law in the Old Covenant with the commandments to keep is a spiritual burden and load. Keeping the Law could be compared to carrying a heavy load or having a yoke around your neck. And the Pharisees would increase the burden of religious demands on the people.
We can also get caught up with the legalism of the Law or empty religion in Christianity. Religion is hard work. People can put themselves through very strict regulations that make life very painful but have no spiritual significance. Jesus is inviting us to a practical, fruitful, and enjoyable relationship with God.
Have you experienced the burden or load of religion, including the religion in Christianity?
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It is so easy to fall into legalism today and not realize it. If Christianity feels like a heavy burden or load, then you probably need to hand that to Jesus to receive the rest of God’s grace and love in Him.
Thank the Father for the rest we have in a relationship with Him through Christ.