Rest For Your Souls – Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus says, “Come to Me, you who are weary from worrying about your families or classes or jobs, from worrying about a lonely loved one or friend, from feeling discouraged, from struggling with self-esteem or worth, and I will give you rest. Come to me in your loneliness, in your fear about the future. Come to Me and I promise to give you my rest, to give you myself.”

Jesus alone has the power to give us rest for our souls – and He displays that power through humble servanthood. Jesus came – as a baby in the manger, as a man on the cross – to bear our burdens, to lay down His life for us that we may be saved and freed to accept true rest from Him – a rest that will inhabit our souls.

On that hillside to the crowd so long ago when Jesus spoke these words, and to each one of us here today, He is saying: “I know you. I love you. I know your burden. I know what is weighing you down today.”

How often in our days do we long for the kind of rest that nourishes and fills the deepest parts of our souls, that comes only from God knowing us so well and loving us so well. The kind of rest that says, “Come to Me and you will never hunger or thirst or fear or despair again.”

The rest Jesus offers is renewal for our spirits and in our lives – it is the end of restlessness, the end of seeking and searching, the end of uncertainty, and the beginning of rest and peace and purpose.

We can trust that we will find lasting rest in Jesus because we trust that God is faithful and trustworthy. We are fragile and broken, and He is humble and gentle with our fragility and brokenness – “He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” We can trust Jesus to carry us, gently and lovingly – even in our most difficult days.

Jesus promises to all who come to Him that we will find rest in His merciful love and purpose and peace for our souls. The yoke of Jesus is easy and light to carry because Jesus carries it for us – through the strength of God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love.

May we know, as we are on this Lenten journey, that Jesus is the promise of rest and peace, of purpose and certainty that we seek.

Jesus, Messiah, Lord and Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.