In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” From this passage of Scripture, Jesus is telling us if we come to Him, He will give us rest. Since Jesus is God (John 1:1) and He does not lie (Hebrews 6:18), then God does really give rest to the weary.
Who Are the Wearied Souls?
When we think of rest, we think of relaxing, sitting down for a bit, or taking a quick nap. When Jesus promises to give us rest, He is talking about spiritual rest. Bible Study Tools describes the rest Jesus gives us as “peace of conscience, ease of mind, the tranquility of soul, through an application of pardoning grace, a view of free justification by the righteousness of Christ, and full atonement of sin by his sacrifice; and eternal rest hereafter.”
Just as our bodies need physical rest, we also need spiritual rest. The spiritual rest God gives us is forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We can all grow weary in our daily lives, and we need the rest that only God can provide. This rest is found in the redemptive work of Christ. The world tries to get us to seek out our identity, worth, and salvation apart from Christ.
Pursuing the world’s definition of identity, worth, or salvation is exhausting. The false religions and cults will not provide rest for an individual’s soul either. In each false religion or cult, there is the constant striving for perfection. Buddha told his followers, “You yourself must strive.”
Likewise, in other false religions and cults, one has to work for their own salvation by following rules, regulations, and traditions. None of these false belief systems provide rest for a person’s wearied soul. Jesus is the only One who promises to give rest to our weary souls.
Obtaining the rest for our wearied souls is found in the verse directly after Matthew 11:28. Jesus continues by stating, “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” (Matthew 11:29-30).
We can only find rest in Jesus. We cannot discover or experience true rest apart from Jesus. The Bible tells us salvation is not obtained by following rules, regulations, traditions, or doing good deeds.
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Salvation is obtained by placing faith in Jesus.
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve (1 Corinthians 15:1-5).
Many people may believe this is too simple, but it is not. Jesus’ death on the cross was not simple, but rather painful. He died in order for us to be forgiven of our sins and provide lasting rest to our wearied souls by placing faith in Him.
God knew we could never work out our own salvation as salvation has always been placing faith in Him. When you place faith in Jesus, He promises to give rest to your wearied soul.
Is There Rest for the Weary?
God does not only promise to give rest to the weary in Matthew 11:28. There are multiple passages in Scripture where God promises to give rest to the weary. In Exodus 33:14, God tells Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Likewise, Ezekiel 34:15 says, “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
God promises to give us rest and He will give us rest. The rest spoken of in the Bible includes spiritual rest as discussed above, but God also wants you to rest in the peace of knowing you can bring Him all of your worries and lay them down at his feet.
In 1 Peter 5:7, the Apostle Peter writes, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” God truly cares about you, loves you, and yearns to give you the rest that only He can provide. When you feel weary and burdened, talk with God. Call out to God in prayer, pour your heart out before Him, and ask for His help. Ask Him to give you rest for your weary soul.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).
Whatever is making you feel stressed, anxious, or wearied, God can help you. God is greater than any problem or challenge you are facing in your life. God does not intend for us to go through life alone.
He wants you to talk with Him daily and read His Word in order to have an active relationship with Him. God has also placed friends and family into our lives to help us when life gets overwhelming. Especially during these difficult days of COVID-19, we have all experienced heightened feelings of anxiety, stress, and insecurity.
God knows these feelings can be overwhelming and cause a sense of panic inside us. Emotions such as anxiety, panic, fear, and stress can cause us to become weary over time. God sees your pain and how much you are trying to get through each day. He wants to give you His peace and give you rest. When you pour your concerns over to God, He will give you rest.
God does not want you to live a wearied life. He died in order for you to have an abundant life (John 10:10). No matter what you are facing today, God can give you rest if you ask Him. God delights to answer prayers in accordance with His Will.
This does not mean God will automatically take you out of the stressful situation, but it does mean God will give you His peace through stressful circumstances. Rest is something we all have strived for in our life and God is the only One who can provide us with what our weary souls need.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.