Rest for Your Soul

November 16, 2020

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 (Matthew 11:28-30).

The promise of Jesus in rest for your souls does not refer to a cessation of physical labor. No. As servants of the Lord and ministers of His Gospel, we are to continue the work of Jesus Christ until He returns. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38). And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20).

The idea of ‘God’s rest’ goes all the way back to the promise of God to Israel and is referenced again in Hebrews 3:11; 4:3,5. To the Jews it was ‘rest’ in Canaan which was the Promised Land. The ‘rest’ was not an exemption from labor because Israel had to live in the land and perform all the necessary activities of life and living. It was a ‘rest for the soul’, a peace in spirit for having received the promise of God. Joshua and Caleb received that rest, Israel did not.

Jesus here refers back to Jeremiah 6:16, Thus says the Lord, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. So what is that ‘rest’? It is spiritual rest that comes by know the Lord God. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). It is the cessation of anxiety and concern in life knowing that the Lord is in control of His creation in general and of our lives in particular. It is the rest of the spirit even in times of persecution, knowing that we receive the greater reward for having suffered with Christ in this life. 

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12).

We will work ‘till Jesus comes, but our labor is not taxing, it is not burdensome. It is a restful labor, a joyful labor, a labor borne out of love for Jesus and His Gospel.

“Lord Jesus, thank You for the promise of spiritual rest not only in the course of my life and ministry here, but in the Kingdom when it is established on earth. I thank You for the peace of mind, spirit, and heart that You give just in knowing You, the Father, and the Spirit. May I continue to serve You faithfully. To Your honor and glory I pray, Amen.”


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