November 21, 2021 Finding Rest

Finding Rest

Nov. 21, 2021



Read Matthew 11:25-30.


The Lord Jesus prays out loud to the Father. The reality that God is the Father of not only Jesus, but to all those who are drawn to him, is made fully known through the words of Christ. Before Christ, the Fatherhood of God was known but never emphasized. The OT saints rarely addressed God as Father in prayer. Only twice in the entire OT is he addressed as Father in prayer, both in Isaiah (63:13; 64:8). Jesus addressed God as Father hundreds of times in the four gospels! What a privilege it is to call God our Father! “Father, thank you that you are my Father! I love you because you are!”


Verse 25 begins, “At that time…,” meaning the time that he said there would be harsher judgment upon the three cities that rejected him. He thanks the Father for hiding the truth about who he is from the wise and learned. This indicates that the learned ones were the ones who took the lead in rejecting him and then the general populace followed them in rejecting Jesus. There were some, of course, in each city that did receive the truth of Christ. But, by and large, the people did not repent.


He thanks the Father both that the learned ones had truth hidden from them and that the Father has revealed truth to little children, meaning his disciples. To know the Son and the Father is a matter of God’s choice, not a matter of education, intelligence, or man’s independent choice. When Peter received the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God (16:16), Jesus said:


“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. [1]


It is God’s will that the truth of Jesus is hidden from some and revealed to little children!


All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. [2]


Many Bible translations place the word, “things,” in italics. This means that Matthew did not write that word, but it was added by the translators to give either better understanding (in their view) or better flow. The actual Greek text just reads, “All have been handed over to me…” or “All have been delivered to me…” All what? Matthew does not specify. So, almost all translations add the word “things.” The context must determine who or what the “all” is. For example, the exact same word is used in John 6:37:


Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.  38 For I have come down from heaven,  not to do My will, but the will of Him  who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise  them up on the last day.[3]


In John 6:37 the word “everyone” is the same word, pas, which is our word “all” in Matthew 11:27. The reason it is translated “everyone” in John 6:37 is because the context makes it obvious that Jesus is referring to people.


But look carefully at our passage in Matthew. He is speaking about people. In the very same verse (11:27), Jesus says:


and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. [4]


Several verses reveal the same truth that we see in John 6:37 and Matthew 11:27:


No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. [5]


And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” [6]


Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”[7]


No one can come to Christ unless they are given to him by the Father!


Unimportant fishermen were given to the Son by the Father. You and I, the unimportant ones, were given to Christ, while Presidents and Senators were not! It is by God’s sovereign grace that we are in the church enjoying the blessings of fellowship and mercifully being transformed from sinners to saints. Others find their joy in things and places apart from the church. Once we come to the Son (because the Father has brought us), then Jesus reveals more of the Father to us! This ought to be marvelous in our eyes!


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.[8]


Here, Christ gives an invitation to his audience to become his disciple. Only those who are “heavy laden” will come. If a person does not feel the burden of their sins they will not come.


Among the lost, those who are wandering, there are three kinds of people. The majority meander through life and ignore the laws of God and pay little attention to their sins. They may labor at their jobs. But they do not labor under the desire to obey God. Neither do they labor under the conviction of their sins. These will not come to Christ in their current condition. If they do come because they hear a message and seek a “ticket” to heaven, they will often fall away after a short time. The reason this happens often is because one must be called inwardly by the Spirit of the Living God and those who are not called do not fully grasp the exigency of faith in Christ. To them, embracing the gospel becomes nothing more than a decision. But it is not up to man. Only the Spirit can open our eyes to our true condition.


Then there are those who recognize that we must obey God and they think that they do, but they do not truly do so. Outwardly, they may go through the motions, but inwardly their hearts are far from the Lord. The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day were in this category. But there are many who fall in this class today. John Calvin simply calls them hypocrites:


Hypocrites give themselves no concern about Christ, because they are intoxicated with their own righteousness, and neither hunger nor thirst (Matth. 5:6) for his grace. Those who are devoted to the world set no value on a heavenly life. It would be in vain, therefore, for Christ to invite either of these classes, and therefore he turns to the wretched and afflicted.[9]


The other kind of person who has not yet come to the Lord for salvation has had the Spirit of the Lord drawing them. Yet, this drawing sometimes takes time. Sometimes it is only a matter of hours. A person becomes aware of their moral failures and they are deeply convicted. They recognize that their sins have separated them from God and they detest their own sins. Other times, a person can labor under the desire to follow God and they keep failing. This can go on for months, even years! Whether they labor for hours or years, Christ invites those to come to him to find rest for their souls.


Only those who feel the burden of their sins will come to Christ! Therefore, when we speak to others about eternal matters, we ought to discern where they are spiritually. There may be a few who are already under conviction of their sins. If we perceive this to be the case, we can present the gospel to them straightway. If they have no such conviction then we do not present the gospel. Rather, we present the law. We affirm the demands of the law and our hearer’s failure to keep it. Rehearsing the Ten Commandments with them will facilitate this. Indeed, this is one of the main purposes for which God gave his law! To open our eyes to our great need of Him!


We speak about Judgment and guilt. This is how both Jesus and the apostles addressed people. Revisit the Sermon on the Mount or the sermons in the book of Acts. See that they emphasized the failure of those who heard them to live according to the revealed will of God. If you do not feel confident to talk about judgment and guilt, then you can do something as simple as sitting and reading, with someone, the Sermon on the Mount or one of the apostle’s sermons in Acts. Or, as stated, just reading the Ten Commandment (in Exodus 20) can be effective, especially if you ask questions about their own failures under each commandment.


Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [10]


The Lord Jesus asks us to take his yoke. What is a yoke? A yoke is a wooden crossbar that is fastened over the neck of two animals for plowing. The animals were usually oxen in Israel. As such, the imagery that Jesus provides is that of purpose. The Lord is inviting us to labor with him in plowing hearts! But his labor is not burdensome. It is an easy labor!


There are some who come to Christ genuinely (I do not refer to false professors) but who have no purpose. They exercise faith and repentance but then they just continue on with their former life, except they avoid sin, of course. They do not have a purpose other than waiting for heaven. They are not yoked to the Lord. This is why discipleship is so important. Without someone to disciple us it is easy to fall back into our purposeless life that we had before faith.


The Lord has called you to labor with him. But his labor is easy! He is gentle. Let me tell you how gentle he is. You know, when we first come to Christ, we are a mess. There are so many things in our lives that are not pleasing to the Lord. We avoid the obvious sins, but we are blind to so many of our faults. The Lord is gracious to us. He does not show us all our sins at one time. Watchman Nee said that if he did that most everyone would just give up being a Christian because it would be too much. Rather, he is faithful to show us one thing at a time. He empowers us to change what he shows. And, it is a joyful experience to overcome a sin in one’s life, even if it is a seemingly small one.


Later, he will show us another. He is gentle with us!


Our Lord is lowly in heart. He is humble. Even though he is the great Creator and King, yet is he humble. As we unite with him, we too gain humility, which we so very much need!


The rest which the Lord gives begins with the forgiveness of our sins. When you have a clear conscience your mind and your emotions are at peace because you know that all is right between you and the Lord. But he still offers rest to those who have come to him beforehand. This rest is a peace that passes understanding.


A lack of peace can still attach itself to the disciple of the Lord. This happens when we begin to worry about circumstances in our lives. When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, there were some there who had this experience. Indeed, if we are honest most of us can say that we have had it also. But the Lord Jesus offers those who are already his rest, too!


How do we obtain it? We receive it the same way that the lost receive it! We come to Him! However, we do not come to him in some kind of vague way, some kind of general, undefined way. We come to him knowing what he will do! Let me say that again: we come to him knowing what he will do!


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [11]


First, we rejoice. That is, we must enjoy the Lord. He is enjoyable you know!


The Passion Translation is not truly a translation. It is a paraphrase version available in the NT, Psalms, and Proverbs. And, it is a rather loose paraphrase at that. So, it is not a version you ever wish to use in study. However, it has some beautiful renditions. I like the way it renders Phil. 4:4 --


“Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow!”


We must enjoy the Lord! We are also called to be reasonable. Verse 6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” That is quite an order, is it not? It is not just, “Don’t worry, be happy,” although that popular song from 25 years ago offers good advice! [Play]


But Paul commands, “Don’t worry about anything! It is one thing to not worry about that speeding ticket you received. Or, not to worry that you were five minutes late for work and your boss noticed. But it is quite another not to worry about your son or daughter getting involved with illicit drugs. Or, not to worry about the faithfulness of your spouse when you have evidence to the contrary! But that is what Paul directs, “Don’t worry about anything!”


How do we do that? Paul tells us in the second half of the verse: “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”


We tell the Lord about our situation and we rest in the knowledge that he will take care of it in the best way possible. It may not be in the way we wish, but it will be in the way that is best for us! We trust in what he will bring about! Then the peace of God comes to us beyond our understanding!


There were two times in my life that I faced a crisis that caused me much consternation and worry. I was full of anxiety both times! Both times I brought the situations to the Lord and it was almost as if the Lord said to me: “I will take care of this and it will all come out well. I am in control.” I didn’t hear those words, but the truth of those words were impressed upon me and they were nothing less than the truth of Matthew 11:29 and Philippians 4:7 applied to my mind! One of those times the Lord delivered me from a very unpleasant job and into full time ministry!


Jesus ends this short passage in Matthew with:


“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


There is a yoke! You need a purpose. There is a burden! We are not those who live in luxury and don’t work. But the Lord’s burden is so light! So easy!


The Lord’s message is that he wishes you to find rest. If you have never come to the Lord for the forgiveness of your sins, then come to Christ in faith and repentance and find the rest that is waiting.


If you already belong to him and rest is alluding you, then pick up his yoke and live in the purpose! His yoke is easy! And, hand over any circumstance to him in confidence. Peace is yours for the having!


In all of this, enjoy the Lord! Always!


Our enjoyment of the Lord is the platform, the foundation, that will empower our rest!







[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 16:17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 11:27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Jn 6:37–39). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 11:27b). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 6:44). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 6:65). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 18:8–9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 11:28). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 2, p. 42). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 11:29–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[11] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 4:4–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.