Read Matthew 11.28-30.
Jesus embarked on an earthly ministry that lasted three and half years. It involved preaching, teaching and healing the sick. He preached the truth and healed all manner of diseases. The church’s mandate is to teach, preach, and heal. Christ’s mandate was miracles signs and wonders so when John sent his disciples to go and ask him if he was the one who was to come or they should look for another he told them to go and tell John what they saw and heard, how that the blind were seeing, the lame walked, the dead were raised to life, and the poor had the gospel preached to them.
In Matthew 11.28-30 Jesus was speaking to the crowd. He had sent his apostles on a mission to speak only to the lost sheep of Israel. He had given them power over sicknesses, Satan, and demons. When they left, he also went to other cities to preach. He rebuked those of Bethsaida and Chorazin because though miracles had been performed among them, they did not believe. But he said all those who labor and are heavy laden should come to him.
Two great invitations
If you read the New Testament you come across two great invitations. This one is to come and rest but there is another one in John 7.37-39 where he said anyone who is thirsty should come and drink.
I have lived by a railway line before and I have travelled a lot by train. Sometimes when you are in a coach it would be so packed that some will be carrying their luggage on their heads. When it happens that way, by the time you get to your destination you are just tired. When he says come he has honored you. When you get an invitation card from the president it is an honor but there is one greater than the president. It is an honor to be invited by Jesus.
Come means come just as you are. Come means he knows you more than you know yourself. He knows our frame—how frail we are. Come means he knows your needs. Come means don’t let the opportunity slip. Now is the opportune time—the acceptable and appointed time for salvation.
Those who are tired, exhausted, bound by the enemy; those who are worried and troubled; those who are overburdened and outcasts, controlled by sin, lunatic, bound by disease and sick, Jesus is calling on us to come to him to receive rest. And you will see that he has mentioned the word “rest” two times. He said you will receive rest and you will find rest for your souls.
How Jesus takes our burdens
How is he able to take our burdens and weariness? How is he able to straighten us and take us from our bondages? The answer is in the scriptures. Read Matthew 26.27, Mark 14 and 15, Luke 22 and 23, John 18 and 19 and the picture will become clear. In the journey he undertook from Gethsemane to Calvary he bore our sins and pain and troubles. The whole night he did not sleep. He was thirsty but couldn’t get water to drink. When he asked for water they gave him vinegar. All that while he was taking our burdens so when he says come he knows what he will do.
In Gethsemane as he prayed and prayed. His sweat was like drops of blood. Under stress he asked that if it were possible God would take the cup of suffering from him. Jesus suffered pain through flogging and beating so much that they could not recognize him. His face was swollen—he had taken our pain. He dealt with sicknesses, diseases, and infirmities before he went to the cross. The chastisement that brought us peace was placed on him and by his wounds we were healed. When he was going to the cross, Peter took his sword and cut the ear of Marcus but Jesus took the ear and put it back and healed him. This morning if you are sick, infirmed, or bound by the enemy, Jesus is here to heal you; he is here to lift you; he is here to replace that ear.
Jesus was mocked and suffered rejection from his heavenly father. He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Darkness fell on the earth and, as he sacrificed himself and became a sin offering, his father took his eyes off him. He loved him but could not behold sin. He bore our sin, diseases, and sicknesses. He became sin that we would become the righteousness of God. Jesus suffered the most shameful and painful form of death. If you read the Bible well, you will see that Jesus was crucified naked. It means that he has taken our shame.
How serious is sin?
Some say things like, “As for me this is my weakness. It is my shortcoming.” You better call it sin. Mama Eunice had this to say that if you see a serpent walking in a suit and walking about it is still a serpent. Sin is the heaviest burden to be borne by anyone. Secondly, it is the greatest debt to be paid by anyone. No human being can pay it for you. It takes God and he cannot do it until he becomes man to become a kinsman-redeemer. Thirdly, sin is the most dangerous bondage but Jesus went to the cross for us. He took our sin in his own body; he paid the debt and said it is finished. So, the Bible says you are not your own but were bought with a price. He paid the debt on our behalf.
Sin is the most dangerous bondage. As Jesus was nailed to the cross, the record of sin against us was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2.14). Jesus said, If the son shall set you free, you will be free indeed. Are you still Satan’s tool, channel, or instrument? Jesus is here to give you rest.
Two kinds of rest
There are two kinds of rest: When you come to him he gives you rest—he saves you. You recognize Jesus as savior. But it does not end there. He goes on to say that you should take his yoke and learn form him and see that he is meek and
Christianity is deliverance from one form of bondage to another. Colossians 1.13 says he has taken us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his dear son. He yokes us as his slaves and it is at that time only that you can find rest for your own soul. So, you cannot be saved and there is no change in your life and be doing what you want. It means you are not allowing Jesus to be your lord—you are your own boss. He says to take his yoke and learn from him because he is meek. Meekness is power under control. When they reviled him he did not revile back; when the insulted him he did not insult back. When they came to look for him and he said he was the one they all fell down, meaning he could have just blown them all away but he was self-controlled.
Humility means considering the other person better than yourself. Learn of Jesus. May we learn of Jesus Christ. And when we do that the Bible says we shall find rest for our own souls. The difference between this kind of bondage and that of Satan is that for this one the yoke is easy and the burden is light.
What shows that we have found rest for our souls?
1. We understand that we are his property.
2. We renew our minds through the washing that comes by the reading of the word of God (Romans 12.1-2).
3. We allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts (Colossians 3.15)
4. Then we come to terms with the realities of Philippians 4.6-8. We learn to make our requests known to God through prayer and thanksgiving and the peace of God guards our hearts and minds in Christ.
5. We watch our thoughts. Philippians 4.8 says what we should be thinking about.
If we were to break our heads open we would see some rottenness in some minds but it is not too late to change our thoughts. John 8.32 says when we allow the words of Christ to rest in us, we will know the truth and the truth shall make us free. The truth you don’t know will not make you free. By the lack of knowledge the people of God perish. Jesus gives freedom.
This morning if you are here and you need freedom and rest, he is still in the business of giving rest to those who are tired or heavy-laden or sick. If you are child of God and are still under bondage, the Bible says the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. If you are sick, you are set free; if you are under the bondage of sin you are set free; if you are worried, you are set free.