Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
When I think of this passage I think of its contrast. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees as teachers because they place such heavy burdens on people’s backs but do not lift a finger to help them carry it. The burden is the many rules that they have come up with as a way of safeguarding their righteousness, that is, their keeping of God’s law, or at least their view of it. This is the course of religion in general. Here is a teaching on how to live in such a way that will win God’s favor.
But Jesus teaches that his burden, that is his teaching, is light. It is for those who need rest not those who are rested and ready to do it themselves. His burden is for those who no longer can carry a burden at all. What makes it light? Is it that Jesus has reduced the laws to be obeyed? Has he lowered the standard to which we must conform? Not at all. The sermon on the mount shows the righteous requirements of the law are far greater than the Pharisees eternal show of keeping it. It is light because Jesus does what the Pharisees do not (and can’t, by the way), which is to carry the burden for them. Jesus’ law keeping was for us. Ours is to believe and follow.
Lord, thank you that there is rest for those whom you call to yourself. May me and my family find that rest.