28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Dear God, this is the verse of the day for Bible Gateway, but it’s so easy to take it out of context. All of chapter 11 is one scene, and verse 28 is just Jesus’s closing words for the crowd. Here’s the rest of the scene–the reference for what Jesus is saying:
2 John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 3 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
4 Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— 5 the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” 6 And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.”
7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? 8 Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people with expensive clothes live in palaces. 9 Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. 10 John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say,
‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way before you.’
11 “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is! 12 And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it. 13 For before John came, all the prophets and the law of Moses looked forward to this present time. 14 And if you are willing to accept what I say, he is Elijah, the one the prophets said would come. 15 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
16 “To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends,
17 ‘We played wedding songs,
and you didn’t dance,
so we played funeral songs,
and you didn’t mourn.’
18 For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”
20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God. 21 “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. 22 I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.
23 “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.[g] For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. 24 I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.”
25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!
27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
So that’s quite a rant on Jesus’s part. He’s frustrated and he’s serious about it. What does it all come down to? I think it comes down to verse 20: 20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God. That seems to be Jesus’s frustration–lack of repentance.
Oh, there is so much for which I need to repent. I harbor all kinds of sins in my heart. They can all relate back to selfishness. Whether it’s greed, laziness, lust, ignoring the needs of others, etc., it all comes back to my selfishness. It all comes back to me wanting to do things that benefit me and do them my way. The fascinating thing about indulging my sin is that it only brings burden. It doesn’t bring love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self control. Like a drug, it brings that momentary euphoria, but then it is quickly followed by emptiness and a longing for more. But repenting before you. Bringing my bag of garbage to you and leaving it at the foot of your cross… Well, that leads me to your yoke and burden, which is light. It’s not about me. It’s not about my advantage or comfort. It’s about your glory. It’s about your highest. And that is where my soul will find true rest.
Father, I’m sorry for my self-indulgence. As I go through this week of quasi-vacation, help me to still worship you and do the work you’ve laid out for me to do. Help me to love others. Help me to be exactly who you need me to be. Do it not only for the sake of the world, but do it for my sake as well.
I pray all of this in your holy name because I submit it to you and your authority,