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Come To Me

Come To Me
Matthew 11:28-30

In today’s devotion, we’re looking at Matthew chapter 11, verses 28-30. It’s a famous set of verses, so if you have a Bible, grab it and turn it to that passage. I use the NLT version. If you’re in a place where you can write, we really encourage you to grab our Daily Devotion Journal and turn it to the Devotion Journal page or grab your own journal or even a blank piece of paper. And as I talk, start by writing what God’s Word is saying to you in these verses. You can pause the devotion while I am talking and begin to write.

Let’s pray to get started.

Heavenly Father, as we open your Word today, would you speak to us, Lord? Would you just capture our hearts and our minds during this time alone with you? And would you allow your living Word to just jump off the page and speak to our hearts and speak specifically to our lives today? We pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
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.”

Let’s walk through it a little bit. Again, verse 28 begins with Jesus saying, Come to me. Jesus didn’t say, “Go to church.” He didn’t say, “Listen to a sermon.” He didn’t say, “Go get some counseling” – although in some cases, counseling is good. Jesus said, “Come to me.” Come to him, personally, come to him relationally. He is saying, Come to me in a real, meaningful relational way. Come to me.

And so, first, we have got to make a way to come to Jesus. We’ve got to make a place where we can come to him. We’ve got to make a time where we can come to him. And, guys, this doesn’t happen naturally in our flesh. This doesn’t come naturally to us, especially in the hectic lives that we live in this culture. And so, we have to make room for Jesus. We have to make room to come to Jesus. We have to make time for him. We have to genuinely come to him to spend time at his feet, worshiping him, in order to rest in his presence, and in order to allow him to carry the burdens that we come to him with. In order to allow him to be the lead and pull the weight.

And then, we have to learn from him as he teaches us humbly and with a gentle heart. And so, guys, whatever condition you’re in today, in whatever state you’re in today, by any means possible, in any way you can come to Jesus. And you’ve got to come to him – believing. You’ve got to come to him ready to receive, ready to take in new life and rest from him. You’ve got to come to Jesus. You’ve got to come to him ready to confess your sin. You’ve got to come to him ready to repent, to be honest, and transparent with him about possibly the sin that has brought this great burden into your life. You’ve got to come to be one with him, to be ready to listen to his Word, to be sensitive to his Spirit, to be ready to hear from him, to be ready to apply his Word, and to be ready to respond.

So, first, come to Jesus. Make a way to genuinely and relationally get to Jesus.

And then, Jesus says, “Come to me all of you who are weary.” And man, we get weary, don’t we? Sometimes we’re weary because of sin, because of sin in our lives. And sometimes, we’re weary because we’re trying to do things God did not call us to do. Sometimes we’re weary; we’re trying to do things that are outside of God’s will for us. And honestly, guys, sometimes we’re weary because we’re just pushing too hard. Even if we are doing what God has made us to do. And even if we are doing what Jesus has called us to do, sometimes we just get weary from pushing so hard.

And in any case, for whatever reason, Jesus says to you today, “Come to me. Come to me personally and relationally. Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens.” And again, often, the heavy burdens we feel are really the result of sin in our lives. And if so, then Jesus says, come to him and lay that sin at his feet. And right there, with him, repent. Repent of that sin, turn from it, receive his forgiveness, and be restored to a right relationship with him.

And maybe that heavy burden you feel is from you trying to reach something that may actually have no genuine value. Maybe it’s trying to get something, to obtain something, or trying to become something, or achieve something that might be actually from your flesh, or maybe from the influence of the world. But whether it’s the burden of sin, or the burden of chasing the wrong goals, or the burden of being out of God’s will, whatever that burden is that’s causing you to be weary today, Jesus says, “Come to me personally.” He says, “Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

HOW? How will Jesus give us rest? Well, the answer is always in the next verse. And in the next verse, verse 29, Jesus tells us. He says, “Take my yoke upon you.” “Take MY yoke upon you.” This word for “yoke” describes a wooden device, a stable device that joins two animals at the neck that rests on the shoulders so that they can work together as a team pulling a plow, or pulling something heavy, or doing some difficult job.

And so, a skilled carpenter (which Jesus was) would design the yoke to fit each animal individually and perfectly. But here’s the deal. In this double yoke that was created specifically by the carpenter, there was always a lead animal. And so, on one side of the yoke, there was the animal who would lead the two animals in the job, the labor they were doing. And so, the lead animal would be yoked together with another animal who would help, and the second animal would also pull, but they would pull as a follower, next to the animal that was carrying the greatest weight.

And so, because of this, the yoke’s designed so that the lead animal pulls the greater weight, and the follower animal pulls the “assistant” weight. They would pull in the same direction. They would pull along with the lead animal. And so, think about it. How does Jesus give us rest? Well, first he says come to him. Come to him in a personal, in a meaningful, in a real way. Bring your weariness. Bring your heavy burden. Bring your sin, your confession, and your repentance and lay it at his feet. And then, he will give you rest.

And then, to do that, he says, “Take his yoke upon you.” Take the yoke upon you that he has designed for you to pull with him. Jesus is saying, “I will be the lead ox in pulling this heavy burden. And you can be my follower. You can be my ‘assistant ox.’ You can pull with me but I’ll pull the heavy weight.” And you can learn from him. You can learn from Jesus while he is doing the majority of the heavy lifting of the work. Jesus is saying to us today, “Let me be in the lead. And you follow me. Don’t try to figure out how to pull this load. Don’t try to change the direction that we are pulling in. Just let me lead you, and you pull with me.”

And Jesus says to us today, “You come personally to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” And then he says, “Take my yoke upon you.”

And then, he says, “Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart.” Guys, Jesus teaches us while we are joining him in the labor, the work, that he has for us. Jesus teaches us while we are carrying the load with him, or really while he is carrying the load and we think we are, we’re coming alongside him. Jesus teaches us by doing the heavy lifting for us, and in the process, he teaches us with a humble and a gentle heart.

And then, Jesus says at the end of verse 29, “You will find rest for your souls.” This word “rest” describes a refreshing, tranquility, or a peace. It describes an absence of tension, or of worry, or internal conflict. It’s referring to an internal rest for our soul, and absence of internal conflict. And so, this supernatural rest, guys, does not come from religion, it does not come from accomplishment, it does not come from finally getting the work done. This is not an “exterior” rest, an outside physical rest. This comes from a deep relationship with the Lord. It comes from resting in WHO Jesus IS, and it comes from resting in who he has made you to be, and resting in what he has made you to do. It comes in knowing that you are with him, and he is doing the pulling. He is doing the heavy lifting. It comes from knowing that he is your provision and that you are following him as he teaches you humbly and gently and brings rest for your soul.

And then finally, in verse 30, Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” And often, guys, when we are weary and worn out, or when we feel crushed under heavy burdens, often (as I’ve said a couple of times), there is sin. Or, there are choices that we’ve made that are outside of God’s will that are producing that crushing burden in our life. And so, again, as we come to him, we’ve got to come in honesty and transparency. And as we lay everything at his feet, and as we put our trust in him, and as we take on the yoke that he has so perfectly made to fit us, and as we allow him to take the lead in this labor that he has called us to, and as we allow him to teach us in humility and in gentleness while he is doing the heavy lifting for us and with us, THEN we will begin to find rest, true inner rest for our souls.

But, listen. This doesn’t mean that life will always be easy if you’re in God’s will. But it does mean that when you come to him for rest, when you allow him to lead you, and when you allow him to do the heavy lifting, when you take on the yoke that he has fit for you, then you will find rest in him. At his feet. In his presence. In your quiet alone time with him. You will find rest, even as you labor together with him.

And listen, when it says here in verse 30, “For my yoke is easy to bear,” it means literally “well-fitting.” The calling, the task that Jesus has for you, it may be hard. It may be difficult. It may be really hard. But if it is well-fitting, you will have this sense that this is the yoke that he has made for you. And so, the burden that comes with that yoke will not seem crushing. It will not seem like more than you can bear. It may take a lot of effort; it may take a lot of sacrifice. It may require a lot from you, but it won’t crush you. It won’t be more than you can bear because Jesus is carrying the majority of the load. He is in that yoke with you, and he’s pulling the heavy weight.

And so, whatever that yoke is that Jesus has personally fit for you, you will find rest for your soul as you come to Jesus personally and as you join Jesus, personally, in what he has called you to do.

That’s a lot for me to say about these few verses. I encourage you right now to write if you can. First, simply write what God’s Word is saying here. Not yet what it is saying to you personally, how it applies, but just what it is saying. Just spend some time writing out what God’s Word is saying here. Put God’s Word into your own words – just write what God is saying in his Word here.

And then move to the next step. Then, Apply what God’s Word is saying to your own life. Guys, applying God’s Word is the inward acknowledgment of the truths that the Holy Spirit is impressing on your heart, for your life, personally and specifically – today. Applying God’s Word is staying within the context of these verses and saying, “How do these spiritual principles in this passage apply to my life, personally and specifically, today?” And if you’re in a place where you can write, then take a minute and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you, personally and specifically. And write down, in what area of your life, today, does this truth speak to you.

And so, if you can wrestle with God over these verses, and then write down how the Holy Spirit is applying them to your life today. Be honest, and be transparent.

And then the third step is to Respond. If you’re using our daily devotion Journal, it is under the section “How Will You Respond?” Write down what faithful, obedient action you can take to make these truths real in your current circumstances. In the spiritual area of your life, the relational area, physical area, choices you’re making, and actions you’re taking. Write down how you will respond to God specifically. How is the Holy Spirit calling you to respond?

So, take one more minute, go face-to-face with God again, and write down how you will respond to God’s Word, to what God’s Word has said, and how the Holy Spirit has applied it to your life.

And then, finally, in the fourth section – Pray. Write down a prayer to complete your time alone with God. Write a prayer in response to what God has impressed on you and what you have experienced during this time in his presence. And pray that the Holy Spirit would align your heart with the will of God. And thank God for speaking to you by his Word and through his Holy Spirit.