I Will Give You Rest—Not More Burdens

Many say the foundational passage of the New Testament is John 3:16. Even young children can quote it:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Yet I believe the passage that reveals the heart of the New Testament is in Matthew 11:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Both passages touch my heart and draw me toward Jesus, yet the first (as used by many believers) seems almost doctrinal—describing what God did, while the second is invitational—inviting me to accept what Jesus offers. In introducing Jesus to those who might be interested in him, I prefer to use Jesus’ own invitation; I believe it is applicable to all people at all times. Practically everyone desires relief from inner weariness and the burdens of life. Almost all of us want rest.

In his report, Matthew does not leave out the Father and his relationship to Jesus because the statement is preceded by:

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

I will give you rest

Jesus Does not Attach Conditions to His Invitation

In the invitation, Jesus offers us rest for our ‘souls’ and begins to introduce us to the Father. We are pleased to learn that Jesus is gentle and humble in heart; he is no tyrant or overlord who has something we need but who will exact a price from us for it. His motives are pure. He is approachable. We do not need be on our guard with him. We need not grovel. He is gentle; he is accepting; he is safe.

To whom does Jesus make this invitation? It is to everyone. ‘Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened’—unless, I suppose, one is not weary or burdened. There are no preconditions. There is no creed or doctrinal statement mentioned. There is no screening out of certain types of people. There is not even a sinner’s prayer.

There is only Jesus and his invitation: ‘I will give you rest.’

Jesus adds that those coming to him should take his yoke upon them and learn from him to find rest for their souls, but he goes on to say that his yoke is easy and his burden light.

Once we accept Jesus’ invitation, we will begin to learn of him, and he does tell us important things that affect our lives, but they are not onerous requirements. This is no trick. We will not discover that accepting Jesus’ invitation ultimately involves lists of rules or demands. We will not have to accept beliefs that are contrary to our own reason. In fact, there are no belief requirements at all—only rest from weariness and burdens, and learning from Jesus.

Jesus Does not Load Us with Burdens as Some Suppose

Jesus promises to relieve our burdens, not to increase them. Much of the problem with traditional Christianity is the burden it puts on its members—from  requirements of specific behavior to requirements of doctrinal creeds. These are all baggage; they are not the requirements of Jesus.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Consider Jesus’ invitation. We explore the wonderful ramifications of this invitation on this blog. Do you find Jesus’ invitation appealing? I do. Next time, we will look at the Father’s family. Who among us is part of that family and who is not? Please join us.

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This entry was posted in Jesus, legalism, the Good News, the invitation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to I Will Give You Rest—Not More Burdens

  1. Dale Cannada says:

    Takes an open mind to even consider these concepts. I’m sure many will call you a heretic. Keep being willing to put your ideas out there for consideration.

    Like

    • Tim Chastain says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! I am sure you are correct about the name-calling.

      Like

      • Jennifer says:

        This is the first time I have read your blog. I have not taken the time to read it extensively, but a few things have really caught my eye.

        I accepted Christ as a young child, and have always felt The Father’s presence in my life. As a child, I was FILLED with fear. I tried to control my fear with ‘rules’ I would make up in my head. Later, (in college) I began to use alcohol (I called it partying) to self-medicate my anxiety. This (the anxiety part of it) has recently come to the surface (a husband and 4 children later) with an Anxiety Disorder diagnosis that I have probably had my entire life without really knowing it. My first step was to recognize my alcohol use as a sin and to ask God, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, to forgive me for my choices.

        Not only has The Father forgiven me, he is beginning to heal me. Through medication, Christian therapy, and His revelation, I am slowly being healed. I can’t wait to get to a place where I can use this testimony to bring others good and Him glory.

        I came across your blog by searching for “when your faith becomes like a superstition.” For a good long while, I was ‘trying’ to fill with His Spirit. To fill with His Word, To pray without ceasing, but still the anxiety (or the battles in the mind) would not cease. It was not until I surrendered completely to His will that the changes began. And the changes were nothing like what I expected them to look like (hence I know it is only because of Him – nothing I could do on my own – that is bringing healing.) I was just curious about faith becoming a superstition? I think that happens a lot to “Christians.” When you peel it all back, it must always come down to Jesus. It’s just sad when the baggage gets in the way. Thank you for following Jesus and sharing your experiences.

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        • Jennifer, welcome to the blog!

          I am glad that you found the blog and hope you come back to read more. It is so good that you are doing better in working through the baggage. Helping people with that is what my whole blog is about.

          Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I am also interested in additional questions or comments you may have. Have a great day!

          Like

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  10. Tony McGurk says:

    After my 20 years in the JW’s coming to Jesus as described in Matthew 11:28-30 is especially meaningful to me. This is my favourite scripture now Tim. I’m finding so much I can relate to on your blog

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, I am so pleased that find so much to relate to, and I am glad you are becoming so comfortable in your big transition.

      Like

  11. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Reblogged this on Jesus Without Baggage and commented:

    Here is a selected post from my first year which you have probably never seen. It is freshly revised and updated. I hope you like it!

    Like

  12. michaeleeast says:

    Jesus accuses the Pharisees of putting burdens on people.
    A millstone around our necks. This is the carrot and stick religion of rewards and punishments, heaven and hell. It sounds all too familiar.

    Liked by 1 person

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