Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus addresses the crowds. He says that people complained against John the Baptist because he was harsh in his judgements and lived an austere lifestyle. But they are now critical of Jesus for partying with sinners,
He goes on to denounce the towns where he has worked great signs and miracles, but the people in those towns failed to repent.
Then Jesus makes His offer to all who will trust Him. If we let go of the burdens that wear us down and take up His yoke, we will receive rest in Him.
The religious laws were a heavy burden for the Jewish people. The original laws given by God were not meant to weigh people down, but to be a joyous part of life. But over the centuries they became such an imposition that nobody could hope to fulfil them all. What had been a means to fellowship with God was now a barrier to fellowship with God.
So Jesus offers us a different way. We no longer have to obey rules to find peace with God. We simply have to receive the grace of God through Christ. Then our burdens are lifted away and we find rest in Him.
Of course, the religious spirit, which infects every sphere of human existence, immediately rears its head and tries to destroy grace. We feel inadequate because we fall into sin. Churches and pastors invent rules to define acceptable behaviour. A spiritual principle morphs into a religious rule.
Be on your guard against those who say, “You must,” You ought to,” or “Thou shalt not.” Instead the Holy Spirit will direct your conscience and the Word of God will be your guide.
Our way of living must always flow from our relationship with Christ.
Thank you Lord for the rest that you give when I hand all my burdens to you. Protect me Lord from false religion and harmful rules. Amen.