A Rest Unlike Any Other

June 12, 2022 | Jess Rainer

Passage: Matthew 11:25-30

Our culture is always in a hurry.  Our culture celebrates the people that seemingly never stop – that never rest.  We are a technology-social media-productivity addicted society.  And it’s leaving people in a mess.  We’re riddled with anxiety and depression.  We’ve seen over a 25% increase in mental health issues since the pandemic.  Here’s our reality: we are exhausted, worn out, and tired.

How many of you feel tired? Worn out? Just ready to slow down?  How many of you have been longing for rest for years, but it never seems to arrive?  How many of you aren’t just physically and mentally tired, but you’re also spiritually tired?  We’re tired, but there’s hope!  Jesus offers a rest unlike any other.

1) Stop trying. (vs. 25-27) These three verses give us a rare snapshot in the relationship of the Father and the Son.  Jesus starts to pray to the Father.  There are few things we see in these verses:
1) Jesus alone knows the Father (vs. 27).  Jesus has knowledge of the Father that no human or angel can know.
2) Jesus alone reveals the Father (vs. 27).  It is only though Jesus that we can know the Father.
3) It pleases God to make Himself known through Jesus (vs. 26).
And then look at verse 26.  What things are being hidden to some and revealed to others?  God’s grace and truth.  And it’s not that God is intentionally hiding His grace from some.  It’s that there are some not willing to see God’s grace and truth. 

Who sees God’s grace and truth?  The childlike.  Don’t miss this!  If you want rest, the first step is to become childlike.  Be helpless. Be dependent. Get rid of pride and arrogance that you can take care of yourself.  Stop trying to do it on your own.  Renounce yourself.  Reject yourself. Abandon yourself. Surrender yourself. Leave yourself. 

Oh, you won’t hear that kind of message in our culture today!  Our culture won’t celebrate those who say they are tired.  But that’s exactly what you need to do:

  • Admit that you are tired.
  • Do it. Right now.
  • Tell the person next to you or write it down.
  • Let me start: I’m tired.
 How do you stop trying?  There’s a spiritual submission.  But there is also a practical output: you must slow down enough to be with Jesus.  Some of you need to start being disciplined in your rest.  Rick Warren provides a good framework for rest:
  • Divert Daily
  • Withdraw Weekly
  • Abandon Annually
Jesus wants us to stop trying. Jesus wants us to rest.

2) Come to Jesus. (vs. 28)  Jesus is talking to the crowds and a large majority in the crowds were the religious.  It’s a group of people who spend their lives trying to follow all of the Old Testament laws.  They not only try to live out the 600 commands, but they also make up additional commands.  Their lives are full of constant burdens that they aren’t doing enough to earn God’s favor.  They are so used to hearing what to do that they are never allowed to just “be”. 

 

Jesus wants you to “be” before you “do”.  What Jesus says is a complete paradigm shift for them.  And it should be for you too.  Jesus doesn’t give them a plan, a list, or set of actions.  All Jesus does is tell them to “come”.  “Come to me”.  This command wasn’t for a select few, it was for “all” who are weary.   Do you see why the first step was so important?  We are all weary!  We are all tired!  We just admitted it.  Once we stop trying, then we get to come into the presence of Jesus.  And what happens there? REST! 

3) Take Jesus’ yoke. (vs. 29-30)  These last two verses seem counterintuitive when you first read them. For all you non-farmer types out there, Jesus isn’t talk about an egg.  A yoke was a wooden beam that part of an animal’s harness.  It was used to control the animal while it pulled a cart or plow.  And typically, it was made for a specific animal so that the yoke would not chaff the animal.  A yoke could be single, or it could be double for two animals. 

Why are these verses counterintuitive?  Jesus tells us that we can have rest if we come to Him, but then he tells us to take a yoke—which is used for work!  If you’re like me, you read these verses and think, “That’s the last thing I need! I don’t need another thing on my shoulders. I’m already exhausted as it is.”  “I need Jesus to take the burden off my shoulders so that I can run free in the fields, not start plowing!”  “Jesus, I need a vacation…”  That truth is this: The burdens of life never completely stop.  Jesus knows this.  So, what Jesus offers is not a one-way trip to Tahiti (because there will still be burdens on the beaches of Tahiti).  What Jesus offers is a new way to carry life’s burdens.  Through Jesus, we have a new way to carry life’s burdens.

What does it mean to take Jesus’ yoke?  When we don’t surrender and submit to Jesus’ control, we are under the burden of our own yoke.  But when we give up our yoke and jump into Jesus’s yoke, we now carry life’s burden in HIS STRENGTH and HIS POWER.  Which as verse 30 says, is now easy to bear and light.  You are now side-by-side with Jesus letting Him carry you. 

One pastor I heard recently referenced Augustine’s perspective on Jesus’ yoke:  Jesus’ yoke is like sails on sailing ship.  The sails add extra weight to the boat, but without the sails, the ship would never move.  Jesus’ yoke is like feathers on a bird.  The bird could complain about the added weight, but without the feathers, the bird would never fly.  What Jesus is offering us is a new way to fly in this life.  We can’t escape the burdens of this life, but we can let Jesus carry us through them.  If you want soul-level rest, the question you need to answer:  “Are you resting in Jesus?”

Let Jesus carry you.  The only way you’ll get that soul-level rest is by giving up on yourself, running to Jesus, and letting Him carry you through life.  I know firsthand that trying to control life’s burdens on your own only gets you more tired.  Give up, run into the arms of Jesus, and find that rest.  It’s there. Take it.  Take the rest from Jesus that is unlike any other.

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Series Information

This sermon series will a year long journey through the book of Matthew in 2022.  These messages will examine the broader themes in Matthew like God’s character, Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promises for a Messiah,  and the importance of internal integrity over external behavior. It lays out practical application points like the need for salvation, baptism, and repentance.  It also provides answers to the question “Who is Jesus?”.  It invites you to recognize Jesus as God’s Son and to receive him as Lord of your lives.  This sermon series provides the groundwork for a clear explanation of the Gospel.  

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