Read: Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 ESV)
Rural farm life is a very laborious lifestyle. There are tons of things that must consistently and regularly be done to keep the various animals and plants. It is taxing over time. It is hard but honest work.
Jesus was familiar with hard work. He grew up in the home of a carpenter. In all likelihood he was trained as a carpenter. What kind of labor was he talking about resting from?
Jesus was speaking to a people group who were being taxed, both literally and figuratively, at every angle. The Romans taxed them, their own king taxed them, and even the religious system, the Temple priests, taxed them. He was speaking to a group of people who were intimately familiar with the notion of working in vain.
The Jews strained under the yoke of an oppressively cruel occupying military force. They struggled beneath the inexhaustible appetite of a wicked royal dynasty. The one place that should have been their champion, the one place that should have offered answers, and a respite for their souls, was the Temple; but it was perhaps the heaviest yoke of all. The Temple had become such a horribly corrupt system of extortion and entrapment that the devout were enslaved to empty promises that brandished a ludicrous price tag. All of that sounds eerily familiar.
Jesus offered an alternative. He announced that he was the way to God. He demonstrated power and authority in keeping with that claim. And then he offered it free of charge. He offered rest. He offered change.
That sounds pretty good to me. I could use a rest like that. What about you?