Rest For Your Weary Soul

Reverend J. Loren Russell

Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Physically, everyone encounters times when they are fatigued, tired, and overloaded. Over exertion, over worked, over committed, or even a lack of sleep can lead to being overburdened. Being physically labored and heavy-laden can wear even the strongest person down.

In chapter 10, Jesus empowered, commanded, and dispatched His disciples to go out as sheep among wolves, to cast out unclean spirits, and to heal all kinds of sickness and diseases. In chapter 11, He departs from that area and goes into their cities to teach and to preach.

John the Baptist had been incarcerated and was awaiting his death sentence. From his prison cell, he heard of the work Jesus was doing. He sent his followers to Jesus to ask if He was the Messiah they were awaiting, or if they needed to wait for another. Jesus sends word back to John that miraculous healings were being performed and people were repenting of their sins and shown the path of righteousness to keep them from stumbling over the Mosaic Law. Jesus shared His praise and admiration for John ministry, comparing John’s ministry to that of the prophet Elijah. This would bring rest to John’s weary soul. After John’s disciples depart, Jesus tells those gathered that John is the Elijah to come, the one who the Bible prophesied would announce the arrival of the Messiah.
When Jesus spoke these words, He was talking to a group of Jewish people. They were unbelievers who missed the message of both John the Baptist and Jesus. They were an unresponsive generation who Jesus condemned and pronounced that Judgement Day will be more tolerable for the people in the land of Sodom than for them.

Jesus prayed for the “babes,” those who are willing to humble themselves and follow Him. He extends an invitation to “come.” Not a general beckoning, but a call to come to ‘Him.’ He has a unique an incomparable relationship with God the Father that supersedes any relationship that ever existed or will ever exist. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of David. “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden.” The labor is in reference to the burden of the law, Jewish legalism, or man-made obligations. Jesus says His burden provides rest for the weary soul. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” Yoke is a metaphor for being tied together and led. Jesus contrasts His yoke with the yoke of the law. Unlike the yoke of the law, whose weight is borne by the one carrying it, Jesus helps carry the weight of His yoke. Jesus choose to conclude His promise with words of comfort and assurance, “I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

We all have yokes. We all have burdens. Whatever you are experiencing at this point in your life’s journey, whatever yoke or burden you might be carrying, Jesus has a promise for you today. He is encouraging you to take His yoke and let Him bear your burden with you. His promise is to everyone who humbly comes to Him as ‘babes.’ He promises them rest for their weary souls!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at Goodwill Baptist Church and is the spiritual leader of both LaGree Baptist Church and the Evangelical Church of God, all in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting (718-328-8096), and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Monday nights from 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook Live. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on YouTube and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The eBook at

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