Matthew: Day 10

Jesus Gives Rest

by

Today's Text: Matthew 11:1-30, Isaiah 29:18-19, 1 John 5:3-4

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:1-30, Isaiah 29:18-19, 1 John 5:3-4

It’s one of those moments so deeply seared onto my heart that I still glance at the memories and wince. I was in a Jamaican infirmary, tasked with offering some measure of comfort to the sick and dying housed there. Their beds were jammed together, packing every room. Conditions weren’t sanitary. Many patients wailed incessantly. My comfort-craving brain wanted to find the escape hatch, to look somewhere other than at the faces of these people I could do so little for. Maybe that’s why my eyes kept drifting out the windows at the sugary white sand and emerald blue Caribbean waters that sparkled just beyond the compound’s walls.

The juxtaposition of human sorrow and breathtaking beauty sticks with me still. Jesus was on the shore and in the suffering at the same time. We find a juxtaposition just as jarring in Matthew 11.

John the Baptist was imprisoned for his faith, sitting on death row. Yet, Jesus was using John’s predicament as an object lesson for true discipleship when He delivered these comforting words:

“Come to me, all 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” (vv. 28-30).

Rest. Our bleary eyes and exhausted souls crave it, don’t they? And yet, John would remain in prison until his gruesome death. Humanly speaking, John’s yoke was not easy. His burden was not light. So, what did Jesus mean?

I imagine John must have looked around his prison cell and felt tired from the weight of it all. He sent messengers to make sure Jesus had something better to offer (vv. 1-3). Our weary hearts often wonder the same thing, don’t they?

Jesus responds like this:

“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (vv. 4-5).

Rest from pain, suffering, and worry is certainly something we can all readily give our “Amen!” to. But then here comes that juxtaposition again—that same tension—when Jesus adds, “And blessed be the one who is not offended by me” (v. 6).

When this world leaves me weary, I want to take a nap. But Jesus wants to give me a break from the tyranny of self. If the kind of rest Christ offers doesn’t look like I think it will, He must be promising so much more.

If a good night’s sleep and an easy life was all Jesus had to give John, it would not have been enough to keep him chained to Christ. John would die for his faith—not for a handful of miracles that had already happened, but for a tsunami of healing that was to come. Somewhere along the way, John must’ve resolved that the rest he needed most was not circumstantial.

We are all broken by sin, longing for a cure. Jesus walks among us, removing the yoke of sin that bends our backs and breaks our hearts. Suffering and sleeplessness may remain temporarily, but the burden of sin is no longer ours to carry. Jesus took that burden so we could know the kind of rest that seeps past our bones and into our weary souls.

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Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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  • Jane Otte

    Tsunami of healing. How awesomeGod sends this overwhelming wave of love and healing to our souls! Not like the constant ripping of our souls daily by satan that often we don’t even know it. God’s blessings abundantly wash over us through Christ and makes us clean daily. How awesome to think of His healing in this way.

  • Lindsey Bailey

    In the rhythms of my everyday, I see that juxtaposition of beauty and suffering. The picture that Erin painted is powerful. The current state of suffering all around us. It may not be quite so physical as her memory, but we all carry burdens; and brokenness is everywhere we look. Yet, a better day is coming. It is close at hand. Just beyond the pain, there is a sparkling sea of peace. Eternal peace where our hearts are at rest. In the meantime, the hope of that peace sustains our restless hearts. Jesus, tie my heart to your eternal. My vision can be short-sighted looking at the present, but you heal the blind. Heal my blind eyes, so that I can see beyond the fleeting.

  • Praise God that the burden of sin is no longer ours to carry.

  • Oh I need this, I’ve had my hopes up about a relationship that looks to be going no where. I have been praying about it, but finding myself not sleeping well thinking about it.
    What a great section of scripture. He is my hope my rest. He has me completely. If this relationship works it will be by the grace of God, if not it will be by God protection.

    It hurts, but I will choose Jesus as my rest.

  • Nancy Willis

    Same here Ryann!

  • Glenda Alonzo

    Ty Jesus for showing me that even great men of faith like John the Baptist, had moments of doubt in hard circumstances yet You still answered him, assuring him you truly are the Savior. Ty Jesus for always answering me in my many moments of doubt of who You really are. When I am faithless, You are always faithful.

  • Suffering and sleeplessness May remain temporarily……..Jesus took that burden so we could know the kind of rest that seeps past our bones and into our weary souls. THANK YOU ERIN for a great devotion. I love it how you read something very day you’re supposed to read it. Two days ago we were having very hard morning my daughter and didn’t complete this devotion. God is good and HE turned it into a great day for her yesterday on her 12 th birthday. I’m reading this today as I made myself put aside what’s going on with me and concentrate to make it a great day and night for my daughter.

  • Kirsten LaShure

    The burden of sin is no longer ours to carry. ❤️

  • Caralee Lilly

    I can testify to Jesus being the giver of rest. For now, my daughter is out in the world and we cannot reach her. Early in this season my mind would go to places of fear for my daughter and gut wrenching grief/despair. I knew as I wrestled and did not sleep my coping skills and my faith would become ineffective and I prayed that Jesus would give me rest. He has been so faithful. He is the giver of rest. Trust Him…and rest.

  • Does anyone of you ladies can explain or define “gracefully broken”, I honestly having a hard time understanding the meaning.

    • Brittany

      Alina, in my experience, being “gracefully broken” acknowledges that we are all broken ( all of humanity suffers their own battles) but God uses this suffering to create beauty by drawing us closer to him. In my own life, God has taken horrific events and used them to bring me not only closer to him but to reveal the most precious aspects of my life through me sharing my story. This is how I met my husband, my best friends, etc. From my standpoint, there is grace in being broken because our brokenness draws us not only closer to God but allows us the opportunity to be shared with all of God’s children. Our suffering binds all of humanity and is what we all have in common. If we can share Gods grace through that suffering, what an amazing testimony that is!
      It reminds me of communion. We are one body, one bread. If that bread is not broken, it can’t be shared. But the beauty and grace of brokenness comes through Jesus. I hope that helps. It’s just my perspective and I’m sure there’s far more eloquent explanations out there, but I hope the words of my heart have reached yours.

      • Regina

        Brittany, you explained this so well. I am experiencing being gracefully broken now and it is true that our suffering binds humanity. There is so much to learn through sorrow.

  • Jessica Terpstra

    Falling more and more in love with Jesus…oh, what a Savior!

  • Jenny Deckard

    My soul is so very weary in this season I am in . Scripture is such life, isn’t it ladies!

  • Montee Wellman

    “When this world leaves me weary, I want to take a nap. But Jesus wants to give me a break from the tyranny of self. If the kind of rest Christ offers doesn’t look like I think it will, He must be promising so much more.” Love this, Erin

  • Essence Jones

    This was a wonderful study! Is anyone in Atlanta?

  • Jo Gistand

    Trying to remember to rest in Jesus and all that he’s done in this anxiety ridden world!

  • Carrie Forrester

    Thank you Jesus for the rest you provide for us!

  • Holly Odom

    Rest-past my bones into my weary soul.

  • Churchmouse

    Finally SRT is accessible via website (though not yet by mobile app)! I was eagerly waiting to read the devotion and comments for today’s Scriptures (I had those via the study guide). I’m so grateful for the account of John the Baptist seeking reassurance of Who Jesus was. John knew his own mission was to prepare the way for Jesus and to call people to repentance. How could he fulfill his mission while imprisoned? Surely he had missed something as this just didn’t seem right. And yet… John sends his followers for clarification from Jesus. John wanted to know from ‘the horses mouth’ if he had missed the mark. Jesus simply tells John to remember what he knows about Jesus – the miracles that are being reported. These miracles were the proofs of the Messiah. John the Baptist was well aware of the OT prophecies and he was hearing of them being fulfilled by Jesus. Jesus reminds John to trust what he has heard and seen. But what is perhaps most compelling is what Jesus didn’t tell him. Jesus doesn’t reiterate the OT prophecy that captives would be set free. Jesus leaves that out. Could it be that Jesus didn’t say this to John because John is not going to be released from prison? Yes Jesus came to set the captives free but John’s freedom would not occur this side of heaven at that time. John would be revered for faithfully completing his mission though it did not include physical freedom. I may think I’ve missed the mark or misinterpreted what Jesus has called me to do. I need to go back and recall what He told me, review the affirmations, and realize it may not look like I thought it would. His ways are higher than mine. It doesn’t mean I’ve failed. I may be absolutely in the center of His will even if my circumstance is hard. He will send words of comfort and I will be rewarded with a “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I need not worry how it looks to the world. I need not agonize over my own doubts. I just ask Him for clarification and trust He will have me where I can accomplish His plan. And His plan and purpose is good.

    • Tracy M

      “I may be absolutely in the center of His will even if my circumstance is hard.” YES!!! And even “if it doesn’t look like I thought it would”! I struggle with this daily.
      Thank you for your perspective ~ your posts are always so encouraging.

    • Rhonda J.

      R

    • Rhonda J.

      Love this clarification. This is the hardest thing to remember, that it may not look like we want it too, how we believe it is meant to be in his eyes, but maybe it is.

  • Thank you for this devotional. God really used it to bless me today, as I’m dealing with a little bit of recurrent health problems and have felt tempted to doubt God’s goodness and love for me. So refreshing to remember that Jesus sees me and does care about my physical trial, but more than that He desires for me to find spiritual rest in Him. And that things will never be perfect for me in this life, but God offers infinitely more, and an eternity of perfect fellowship and bliss with Him in heaven.

  • Tricia Cavanaugh

    This just touched me so much today. To know, to be reminded, that with everything going on and the troubles in my family, I can go to my Savior and find rest.
    Thank you for this reminder today.

  • Ok I’m confused. When John baptized Jesus he knew who he was and told him he wasn’t worthy to baptize him but rather Jesus should baptize John. Then when he did baptize Jesus the heavens part and all hear God’s voice”This is my son in whom I am most pleased”. So why would John ask Jesus if he was the one?

    • Elizabeth

      Most theologians and commentaries offer that John is experiencing a level of doubt here. In the midst of a difficult circumstance, he is wondering if what he believed about Jesus and espoused about God was true. Perhaps “doubt” is not even the most correct term, but John seems to be seeking confirmation about who Jesus is again.

    • Alina

      I cannot help but think about John in his moments of doubt, you are about to be put to death, in the most horrible way, I think this is a great example of how weak we are, we get cold feet, and maybe that’s what John was experiencing, maybe that was his way of trying to get the final .. hey is this really the One!

    • Emily Webb

      I like to think of it as “seeking confirmation” too. Like, “I can hang in there, and die knowing that I’ve done all I can for the kingdom, as long as I know for sure that the one I spoke about is actually who He says He is.”

    • Shannon Davison

      Not sure if you’ll see this as this was from a few days ago, but I just looked in my study bible with commentary from John MacArthur and he says, “John the Baptist had introduced Christ as One who would bring a fierce judgment… he was understandably confused by the turn of events: he was imprisoned, and Christ was carrying on a ministry of healing, not judgment… John wondered if he had misunderstood Jesus’ agenda” so it wasn’t so much of doubt, but rather clarification.

  • Glad to know I wasn’t only person up this morning! I was late reading this morning— guess the server had just come back up. I too will revisit this evening to catch everyone’s thoughts. Really love SRT

  • It really struck me how even John the Baptist had doubts. That’s something I had never realized before. And when did that doubt creep in? While he was in prison! Isn’t it that way with us too? When we’re in our own “prisons” – those dark periods of hopelessness in our lives – it’s easy to be overcome with doubt. And yet, in his doubt, John still sought out Jesus. Best of all, Jesus answered! And not by rebuking him or condemning him for doubting, but by revealing the truth of who He is. Thanks be to God that He does the same for us today! May we also seek Jesus in our prisons, in places of doubt, knowing He will reveal more of Himself to us and sustain our faith.

    • Seirena

      Thank you for your thoughts this really helped me!!!

    • Kara

      Beautiful reflection!

    • Lori Lalonde

      Kristi…Isn’t this TRUE! I can’t count how many times God has reviewed himself to me in Oh such a personal way, through scripture usually and often in prayer, occasionally through other people but when the rubber hits the road I often think, “God did I hear you right? Was that you or me, did I imagine this?”…what I love about Jesuses response to John’s disciples is that Jesus also lead John back to scripture by telling him how He was fulfilling prophecy (in Isaiah which He knew John would be familiar with). He didn’t say yes I’m the Christ in so many words but he did show he was fulfilling prophecy…I think it’s just beautiful…and in the times so wise…BUT I find often Jesus does the same to me, he leads me right back to scripture as confirmation to what He has said, there is something so very comforting about that…it’s one reason I love SRT…because I know for me I NEED to be in His word every day!

  • Stephanie Mann

    12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.
    Does anyone have any insight to help me understand this verse better?

    • Candy

      Yes me too! Violence in heaven?!

    • Amanda Rockett

      I am trying to read it from different versions – ESV, NKJV. Still not quite understanding. Maybe you could try reading another version and see if it helps clarify?

    • Emily Cele

      The kingdom of heaven is God at work, as Jesus says in Matthew 4:17 and 10:7: “the kingdom of heaven has come near.” And we know that God’s work in the world is always under attack.

    • Stephanie Mann

      One commentary I found says this:

      [the violent take it by force] The eager and enthusiastic followers of Christ seize the kingdom—win it as a prize of war.

    • Mallie Griffin

      This one stopped me too. When I put it in the context that John had been arrested and was in prison, I take it as, God’s people were under attack by people who claimed to be God’s people. Violence and hostility towards true Christianity was on the move. That’s just the BGV- Beth Griffin Version!

    • Essence Jones

      Matthew Henry says that he his violence was symbolic of the highjacking of the faith by those who sought personal gain or to destroy it. He says that John the Baptist was welcomed and greeted by lowest, just as Christ, but that while he would be in the wilderness preaching and baptizing, the unbelievers would force there ways into the crowd, violently uprooting The gatherings, much like they did with Christ. The kingdom of heaven, according to MH, in this verse refers to the body of believers, who even at such an early stage, were greeted with violence and torment for their messianic faith.

    • Lori Lalonde

      I think Jesus words were literal in this reference, from the time John the Baptist and Jesus (which came soon after Johns birth) were born violence was on the increase for example babies all under two were killed…directed by Herod…how incredibly violent was that! I also believe there was a great spiritual battle going on we may not fully understand this side of heaven…Jesus also makes it clear no one know the Son but the Father or the Father but the Son…This includes Satan, I don’t think Satan had the ability to recognize Jesus for who he was nor could he have thought Jesus was about to save the whole world through his death…yet Satan was well aware something was up and yes…I do believe there was a lot of Spiritual upheaval affecting this physical world because of that…this perspective comes from years of study into what is not often preached about and tying other scriptures in…hope that perspective helps some to dig deeper in the Word! ❤️

  • Kim McCulley

    I’m loving this study in Matthew! The MSG Bible readings are thought-provoking; I chose a new-to-me translation and am seeing fresh. I appreciate having the words of Jesus in red; not all Bibles do that. The devotionals have been good and I appreciate the lovely images and share them often.

  • Lisa Thompson

    Ever so thankful for rest.

  • Lori Hamilton

    I’m just now able to do read and post it hasn’t been loading for me. Works now. Wonderful lesson i needed this today.

  • What— 10:00 am in Oklahoma and no comments? Where is everyone? Great lesson— Jesus is merciful—

    • Kristi

      Seems like there have been difficulties loading the app and site. I am only now able to get on after trying several times this morning. Glad it is working now!

    • EarlyBird

      Hmmm….I tried for several hours this morning at home to read this lesson but kept getting a message that the server was down. Thought I’d check again from my office and here you are! I’ll have to revisit the lesson this evening to dig in when I’m back at home.

    • Kim McCulley

      I’m in OK too! NW OKC. Are you near me?

    • Candy

      I’m in Stillwater!! Hey ya’ll

    • Brandi

      I’m in southeastern Oklahoma myself! Hi neighbors!

    • Sarabeth Segars

      I’m in OKC as well. :)

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