Day 10

Jesus Gives Rest

from the Matthew reading plan

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

BY Guest Writer

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.


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.

Post Comments (58)

58 thoughts on "Jesus Gives Rest"

  1. Montee Wellman says:

    “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

  2. Essence Jones says:

    This was a wonderful study! Is anyone in Atlanta?

    1. Bg says:

      Hi Essence. I am in East Cobb!

  3. Jo Gistand says:

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

  4. Carrie Forrester says:

    Thank you Jesus for the rest you provide for us!

  5. Holly Odom says:

    Rest-past my bones into my weary soul.

  6. Churchmouse says:

    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.

    1. Tracy M says:

      “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.

    2. Rhonda J. says:

      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.

  7. Emily says:

    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.

    1. Amber says:

      You spoke the very words on my heart this morning.

  8. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    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.

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