Come unto Me!
Francis Bourdillon, 1864
"At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent — and have revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father — for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things are delivered unto Me by My Father; and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son wills reveal Him. Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
Jesus invites all who labor and are heavy laden, to come unto Him. Not sufferers of one kind only — but all sufferers. Not those alone who feel the weight of this particular burden or that — but all the heavy laden.
The poor and needy,
the weak and sickly,
the toiling father,
the anxious mother,
he who feels the weight of his sins,
he whose conscience testifies against him,
he who finds no comfort in this world and yet fears that he is not prepared for the next
— all are invited to come to Jesus!
Their cases are widely different — the burdens that press upon them are by no means alike — yet all are invited to one Helper and Comforter, "Come unto Me!" He does not bid one sufferer go for comfort to this source — and another to that. He invites all to Himself — as the one unfailing source of help and comfort!
"Come unto Me!" We do not deserve to be thus invited. Many are suffering the consequences of their own sins, and all of us are sinners. If we met with only what we deserve — He might justly say to us, "Go away from Me!" Instead of this, Jesus bids us come to Him. Whatever we may have been — however thoughtless, however ungrateful, however wicked — yet if we are now in need or trouble, that is enough. He bids us come to Him.
We are not to stop and think about our own unworthiness. He says nothing here about that. He only says, "Come unto Me." That is what He invites us to do — that is what we are to do, and we are to do it at once.
But how can we come to Him? Those who heard Him say the words could go to Him and speak to Him and tell Him all and follow Him about from place to place. But He is not here now — how then can we come to Him?
He is not far off. By the Spirit, He is with us still. We must go to Him by the Spirit — we must draw near to Him with our hearts. Even when He was on earth — the coming to Him with the heart was the coming that brought peace. In the same way, we may come — as well as those who saw and heard Him. Without stirring a step, without leaving the room in which we are sitting or the bed on which we are lying — we may come to Jesus with the sincere heart. This is what He bids us do: "Come unto Me. Come unto Me in your minds — come with your hearts — come by prayer. Come unto Me — and I will give you rest."
This is just what those who labor and are heavy laden want. The poor and afflicted, the heavy-laden, the anxious, the conscience-stricken, the sin-burdened — all want rest. They want their load to be lightened; they want relief and ease and quiet and peace. Jesus promises to give this rest to those who will come to Him. "Come unto Me — and I will give you rest."
But He means more than rest to the body. He says afterwards, "And you shall find rest unto your souls." Rest to the body would be little — if the mind were still troubled and burdened. The rest that Jesus gives is real rest, full rest, all that we need to make us peaceful and happy.
Yet He speaks of a yoke, as if there were to be labor still. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me." We are not to be mere idlers. We are to be servants and learners — but servants of so kind a Master and learners of so gracious a Teacher that His service and teaching are true rest to the soul.
"I am meek and lowly in heart," He says. He is no hard Master like sin or Satan or the world. He is kind, gentle, and loving. His service is perfect freedom. He makes His servants happy even in their serving. He bids us take His yoke upon us and learn of Him — yet at the very same time He says, "You shall find rest unto your souls." "For," He continues, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
He does not mean that it is an easy thing to be a Christian or that there is nothing to do in His service — but that His yoke is not a hard or galling yoke, and that He will lay no burden on His servants which He will not strengthen them to bear.
"Learn of Me." What does He teach those who go to Him? He not merely shows them what they ought to do — but He tells them of His precious promises and His glad tidings. He makes Himself known to them as their Savior, and teaches them that He came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
There is no rest to the soul, but in Christ. The only thing that can give peace to the troubled conscience and lift the heart above the pains and sorrows, the worries and anxieties of life — is to know Him as our Savior who has "washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5), and thus to know God as our reconciled Father in Christ Jesus. The soul that has learned this knowledge finds rest.
Earthly troubles may still remain; sickness and poverty may still be the appointed lot — but there is peace within: "the peace of God which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).
Happy we, to whom the glad tidings have come! Happy we, who have heard the Savior's words, "Come unto Me!"
Human wisdom could never have found out this knowledge. "The wise and prudent," unless taught from above, must always have remained in ignorance of Christ and of peace. God, in His mercy, has revealed these things unto babes — to the poor and humble, to the unlearned and uncared for.
"Even so, Father — for so it seemed good in Your sight." We thank You for the knowledge of a Savior. We thank You for Your Word. We thank You for Your Spirit. We thank You for the blessed call, "Come unto Me." Oh, teach us, help us, to come — and grant that we may find in Christ rest unto our souls!