Matthew 11:28-30 says 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. Jesus is addressing people who are oppressed by the government, those with financial status, & even by their own peers. This is a time of political, moral, & social unrest. The crowd is laboring heavily under Roman control. The Romans took heavy taxes from all conquered people. The Jews are no exception. The last straw these people are burdened by is their own religious leaders.
Matthew 23:4 says For they bind heavy bur- dens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. These heavy burdens describe the extra biblical tradition of the rabbis that was a pillar of the Pharisaic branch of Judaism. This is an attempt to make the Old Testament relevant to new life situations, but its massive obligations had become burdensome and oppressive (ESV, p. 1871). Jesus knows the distress His audience is under & He implores them to come to Him. He is lovingly asking them to accept His invitation. He is “there” for His sheep!
Isaiah 59:1-2 says Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that if cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. Sin in our life creates a barrier between us & God (James 4:1- 10).
Jesus invites us because man needs salvation & cannot save himself. Repenting & responding to Christ demonstrates we want His rest! How will you respond?