Matthew 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: Deute (imperative) pros me pantes hoi kopiontes (2PPAP) kai pephortismenoi, (2PRPP) kago anapauso (1SFAI) humas. 29 arate (2PAAM) ton zugon mou eph humas kai mathete (2PPAAM) ap' hemou, hoti praus eimi (1SPAI) kai tapeinos te kardia, kai heuresete (2PFAI) anapausin tais psuchais humon; 30 ho gar zugos mou chrestos kai to phortion mou elaphron estin. (3SPAI)
Amplified: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. [Jer. 6:16] 30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Come to me, all you who are exhausted and weighted down beneath your burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of 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.” (Westminster Press)
ESV: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
NLT: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! 29 Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Come here to me, all who are growing weary to the point of exhaustion, and who have been loaded with burdens and are bending beneath their weight, and I alone will cause you to cease from your labor and take away your burdens and thus refresh you with rest. 29 Take at once my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find cessation from labor and refreshment for your souls, 30 for my yoke is mild and pleasant, and my load is light in weight. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 'Come unto me, all ye labouring and burdened ones, and I will give you rest, 29 take up my yoke upon you, and learn from me, because I am meek and humble in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls, 30 for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'
COME TO ME ALL WHO ARE WEARY AND HEAVY-LADEN AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST: Deute (imperative) pros me pantes hoi kopiontes (2PPAP) kai pephortismenoi, (2PRPP) kago anapauso (1SFAI) humas : (Come: Isa 45:22-25 53:2,3 55:1-3 Jn 6:37 7:37 Rev 22:17) (All: Mt 23:4 Ge 3:17-19 Job 5:7 14:1 Ps 32:4 38:4 90:7-10 Eccl 1:8,14 2:22,23 4:8 Isa 1:4 61:3 66:2 Mic 6:6-8 Ac 15:10 Ro 7:22-25 Gal 5:1) (And I will give you rest:: Mt 11:29 Ps 94:13 116:7 Isa 11:10 28:12 48:17,18 Jer 6:16 2Th 1:7 Heb 4:1)
J H Jowett wisely wrote that...
J C Ryle adds that...
Indeed, as I began to compile the notes on this great passage, it became obvious to me that the simple words of Jesus were so profound that an entire book, even a library of books, could not exhaust their meaning. C H Spurgeon delivered at least 12 sermons on Mt 11:28-30 and yet said that one could not preach too often on these passages! Spurgeon also wrote that...
And so the following comments are meant only to give you food for thought as you ponder these great words of our Savior. Let me strongly encourage you to treasure Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30 in your heart (Memorize His Word), so that you will be able to meditate on them (Meditation) and allow your Teacher the Holy Spirit to minister deeply to your soul. You will not be disappointed.
THE GRAND INVITATION:
Come! The greatest invitation that ever issued from a Man's lips. "Come!" Come the first time to salvation (Justification). In the context of Jesus' preceding words in Matthew 11, this is the primary interpretation of His call to come...
COME TO JESUS
Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
While there must be this initial coming to Jesus for salvation rest, by way of application, there is yet a need for every saint to daily "Come" and allow the Spirit of Christ to grow us in grace and Christlikeness (2Pe 3:18-note) (Sanctification see Three Tenses of Salvation).
And then there will be a final invitation to "Come!" when Jesus invites us to come away to Him (if we pass away before He returns) or to come up to Him (if we are here to experience the Rapture - 1Th 4:17-note) and be with Him forever and ever in the eternal rest of Paradise! (Glorification). "Therefore comfort (present imperative-command to continually encourage) one another with" Jesus' invitation to "Come!". (1Th 4:18-note)
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Come - Not "do this" or "don't do that" but simply "Come". Note also that Jesus does not say come to the church, to a creed, to a clergyman, to a "denomination" or to anything but to Jesus Himself, to a vital, dynamic, radical relationship with the Living Lord. As Oswald Chambers says "Personal contact with Jesus alters everything." Do nothing else but come to Him, for He alone is the way, the truth, the life (Jn 14:6). There is salvation rest in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved (the first time and then every day thereafter!). (Acts 4:12) Jesus is the narrow gate, the narrow way that leads to the rest of eternal life (Mt 7:13, 14). Inherent in Jesus' call to come is that the hearer come now and not wait nor procrastinate - when you hear His invitation, that is the day of salvation (cp 2Cor 6:2).
J C Ryle exhorts us "Beloved brethren, see that you refuse not Him who speaks to you this day. If a letter came to you from the ruler of this country you would not despise it. If you were sick, and advice came from a wise physician, you would not reject it. If you were in danger, and counsel came from your best and truest friend, you would not make light of it. Then hear the words that Jesus sends to you this day. Listen to the King of kings. Then body and soul shall be His. (Come Unto Me)
Spurgeon as usual says it well "‘Come’; He drives none away; He calls them to Himself. His favorite word is ‘Come.’ (Ed: "Come" was the call to His first disciples - Mt 4:19YLT) Not, go to Moses – ‘Come unto me.’ To Jesus Himself we must come, (How?) by a personal trust. Not to doctrine, ordinance, nor ministry are we to come first; but to the personal Saviour.
How do we come to Jesus? The most "generic answer" is by faith and trust in Jesus.
Oswald Chambers adds that "The attitude of coming is that the will resolutely lets go of everything and deliberately commits all to Him."
Adam Clarke says "Come to Me" "in the New Covenant implies simply, believing in Christ and becoming His disciple or follower." Are you a follower of Christ? Have you come to Jesus?
William MacDonald elaborates on what it means to "Come" writing that "To come means to believe (Acts 16:31); to receive (John 1:12); to eat (John 6:35); to drink (John 7:37); to look (Isa. 45:22); to confess (1 Jn. 4:2); to hear (John 5:24, 25); to enter a door (John 10:9); to open a door (Rev. 3:20); to touch the hem of His garment (Matt. 9:20, 21); and to accept the gift of eternal life through Christ our Lord (Ro 6:23).
James Smith addresses believers writing that...
Come (1205) (deute) is an adverb which means "Come here!" or "Come on!" in the sense of a command or an exhortation. Deute is used with the plural imperative either expressed or more often understood (as in Mt 11:28). For example in Mt 4:19 Jesus says "Follow Me" or more literally "Come you after me" where the adverb deute functions as an aorist imperative, a command to do this now!
Friberg -- Deute serving as the plural of deuro; adverb; (1) with an imperative following come! come on! come now! (MT 21.38); (2) absolutely come (MT 22.4); with opiso come after, follow (MT 4.19)
Deute - 21x in 21v in the NT - Matt 4:19; 11:28; 19:21; 21:38; 22:4; 25:34; 28:6; Mark 1:17; 6:31; 10:21; 12:7; Luke 18:22; John 4:29; 11:43; 21:12; Acts 7:3, 34; Rom 1:13; Rev 17:1; 19:17; 21:9. NAS = come(9), come away(1), follow*(2).
Deute is used most often by Jesus - Mt 4:19, 11:28, 19:21, Mt 25:34 (When He reigns as King in the Millennium), Mk 1:17, 6:31, 10:21, 18:22, Jn 11:43 (Call to Lazarus), Jn 21:12 (Post-resurrection invitation to His disciples to eat breakfast).
Deute - 30v in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen 11:3f, 7; 37:20, 27; Exod 1:10; Josh 10:4; Judg 9:15; 2 Kgs 1:2, 6; 6:2, 13, 19; 7:4, 14; 22:13; Neh 2:17; Job 17:10; Ps 34:11; 46:8; 66:5, 16; 74:8; 83:4; 95:1, 6; Isa 1:18; 2:3, 5; 9:10; 27:11; 56:9; Jer 11:19; 18:18; 51:10; Dan 3:26; 6:5; Jonah 1:7; Mic 4:2
Spurgeon outlines Jesus' special invitation...
David Guzik observes that when Jesus commands men and women to "Come unto Me", He demonstrates "His authority...This invitation is unthinkable in the mouth of anyone else but God, and woe to the men who call people to themselves instead of Jesus! (Matthew 11 Commentary)
Oswald Chambers comments on Jesus' invitation to "Come" = When you hear those words you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, anything at all that will put the axe at the root of the thing which is preventing you from coming to Jesus. You will never get further until you are willing to do that one thing. The Holy Spirit will locate the one impregnable thing in you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him.
All - This Greek word generally means all with no exceptions, and yet in the present context the all is in a sense restricted...restricted by Jesus statement to those humble souls who acknowledge their weariness of struggling with sin. This "all" is God's "all merciful antidote" for the horrible "all" of Ro 3:23 where Paul says "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Jesus is speaking to a Jewish audience but with the "all" He flings opens the gates of salvation to sinners from every tribe, every tongue, every people, every nation! As a Gentile believer, I praise God for this "all" from the lips of the Redeemer of mankind!
J C Ryle expounds on the "all"...
John Gill - The persons invited are not ‘all’ the inhabitants of mankind, but with a restriction: ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden,’ meaning not those who labor in the service of sin and Satan, are laden with iniquity and insensible of it: those are not weary of sin nor burdened with it, nor do they want or desire any rest for their souls; but such who groan, being burdened with the guilt of sin on their consciences and are pressed down with the unsupportable yoke of the Law and the load of their trespasses, and have been laboring till they are weary, in order to obtain peace of conscience and rest for their soul by the observance of these things, but in vain. These are encouraged to come to Him, lay down their burdens at His feet and look to Him, and lay hold by faith on His person, blood and righteousness.
Matthew Henry - The character of the persons invited: all that labor and are heavy laden. This is a word in season to him that is weary (Isa. 50:4). Those that complain of the burden of the ceremonial law, which was an intolerable yoke, and was made much more so by the tradition of the elders (Luke 11:46); let them come to Christ and they shall be made easy....But it is rather to be understood of the burden of sin, both the guilt and the power of it. All those, and those only, are invited to rest in Christ that are sensible of sin as a burden and groan under it, that are not only convicted of the evil of sin—their own sin—but are contrite in soul for it; that are really sick of sin, weary of the service of the world and the flesh, that see their state sad and dangerous by reason of sin, and are in pain and fear about it: as Ephraim (Jer. 31:18-20), the prodigal (Luke 15:17), the publican (Luke 18:13), Peter’s hearers (Acts 2:37), Paul (Acts 9), the jailer (Acts 16:29, 30). This is a necessary preparative for pardon and peace”
John Calvin - He now kindly invites to Himself those whom He acknowledges to be fit for becoming His disciples. Though He is ready to reveal the Father to all, yet the great part are careless about coming to Him, because they are not affected by a conviction of their necessities. Hypocrites give themselves no concern about Christ because they are intoxicated with their own righteousness, and neither hunger nor thirst after His grace. Those who are devoted to the world set no value on a heavenly life. It would be vain therefore for Christ to invite either of these classes, and therefore He turns to the wretched and afflicted. He speaks of them as ‘labouring’ or being under a ‘burden,’ and does not mean generally those who are oppressed with griefs and vexations, but those who are overwhelmed by their sins, who are filled with alarm at the wrath of God and are ready to sink under so weighty a burden.
Adam Clarke explains...
Note that Jesus directs His call to the heavy burdened, to the weak, not the strong. "He called those who sensed they must come to Him to relieve their need instead of living in self-sufficiency." (Guzik) God is ever opposed to the proud, but stands ready to give abundant grace to the humble of heart. (James 4:6-note) Therefore " Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." (James 4:10-note)
Jesus' invitation in the New Testament to come and be refreshed recalls Jehovah's offer in the Old Testament to His people to rest in the New Covenant...
Weary and heavy laden - As Jesus said elsewhere it is not the (spiritually) well who need a physician but the (spiritually) sick. Do you even see your need to come to Jesus? As MacDonald says "In order to truly come to Jesus, a person must admit that he is burdened with the weight of sin. Only those who acknowledge they are lost can be saved." As discussed earlier, while Jesus' invitation is especially a call to come to Him for salvation, the call is also applicable to saints who are weary in their struggle to live the Christian life in their own strength.
Are weary (2872)(kopiao from kopos = labor, fatigue) This root word kopos (see word study) is used in secular Greek of “a beating,” “weariness” (as though one had been beaten) and “exertion,” was the proper word for physical tiredness induced by work, exertion or heat. Kopiao means to to exhibit great effort and exertion, to the point of sweat and exhaustion. To physically become worn out, weary or faint. To engage in hard work with the implication of difficulty and trouble. The work described by kopiao was left one so weary it was as if the person had taken a beating. Kopiao describes not so much the actual exertion as the weariness which follows the straining of all one's powers to the utmost. Figuratively kopiao means to become emotionally fatigued and/or discouraged and thus to lose heart and/or give up. The present tense presents the pathetic picture of one who is persistently physically weary and tired, spiritually exhausted, discouraged and ready to "throw in the towel"! Does that describe you dear reader? Then Jesus' words of promised presence and power are perfect for you dear weary one!
John MacArthur - Weary translates a present active participle and refers figuratively to arduous toil in seeking to please God and know the way of salvation. Jesus calls to Himself everyone who is exhausted from trying to find and please God in his own resources. Jesus invites the person who is wearied from his vain search for truth through human wisdom, who is exhausted from trying to earn salvation, and who has despaired of achieving God’s standard of righteousness by his own efforts.
Illustration of Very, Very Weary - The date was August 15, 1930. On that day, a 45-year-old New York State Supreme Court Justice named Joseph Crater, after spending an evening eating out with friends, hailed a taxi and was never seen or heard from again. It remains one of the most mystifying Missing Person cases in FBI files. The FBI immediately suspected a kidnapping by someone who held a judicial grudge against Justice Crater. But that didn’t seem to pan out. They then suspected Mafia activity because Justice Crater was an enemy of the Mafia. But, again, that led nowhere. There is only one clue which remains to this day. When Mrs. Crater returned to their apartment the evening her husband disappeared, there on the table was a large check made out to her and a note attached to the check in her husband’s handwriting which simply said, "I am very, very tired. Love, Joe" Maybe you can relate to Joe Carter– tired and stressed out in life thoughts of Checking out! Maybe you can relate to Joe Carter– tired and stressed out in life thoughts of Checking out! 2% of Americans are regularly dealing with stress –Those most likely to deal with stress are those in their 40’s.
I walked life's path with worry,
Spurgeon....expounds on the meaning of weary..."all ye that labor," in whatever form.
J C Philpot on "weary"...
Heavy laden (5412) (phortizo from phortos = something carried [Acts 27:10 = freight of a ship], from phero = to bring or carry) means to load or burden with something, to cause someone to carry something, to overburden. Phortizo in a figurative sense describes overburdening someone spiritually (with ceremony, rules, laws, etc).
In the only other NT use Jesus used phortizo to describe the lawyers (prototypical "legalists" in a spiritual sense) placing impossible religious demands on the the people, especially the "burden" of keeping the law.
Heavy laden here in Matthew is in the perfect tense which describes a past completed action (at some point they became weary) with ongoing effect (they are still weary). They are pictured as overloaded like beasts of burden.
MacArthur adds that in the passive voice the idea is "that at some time in the past a great load was dumped on the wearied person." He goes to explains that while "weary refers to the internal exhaustion caused by seeking divine truth through human wisdom, heavy-laden suggests the external burdens caused by the futile efforts of works righteousness."
Jesus bore every burden we could never bear, just as prophesied by Isaiah...
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
Spurgeon writes that all who are "heavy laden" are called....
James Montgomery Boice explains that "The phrase “weary and burdened” does not refer to physical weaknesses or to what we might call the burdens of a difficult life, though it may include them. It chiefly refers to a sense of sin’s burden and the need of a Savior. The context makes this clear, for the earlier verses describe the rejection of John the Baptist and Jesus by the Jewish masses, followed by the Lord’s denunciation of Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum for their failure to repent at Jesus’ preaching. They were not burdened by sin. They were getting along just fine. Still, there were people who were burdened, and these people believed that Jesus could lift sin’s weight and turned to him to do it. These people listened to Him, trusted Him, and found salvation. (The Gospel of Matthew - Baker Books)
I will give you rest - Note that we are not invited to come to a doctrine which is systematic (as good and necessary as that might be), but to a Savior Who is Divine, to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself is our Rest! Are you learning how to abide in Him, to rest in Him? If not, you will grow weary even of "well doing"! It seems that many of God's children are growing weary of following Jesus, and are being swept away into the bypaths of this technologically tempting, but temporal world system which is headed by Satan (1Jn 5:19). As a result many of God's children are restless ("weary and heavy-laden") and desperately need to hear and heed Jesus' sweet call to "Come" to Him. He will give a rest the world can neither give nor understand!
Paul gives us a clue to how we can learn to abide and shows us the "fruit" of this learning...
I will give - Rest is a divine gift, but note that Jesus' promise of rest is conditional. It is conditioned on the individual making the personal choice to "Come" at His bidding! He is "gentle and humble in heart" and so He will not coerce or force us to come to Him against our will!
Thomas Brooks writes on "I will give you rest"...
Augustine has a well known quote that relates to the divine rest that Jesus offers...
Samuel Rutherford wrote
Note that this rest is not just any rest, but is rest which is given by Jesus. In Hebrews 4:3 and Hebrews 4:5 the writer quotes God as describing the rest available to believers as "My rest". Therefore this rest is in every sense a divine rest, the rest the Creator Himself enjoys, a rest that is joyous, satisfying and productive, in every sense a supernatural rest. Can you grasp that incredible truth? In a world that is becoming increasingly restless, believers have the invitation to trust in a quality of rest that is literally "other worldly."
Oswald Chambers comments that Jesus says...
David who was often surrounded by tumultuous circumstances (and had learned to rest in the Lord) wrote...
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.
Rest (refresh) (373)(anapauo from ana = again, back, or even as intensifying the meaning of the verb + pauo = to cease or give rest) means to cause someone to become physically refreshed as the result of resting from work which is what Jesus did with his disciples in Mark 6:31.Anapauo can also refer to spiritual refreshment or revival which is Jesus' sense here in Mt 11:28.
Vine writes that
Our English word "refresh" means to restore or give new strength or energy to, to invigorate, to relieve after fatigue, to reanimate after depression, to revive what is drooping, to restore or maintain by renewing supply. Each of these nuances could be applied to our spiritual life and the effect of the rest that Jesus gives us when we come to Him. For example, when Jesus refreshes, He restores our strength or gives us new spiritual strength, He relieves our spiritual fatigue, He revives our drooping spirits, etc.
In Jesus' parable of the rich farmer (Lk 12:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23), He contrasts rest with anxiety about this life and its attendant fear of being without earthly possessions (which usually end up "possessing" the possessor!)...
When we're discouraged spiritually
Rest for the restless soul is found in the Word, in Jesus the Incarnate Word Who invites us to "Come"...
J Vernon McGee in his commentary on the book of Ruth writes that...
Can you trust God to take care of your needs? There is no rest in this life without trust in His life giving provisions. As believers, those who have experienced the initial reality of resting our restless hearts in Christ, what is the greatest problem we face? Do we believe God can meet it? Can we—will we—trust him? If so, God’s Word, in the present passage, the Incarnate Word Himself, offers rest. Spurgeon said that "Faith is reason at rest in God." The writer of Hebrews said "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). “Now we who have believed enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:3).
FIND REST O MY SOUL
James Smith reminds us as believers...
Return to your rest, O my soul,
John Newton asks...
Spurgeon's notes on Mt 11:28...
A W Pink asks...
J C Ryle asks...
Octavius Winslow adds that...
J C Philpot asks...
John MacDuff addresses the question...
LEARNING TO REST (Isaiah 30:15) - Many Christians are anxious and troubled. Although they are experiencing the "rest" of salvation that accompanies the forgiveness of sins and are looking forward to the eternal "rest" of heaven, their souls are still in turmoil. Fearful and doubting, they seem to be continually burdened by life's problems. A closer look at their anxiety can reveal the reason for their distress. Having never learned to rest in the Lord, they fail to experience the "quietness and confidence" (Isaiah 30:15) that comes to those who daily fellowship with Him through Bible study and prayer.
An unknown author has penned a verse describing the problem:
We mutter and sputter, we fume and we spurt;
Don't let yourself become a victim of fruitless fretting. If you do, you'll lose the peace and joy that is your rightful heritage. Instead, set aside part of each day to talk with God, thanking Him for who He is and what He has done for you. Then, by reading His word and believing His comforting promises, your faith will grow stronger and a supernatural peace will flood your soul. Jesus said, "Come to Me,...and I will give you rest" (Mt. 11:28). Have you learned to rest in Him? - Henry G. Bosch
When we put our problems in God's hands,
A band of explorers in Africa hired some villagers to help them on their journey through the jungle. The group set out and pushed on relentlessly for several days. Finally the tribesmen sat down and would go no farther. When asked the reason, their leader answered, "We've been going too fast. We must pause and wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies!"
Many Christians who have overextended themselves in a flurry of church activities or other worthwhile pursuits have experienced a similar feeling. Being so preoccupied with helping others, they suddenly feel as if they have left behind the most important part of themselves—their soul. They have lost intimate contact with the Lord.
If our schedule leaves no time for rest and nurturing our spiritual life, we are just too busy! God does not ask us to be constantly on the go, rushing here and there. Sometimes He wants us to "rest a while" so that our souls can "catch up" and be refreshed for the challenges that lie ahead.—H. G. Bosch
REST BY THE FIRE - When guests at The Houstonian Hotel in Houston, Texas, enter the main lobby on a searingly hot summer day, they are often surprised to see flames dancing in a huge stone fireplace. If it's scorching outside and the air conditioning is humming away, why have a fire burning inside? Because people like to gather around a fire. The gas logs don't produce much heat, but there's something warm, inviting, and relaxing about the flickering light. It seems to say, "Pull up a chair, sit clown, and rest awhile."
As I read the Bible, I often sense that weary, anxious people were drawn to Jesus Christ in much the same way that travelers today are drawn toward the fireplace in that Texas hotel.
A Christian who loves Jesus is sometimes said to be "on fire for the Lord." What a great way to describe the warm, inviting presence of Christ that radiates from the lives of His children before the eyes of weary people in a troubled world! —D. C. M.
RESTING ON JESUS - A missionary in Africa experienced great difficulty in trying to translate the Gospel of John into the local dialect. He faced the problem of finding a word for believe. When he came to that particular word, he always had to leave a blank space.
Then one day a runner came panting into the camp, having traveled a great distance with a very important message. After blurting out his story, he fell exhausted into a hammock nearby. He muttered a brief phrase that seemed to express both his great weariness and his contentment at finding such a delightful place of relaxation. The missionary, never having heard these words before, asked a bystander what the runner had said. "Oh, he is saying, `I'm at the end of myself, therefore I am resting all of my weight here!"' The missionary exclaimed, "Praise God! That is the very expression I need for the word believe!"
REST IN THE STORM - I heard about a submarine that was on patrol during wartime and had to remain submerged overnight. When it resurfaced the next day, a friend on another ship radioed the captain, "How did you fare in that terrible storm last night?" Surprised, the officer exclaimed, "What storm? We didn't know there was one!" Although the ocean's surface had been whipped into huge waves by high winds, the vessel was not affected because the waters below remained calm and tranquil.
Someone once outlined the words of Isaiah 26:3 this way:
You—a Precious God.
Perfect peace—a Priceless Possession.
Whose mind is stayed on You—a Present focus.
Because he trusts in You—a Powerful faith.
The believer who is confident of God's providence, who rests in His grace, and who relies on His Holy Spirit will experience the miracle of His quieting peace. —H. G. Bosch
When we fix our mind on Jesus,
From nature we can learn a lesson about the importance of rest. Built into the life of every tree are stages of dormancy. In his book As a Tree Grows, W Phillip Keller points out that in northern climates the dormant phase is in the winter, and in the tropical regions it is during the hot, dry season. "It is important to understand," says Keller, that dormancy is not death. A tree may appear to be dead, it is true. The leaves of deciduous trees will be all stripped off in the fall, leaving a stark skeleton. The tree is nevertheless very much alive—but at rest." He added that this dormancy is immediately followed by a period of active growth. The dormant phase is a rebuilding and reconditioning for the upsurge of vigorous activity ahead.
Some Christians think that inactivity is a waste of time. They see the occasional lulls that come into life as being unproductive. But that is not necessarily the case. Notice what Christ did for His disciples after they had finished a strenuous period of evangelistic activity He led then into the wilderness to rest so they could be restored for further service. —D. C. Egner
Time in Christ's service
RESTING ON THE BIBLE - Resting on the Bible: — In Newport church, in the Isle of Wight, lies buried the Princess Elizabeth (daughter of Charles the First). A marble monument, erected by our Queen Victoria, records in a touching way the manner of her death. She languished in Carisbrook Castle during the wars of the Commonwealth — a prisoner, alone, and separated from all the companions of her youth, tilt death set her free. She was found dead one day, with her head leaning on her Bible, and the Bible open at the words,
Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
The monument in Newport church records this fact. It consists of a female figure reclining her head on a marble book, with our text engraven on the book. Think, my brethren, what a sermon in stone that monument preaches. Think what a stunning memorial it affords of the utter inability of rank and high birth to confer certain happiness. Think what a testimony it bears to the lesson before you this day — the mighty lesson that there is no true rest for any one excepting in Christ. -Happy will it be for your soul if that lesson is never forgotten.
Here is an excerpt from the related Wikipedia article....
Matthew 11:29 TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU AND LEARN FROM ME FOR I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS: arate (2PAAM) ton zugon mou eph humas kai mathete (2PPAAM) ap' hemou, hoti praus eimi (1SPAI) kai tapeinos te kardia, kai heuresete (2PFAI) anapausin tais psuchais humon: (My yoke: Mt 7:24, 17:5 Jn 13:17, 14:21-24, 15:10-14 1Co 9:21 2Co 10:5 1Th 4:2 2Th 1:8 Heb 5:9) (Learn from Me: Mt 11:27, 28:20 Lk 6:46-48, 8:35, 10:39-42, Jn 13:15, Acts 3:22,23, 7:37, Eph 4:20,21 Php 2:5 1Jn 2:6) (For I am gentle: Mt 12:19,20 21:5 Nu 12:3, Ps 131:1 Isa 42:1-4 Zec 9:9 Lk 9:51-56 2Co 10:1 Php 2:7,8 1Pe 2:21-23) (You will find rest: Mt 11:28 Jer 6:16 Heb 4:3-11)
Come...Take...Learn - Notice that there are three commands each calling for a choice to respond, to surrender to Jesus. Remember that surrender means to yield to the power, control, or possession of another, in this case the One Who is Himself Rest personified. We see a similar pattern in Romans 12:1, 2 where Paul calls for us to surrender our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, as a preparation for living out the Christian life as described in Romans 12-16.
Bear not a single care thyself,
Take (142) (airo) literally describes lifting something up, taking up, raising, as taking up stones (Jn 8:59) or raising the anchor of a ship (Act 27:13). Airo can also mean to take up and place on oneself, to take up and bear or carry (compare Mt 4:6, Septuagint of Ps 91:12, my yoke - here in Mt 11:29, Lxx of Lam 3:27, a cross - figuratively in Mt16:24; literally in Mt 27:32). "We must come as disciples to learn, willing to be guided by His yoke - not merely to receive something." (Guzik)
Adam Clarke writing on Jesus' command to take His yoke remarks that this is indeed a...
Yoke (2218) (zugos/zygos related to verb zeúgnuni = to join especially by a yoke, to bind) literally described a beam of balance that connected scales (see translation as scales or balances in Rev 6:5;Lev 19:36; Hos 12:7).
Jesus' command to take His yoke is a call to submission of our will to His good and acceptable and perfect will. It is a call to surrender our rights and all that we are to Jesus (compare Ro 12:1-note, Ro 12:2-note where Paul exhorts the saints to surrender themselves to God as living sacrifices). Just as the master would use the yoke to keep his oxen under control and to guide them to perform useful work, so too when we are yoked to Jesus, we are surrendering ourselves to His control and His guidance, so that He might lead us into the spiritual works that have been planned for us before the foundation of the world (see Eph 2:10-note).
John Walvoord explains...
A W Pink writes that...
Learn from Me - Especially in combination with "yoke", this is "shorthand" for become My disciple.
Learn (3129) (manthano related to the noun mathetes = disciple, literally a learner! The shut mind is the end of discipleship!) has the basic meaning of directing one’s mind to something and producing an external effect. Manthano refers to teaching, learning, instructing, and discipling. Manthano means to genuinely understand and accept a teaching, to accept it as true and to apply it in one’s life. It was sometimes used of acquiring a life-long habit.
Richards has an informative note on manthano and the related word mathetes...
Charles Simeon describes out duty in learning from Christ...
Gentle and humble - These traits help us understand why His yoke is easy and his burden light, for He is not harsh nor filled with pride. He will not oppress us or given us a burden to great for us to carry. Jesus presented a striking contrast to His Jewish audience who were well acquainted with the Pharisees who were harsh and proud, the antithesis of Jesus! To be yoked with One who is gentle and humble is to also learn to take the lowest place.
Sweet Will of God
Thy precious will, O conquering Saviour,
Gentle (Meek) (4239)(praus -- some sources state it originates from paos = easy, mild or soft) (Click study of related noun gentleness= prautes) describes those who are of a quiet, gentle spirit, in opposition to the proud and supercilious Scribes and Pharisees and their disciples. We have a compound word gentleman, which once fully expressed the meaning of the word meek, but in our modern society has almost wholly lost its original meaning.
As Barclay relates...
MacArthur writes that...
As noted above the Greeks characterized meekness as power under control and in the case of the Spirit filled believer this means that he or she is under the control of God's Spirit. From a practical standpoint, the individual who is "praus" exhibits a freedom from malice, bitterness, or any desire for revenge. The only way to truly define meekness is in the context of relationships because it refers to how we treat others. A gentle spirit should characterize our relationship with both man and God.
Humble (5011) (tapeinos) means low, not high, not rising far from the ground. It speaks of one's condition as lowly or of low degree. It described what was considered base, common, unfit, and having little value. It pictures one brought low, as for example by grief. Tapeinos is descriptive particularly of attitude and social positions.
Wuest writes that tapeinos...
Larry Richards has some excellent comments on tapeinos writing that...
Humble in heart - Moses helps us understand this trait. He was described by God as “a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (Nu 12:3) What is Moses doing while Miriam and Aaron were criticizing him (Numbers 12:1-4)? Nothing. His first recorded words come in Nu 12:13 where he cries out, “O Lord, heal her!” It is at this point that we see Moses’ greatness. Notice that Moses' mindset had certain effects (which can help us determine if we are meek)...
He didn’t fight back.
He didn’t answer his critics.
He didn’t get angry.
He didn’t seek revenge.
He didn’t argue or try to explain his actions.
He didn’t complain about his unfair treatment.
Instead, he kept silent and let the Lord take up his cause.
He only opened his mouth to pray for Miriam.
You will find rest - Think of this rest as God's great treasure for believers who lay hold of it by trusting in Jesus. "Find" is the Greek verb heurisko (see below) from which we get our English word "Eureka!" (Translated "I have found it!"), an exclamation attributed to Archimedes upon discovering a method for determining the purity of gold. Although we don't hear this word much today, in the past it was a triumphant cry of joy on discovering or finding something one greatly values! "Eureka!" should be the cry of every weary, heavy laden heart that has discovered the priceless REST found only in the Son of God. Have you found His Rest?
Hebrews 4 gives us a clue as to how to we can "find" or discover Jesus' rest...
The following poem by George Matheson while not using the word "rest", I think does allude to how one enters the rest of the Savior...see if you agree...
Find (2147) (heurisko) means to learn the location of something, either by intentional searching or by unexpected discovery. Heurisko can also mean to learn something previously not known, frequently involving an element of surprise. In the present context we can discover Jesus' rest by coming to Him, trusting Him to fulfill His promise to give rest to our souls. And when we do, we'll shout "Eureka!"
Rest (refreshment) (372) (anapausis from anapauo ~ refresh, give rest, permit one to cease from labor in order to recover and collect his strength <> aná = again + paúo = cease, give rest) describes rest or inner tranquility (inner rest) while performing necessary labor. An inward rest while laboring, thus anapausis is not primarily the cessation of work with the resultant rest, but the restoration of lost strength and inner rest experienced simultaneously in the work.
Figuratively anapausis refers to spiritual rest here in Mt11.29 where the Lord promises anapausis while engaged in necessary labor. The focus seems to be upon restorative character of rest rather than mere cessation of activity. MacDonald in fact notes that Jesus' rest is "the rest that one experiences in the service of Christ when he stops trying to be great."
Compare - anapausis (372), rest with anesis (425), relief, relaxation.
Rest (Webster) - Cessation of motion or action of any kind, and applicable to any body or being; as rest from labor; rest from mental exertion; rest of body or mind. A body is at rest, when it ceases to move; the mind is at rest, when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated; the sea is never at rest. Hence,
Quiet; repose; a state free from motion or disturbance; a state of reconciliation to God; freedom from activity or labor; a state of motionlessness or inactivity; peace of mind or spirit; a rhythmic silence in music.
TDNT summarizes anapausis - a. “Cessation,” “interruption”; b. “rest”; c. “place of rest”; d. “day of rest.” Instead of the rest given by wisdom, Jesus offers true rest (b) with the gospel (Mt. 11:28-29). Without “cessation” (a) is the sense in Rev. 4:8, “place of rest” (c) in Mt. 12:43.
Moulton and Milligan record the secular example of "a septuagenarian (70 year old person who) pleads for “relief” (anapausis) from public duties and ...we read of the (rest) accorded to veterans...from military service....The essential idea is that of a respite, or temporary rest as a preparation for future toil....
R Kent Hughes comments on the "ideal" rest of God which is available to all believers noting that it "is a working rest. God finished his great work and rested, but it was not a cessation from work, but rather the proper repose that comes from completing a great work. Jesus referred to his Father’s ongoing work saying, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). God’s repose is full of active toil. God rests, and in His rest He keeps working, even now. (Ibid) (Bolding added)
J C Ryle - Rest is a pleasant thing, and a thing that all seek after. The merchant, the banker, the tradesman, the soldier, the lawyer, the farmer—all look forward to the day when they shall be able to rest. But how few can find rest in this world! How many pass their lives in seeking it, and never seem able to reach it! It seems very near sometimes, and they imagine it will soon be their own. Some new personal calamity happens, and they are as far off rest as ever. The whole world is full of restlessness and disappointment, weariness and emptiness. The very faces of worldly men let out the secret; their countenances give evidence that the Bible is true; they find no rest....But Jesus offers rest to all who will come to Him. "Come unto Me," he says, "and I will give you rest." He will give it. He will not SELL it, as the Pharisee supposes—so much rest and peace in return for so many good works. He gives it freely to every coming sinner, without money and without price....He will give you rest from guilt of sin....He will give you rest from fear of law....He will give you rest from fear of hell....He will give you rest from fear of the devil....He will give you rest from fear of death....He will give you rest in the storm of affliction. He will comfort you with comfort the world knows nothing of. He will cheer your heart, and sustain your fainting spirit. He will enable you to bear loss patiently, and to hold your peace in the day of trouble. Oh! this is rest indeed. I know well, brethren, that believers do not enjoy so much rest as they might. I know well that they "bring a bad report of the land," and live below their privileges. It is their unbelief; it is their indwelling sin. There was a well near Hagar—but she never saw it. There was safety for Peter on the water—but he did not look to Jesus, and was afraid. And just so it is with many believers: they give way to needless fear—are straitened in themselves. But still there is a real rest and peace in Christ for all who come to Him. The man that fled to the city of refuge was safe when once within the walls, though perhaps at first he hardly believed it; and so it is with the believer....Be advised, everyone of you who is now seeking rest in the world. Be advised, and come and seek rest in Christ. You have no home, no refuge, no hiding place, no portion. Sickness and death will soon be upon you—and you are unprepared. Be advised, and seek rest in Christ. There is enough in Him and to spare. Who has tried and did not find? A dying Welsh boy said, in broken English, "Jesus Christ is plenty for everybody." Know your privileges, all you who have come to Christ. You have something solid under foot and something firm under hand. You have a rest even now, and you shall have more abundantly...Let me speak to those who have come to Christ indeed. You are often cast down and disquieted within you. And why? Just because you do not abide in Christ and seek all rest and peace in Him. You wander from the fold: no wonder you return weary, footsore, and tired. Come again to the Lord Jesus and renew the covenant. Believe me, if you live to be as old as Methuselah, you will never get beyond this: a sinner saved by the grace of Christ. And think of the sinner's end. Rest in Christ—and so rest indeed! (Come Unto Me)
Wuest on REST - Rest. This is the single translation of two Greek words which speak of rest from two different points of view. These must be distinguished if the Bible student is to arrive at a full-orbed and clear interpretation of the passages in which each appears. Trench has the following on these words: “Our Version renders both these words by ‘rest’; anapausis at Mt 11:29, 12:43; and anesis at 2Cor. 2:13, 7:5; 2Thes. 1:7. No one can object to this; while yet, on a closer scrutiny, we perceive that they repose on different points of view. Anapausis from anapauo, implies the pause or cessation from labor (Rev. 4:8); it is the constant word in the Septuagint for the rest of the Sabbath; thus Ex. 16:23, 31:15, 35:2, and often. Anesis), from aniemi, implies the relaxing or letting down of chords or strings, which have before been strained or drawn tight, its exact and literal antithesis being epitasis (a stretching) … thus Plato…‘in the tightening (epitasis and slackening (anesis) of the strings!… ’ Plato has the same opposition between anesin and spoude (haste, speed); … while Plutarch sets anesis over against stenochoria (narrowness of space, a confined space), as a dwelling at large, instead of in a narrow and straight room; and St. Paul over against thlipsis (a pressure, oppression, affliction) (2Cor. 8:13), not willing that there should be ‘ease’ (anesis) to other Churches, and ‘affliction’ (thlipsis), that is from an excessive contribution, to the Corinthian. Used figuratively, it expresses what we, employing the same image, call the relaxation of morals (thus Athenaeus, 14:13: akolasia (licentiousness, imtemperance, any excess or extravagance) kai (και) (and) anesis, setting it over against sophrosune (good sense, sobriety, prudence). “It will at once be perceived how excellently chosen echein anesin (“let him have liberty”) at Acts 24:23 is, to express what St. Luke has in hand to record. Felix, taking now a more favorable view of Paul’s case, commands the centurion who had him in charge, to relax the strictness of his imprisonment, to keep him rather under honorable arrest than in actual confinement; which partial relaxation of his bonds is exactly what this phrase implies.…“The distinction, then, is obvious. When our Lord promises anapausis to the weary and heavy laden who come to Him (Mt. 11:18, 29), His promise is, that they shall cease from their toils; shall no longer spend their labor for that which satisfieth not. When St. Paul expresses his confidence that the Thessalonians, troubled now, should yet find anesia in the day of Christ (II Thes. 1:7), he anticipates for them, not so much cessation from labor, as relaxation of the chords of affliction, now so tightly drawn, strained and stretched to the uttermost. It is true that this promise and that at the heart are not two, but one; yet for all this they present the blessedness which Christ will impart to His own under different aspects, and by help of different images; and each word has its own fitness in the place where it is employed.” The noun anapausis is found in Mt. 11:29, 12:43; Lk. 11:24; Rev. 4:8, 14:11. The verb anapauo, which is of the same root, and which means, “to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength, to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, to take rest,” occurs in Mt. 11:28, 26:45; Mk. 6:31, 14:41; Lk. 12:19; I Cor. 16:18; II Cor. 7:13; Philemon 1:7, 20; 1Pet. 4:14; Rev. 6:11, 14:13. There are illustrations of the use of these words in the papyri. Moulton and Milligan report the use of anapausis in the case of a man over 70 who pleads for “relief” (anapausis) from public duties; also in the case of veterans who have been released from military’ service for a five years’ rest. They say that the essential idea of this word is that of a respite or temporary rest as a preparation for future toil. They report the use of the verb anapauo as a technical term of agriculture where a farmer rests his land by sowing light crops upon it. The word anesis is found in Acts 24:23 (liberty); II Cor. 2:13, 7:5, 8:13; II Thes. 1:7. (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader)
John Newton (Amazing Grace) notes that...
F W Robertson adds that the rest Jesus gives to our souls is not a rest of inaction "It is not the lake locked in ice that suggests repose, but the river moving on calmly and rapidly, in silent majesty and strength. It is not the cattle lying in the sun, but the eagle cleaving the air with fixed pinions, that gives you the idea of repose with strength and motion. In creation, the rest of God is exhibited as a sense of power which nothing wearies. When chaos burst into harmony, so to speak, God had rest.
Spurgeon adds that when you "Carry Christ’s burden...your shoulders shall have rest. We do not mean sleep or idleness when we speak of rest: that is not rest, but rust.
Vine writes that anapausis means "cessation, refreshment, rest (ana = up + pauō = to make to cease), the constant word in the Septuagint (Lxx) for the Sabbath rest, is used in Mt 11:29; here the contrast seems to be to the burdens imposed by the Pharisees. Christ’s rest is not a rest from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections—of will, heart, imagination, conscience—because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development” (J. Patrick, in Hastings’ Bible Dictionary)
Anapausis - 5 times in the NT...
Matthew 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Matthew 12:43 "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.
Luke 11:24 "When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'
Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME."
Comment: In this context anapausis means there is no cessation of activity in which one is engaged, which is the same sense in Revelation 14:11.
Revelation 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
Comment: Rev 4:8 and Rev 14:11 highlight a dramatic contrast of ceaseless praise in worship of the Almighty versus ceaseless punishment for worshippers of the Beast! The beast worshipers may have rest (of a sort) during the brief time of the end, but will have no rest throughout eternity future. The saints often experience duress during our brief time on earth, but thereafter will “rest (anapauo) from their labors (Greek = kopos = laborious toil which involves weariness and sorrow. Intense effort united with trouble and toil.)” (Re 14:13-note). Another contrast is seen in regard to the entity of rest - no rest in all eternity for those who reject Christ (Rev 14:11) and eternal rest (anapauo) for all who receive Christ (Rev 14:13). All men will be forever RESTLESS or RESTFUL (rest filled)! Dear reader, I pray you are in the latter camp! Amen.
Anapausis - 42v in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ge 8:9; 49:15; Ex 16:23; 23:12; 31:15; 35:2; Lev 16:31; 23:3, 24, 39; 25:4f, 8; Num 10:33; Ruth 1:9; 3:1; 1 Chr 22:9; 28:2; Esth 9:17; Ps 22:2; 114:7; 131:4, 8; Eccl 4:6; 6:5; 9:17; Job 7:18; 21:13; Mic 2:10; Isa 11:10; 14:3; 17:2; 23:12f; 25:10; 28:2; 32:17; 34:14; 37:28; 65:10; Jer 51:33; Lam 1:3. Here are some representative uses...
Trench discusses the relationship between anapausis and anesis...
Rest for you souls is a quotation from Jeremiah...
John MacArthur notes that the English dictionary has several definitions that are wonderful parallels for the spiritual rest that Jesus gives as we trust in Him...
Souls (5590)(psuche or psyche from psucho = to breathe, blow, English = psychology, "study of the soul") is the breath, then that which breathes, the individual, animated creature. However the discerning reader must understand that psuche is one of those Greek words that can have several meanings, the exact nuance being determined by the context. It follows that one cannot simply select of the three main meanings of psuche and insert it in a given passage for it may not be appropriate to the given context. The meaning of psuche is also contingent upon whether one is a dichotomist or trichotomist. Consult Greek lexicons for more lengthy definitions of psuche as this definition is only a brief overview. (Click an excellent article on Soul in the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology; see also ISBE article on Soul)
AS SMART AS AN OX! - On one occasion F B. Meyer visited D. L. Moody in Northfield, Massachusetts. Moody, showing Meyer a team of oxen, said that whenever one of those oxen was being yoked in, the other, which might be on the far side of the farmyard, would come trotting up and stand beside the other one until it was yoked in also.
Meyer then made this encouraging application to us in our relationship to Christ: `Jesus stands today with the yoke upon His shoulder. He calls to each one and says, `Come and share My yoke, and let us plow together the long furrow of your life. I will be a true yokefellow to you. The burden shall be on Me.
When our burden seems heavy and our loads hard to bear, Christ has promised to lift our burdens and lighten our cares. That's how we find rest and peace in every area of life. —Richard W De Haan
WALKING WITH THE GUIDE - As Sarah Smiley was preparing to descend a 5,000 foot Rigi Mountain peak in central Switzerland, her guide told her that she should let him carry her load. She agreed to give some of it to him, but she kept a few items. As they made their way down the mountainside, Sarah felt hindered by her load. Soon she had to stop and rest. When she did, her guide demanded that she give him everything except her Alpine walking stick. This time she agreed and transferred the load to his strong shoulders. Without the extra weight, she made the rest of the trip with ease. It was as if her Lord was trying to say to her, "O foolish, willful heart, have you indeed given up your last burden? You have no need to carry them, or even the right."
How often we are just like Sarah Smiley! When we face a difficulty, we carry the burden by ourselves. God invites us to cast all of our cares on Him, and He is strong enough to shoulder the burden. Let's take Him up on the offer. Our pathway will be easier and our steps lighter. —P. R. Van Gorder
Our work is to cast care.
COME APART AND REST OR YOU'LL COME APART - Greek legend tells us that in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. The observer laughed and jeered at Aesop for this undignified behavior. Instead of replying, Aesop picked up a bow that he sometimes used for playing a stringed instrument. He unstrung it and laid it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, "Now, answer the riddle, if you can, and tell us what the unstrained bow implies." The man could not tell him. He had no idea what it meant. Aesop explained, "If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it."
Its like that with people too. That's why we need to take time to rest—when the bow of life can be relaxed. God "rested from all His work" (Gen. 2:3). Shouldn't we follow His example? You can't do your best for the Lord if you don't rest a while. —P R. Van Gorder
Matthew 11:30 FOR MY YOKE IS EASY AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT: ho gar zugos mou chrestos kai to phortion mou elaphron estin (3SPAI): (Yoke: Pr 3:17 Micah 6:8 Acts 15:10,28 Gal 5:1,18 1Jn 5:3) (Burden : Jn 16:33 2Co 1:4,5 4:17 12:9,10 Php 4:13)
'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
For (gar) is a term of explanation and should always prompt a response, an interaction with the living and active Word of God. Too often we read the text passively and miss the joy and exhilaration of interacting with God's Word, which is the Father's love letter to us, a letter meant not so much to make us more "educated" but to draw us to Himself and make us more intimate with Him. As C H Spurgeon once said "If you wish to know God you must know his Word." Dear student of God's Holy Word, let me encourage you to make great use of these opportunities to pause, reflect and in essence learn the blessed practice of meditating on the Scriptures as you interrogate words like "for" (there are over 7000 "for's" in the Scripture providing abundant "opportunity" for interaction, practice, edification and blessing - see Ps 1:1-note, Ps 1:2-note, Ps 1:3-note, cp Joshua 1:8-note) asking simple questions like "What is the 'for' there for?", "Why is it here?". etc. The more you practice the art of asking the Scripture questions, the more you will find yourself experiencing the joy of self discovery, as your Teacher the Spirit interacts with you and illuminates the passage. Then, when you read the commentary (including the one you are reading now), you can be a good Berean (Acts 17:11-note) and discern truth from error (cp Hebrews 5:14-note). A shrinking of your study time of the Holy Word may result in "shrinking power" from Holy Spirit in your life for He uses the Word to sanctify you by grace through faith! The church needs more men like John Wesley, the powerful eighteenth-century preacher who wrote...
My yoke is easy and My load is light - What a striking contrast between Jesus and the oppresive Pharisees (See Mt 23:4).
William MacDonald's comments that...
Yoke (pair of scales)(2218) (zugos/zygos related to verb zeúgnuni = to join especially by a yoke, to bind) literally described a beam of balance that connected scales (see translation as scales or balances in Rev 6:5;Lev 19:36; Hos 12:7).
BDAG and Liddell-Scott summary of zugos/zygos...
What is the yoke in context of Mt 11:29? Is it not His teaching, His teaching which is calculated to make disciples? As discussed in the notes on the previous passage, to “take a yoke” in Jesus' day meant to become a disciple. When we submit ourselves voluntarily and willingly and wholly to Jesus Christ, we are yoked to Him. And this is a "forever" yoking! Hallelujah!
Zugos/zygos - 6x in 6v in the NAS - pair of scales(1), yoke(5).
Zugos/zygos - 62v in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen 27:40; Lev 19:35; 26:13 (" I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect"); Num 19:2; Deut 21:3; 2Chr 10:4, 9ff ("Your father made our yoke hard"), 2Chr 10:14; Job 6:2; 31:6; 39:10; Ps 2:3; 62:9; Pr 11:1 ("A false balance is an abomination to the LORD"); Pr 16:11; 20:23; Isa 5:18; 9:4; 10:27; 14:5, 25, 29; 40:12, 15; 46:6; 47:6; Jer 2:20 ("“For long ago I broke your yoke And tore off your bonds; But you said, ‘I will not serve!’"); Jer 5:5; 27:8, 11; 28:2, 4, 11, 14; 30:8; 32:10; Lam 3:27; Ezek 5:1; 34:27; 45:10; Dan 5:27; 8:25; Hos 12:7; Amos 8:5; Mic 6:11; Zeph 3:9;
My yoke - Not the yoke of the legalists of Jesus day, but His yoke of grace. Jesus' yoke is diametrically different from the yoke that men cruelly place upon other men! His grace laden yoke brings liberty, releasing the captive and setting free the downtrodden (Lk 4:18, 19). The legalistic yoke of men brings bondage, which steals the joy of our salvation (cp Neh 8:10, Ps 51:12, Ps 51:14-note). Every morning, we need to arise and make the prayerful choice to take up and put on Jesus' light, easy, grace-filled yoke and experience His liberating joy and peace throughout the day as His Spirit enables us to live as those who know the truth and are free indeed (Ps 95:1-note, Ps 118:15-note, Isaiah 12:3-note, Jn 8:31, 32, 36)!
Here are passages that speak of the placing of men's yokes upon other men...
Easy (5543) (chrestos from chraomai = furnish what is needed) conveys the basic meaning of being well adapted to fulfill a purpose and thus describes that which is useful, suitable, excellent, serviceable. The idea is goodness combined with a nuance of ‘serviceableness.' (as in Luke 5:39 where the old wine is "good enough" - fine for use). Chrestos refers to that which is fit for use, able to be used and hence is good, kind, benevolent, worthy, useful, virtuous, and pleasant (in contrast to what is hard, harsh, bad or unprofitable). Chrestos expresses the material usefulness of things with regard to their goodness, pleasantness and softness.
And so we see that Jesus' yoke is chrestos, well-fitting and tailor-made for each believer and their every need. Christ's yoke furnishes what is useful, easy to bear, having nothing galling or harsh, but, to the contrary, it provides us all that we need, what we really need! Do you truly believe that statement? Do you believe that Jesus is enough? ...That His grace is sufficient for all of your needs, your weaknesses [2Cor 12:9-note] ...enough for your victory over the besetting sin that so easily entangles you, impeding your walk of faith [Heb 12:1-note]? Then fix your eyes upon Jesus [Heb 12:2-note], take up His easy yoke, and walk forth in confidence and conviction that He has already won the battle for you dear saint! (See this principle throughout Scripture - 1Sa 2:9, 17:47, 2Chr 20:15, 17, 32:8, Ps 46:11, Zech 4:6, Dt 20:1, 4, Josh 10:42 - see below for Charles Haddon Spurgeon's exhortation and Martin Luther's encouraging hymn)
A Mighty Fortress
Adam Clarke comments on "My yoke is easy"...
Burden (cargo, load) (5413) (phortion from phortos = something carried, used of the freight of a ship Acts 27:10) is literally that which is carried. It is an old word used for a ship's cargo (Acts 27:10). A load or burden.
Liddell Scott says a secular use of phortion was of a child in a womb (Xenophon). Phortion is the pack a soldier is expected to carry.
Phortion is used figuratively in a positive sense to describe the commands of Christ (three commands here in Mt 11:30 = come...take...learn), but in a negative sense to describe the ceremonial observances of human traditions and stipulations (Mt 23:4, Lk 11:46).
Phortion can also describe the burden of one’s own responsibilities and failures (Gal 6:5).
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary - In the New Testament phortion [ φορτίον ], the Greek word used for burden, denotes the troubles of this life. In Matthew 23:4 Jesus describes the heavy burdens the Pharisees laid upon the people "but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them." Obviously this is a burden of legalism. This same Greek word is used to describe a man's load of imperfections and sins in Galatians 6:5 . Jesus uses the same word to describe his burden in Matthew 11:30 : "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." The reason for having a light burden is described in the previous verse: "I am gentle and humble in heart." Burdens will come in this life but they will be light if we have Jesus' approach to life. (Burden - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
TDNT - 1. This word has such senses as “freight,” “lading,” “burden,” “goods,” and a child in the womb. “Burdening” with cares, sickness, etc. is another sense. 2. The OT equivalent šd has such senses as “bearing,” “burden,” “tribute,” “toll,” or “trouble.” 3. The LXX uses phortíon for “burden” (Is. 46:1), “burden of sin” (Ps. 38:4), the “burden” one person is for another (Job 7:20), and “load” (of wood) (Jdg. 9:48-49). 4. The rabbis use the Hebrew in various ways for “bearing,” “business,” “occupation,” “burden,” “obligation,” or “duty.”
Burden (Webster) = something that is carried (a load); That which is borne with labor or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome, worrisome or oppressive. Something that is exacting, oppressive, or difficult to bear: the burden of responsibility. A cause of hardship, worry, or grief.
Load (Webster) = something that weighs down the mind or spirits (took a load off her mind) b : a burdensome or laborious responsibility. Any heavy burden; a large quantity borne or sustained. A tree may be said to have a load of fruit upon it.. That which is borne with pain or difficulty; a grievous weight; encumbrance.
John MacArthur - Baros in Gal 6:2 is a strong word, which means “a heavy weight”; whereas phortion in Gal 6:5 refers to anything that is easily carried. It was often used of the general obligations of life that a person is responsible to bear on his own. One of those obligations is to help others with their crushing burdens, a kindness that will reap eternal rewards. (The Master's plan for the church).
W E Vine - Phortion which, with the exception of Acts 27:10, is used only in a metaphorical sense in the New Testament; of discipleship, whether of the scribes, Pharisees, and lawyers, Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46, or of the Lord Jesus, Matthew 11:30. The difference between baros, Gal 6:2, and phortion is that phortion, as its derivation from phero, “to carry,” shows, is something borne; be the load light or heavy, its weight is not the point. With baros, on the other hand, weight is the essential thing. Thus phortion is used in Matthew 11:30, “My burden is light,” where baros would be unsuitable. The burden of the transgressor is of necessity a heavy one, hence baros appears in Gal 6:2; but the burdens that all must bear are some lighter, some heavier, the point is that, heavy or light, each must bear his own; hence in Gal 6:5 phortion is used. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Wuest - The word burden in Gal 6:2 is baros, and in this verse, phortion. While these words have their distinctive meaning in the secular usage of the early centuries, and while synonyms in juxtaposition should usually be carefully distinguished, yet we cannot draw a fine distinction between these two words in this passage. There is no use burdening the English reader with the various meanings of the two words, since they would have no bearing upon our study. In Gal 6:2 the apostle exhorts the Galatian saints to bear the burdens of their fellow saints, namely, to assume the responsibility of giving that saint spiritual aid in case he has allowed sin to come into his experience. Here he exhorts the saints to bear their own burdens. This is doubtless an intentional paradoxical antithesis on the part of the apostle. It is the Christian who knows that he has a burden of his own, namely, a susceptibility to certain sins, and who has fallen himself, who is willing to bear his neighbor’s burden. Again, when each man’s self-examination reveals infirmities of his own, even though they may not be the same as those of his neighbors, he will not claim moral and spiritual superiority to others. Furthermore, each saint should bear his own burden in the sense that he must recognize his personal responsibilities towards God and man. He is responsible for the kind of life he lives. Again, when he sees his own failings, he will have no inclination to compare himself with others. The word own is from idios, which means “pertaining to one’s self, one’s own as compared to that which is another’s.” It speaks of personal, private, unique possession. (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)
Phortion - 6x in 5v. NAS = burden(1), burdens(3), cargo(1), load(1).
Matthew 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Matthew 23:4 "They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
Luke 11:46 But He said, "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
Acts 27:10 and said to them, "Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."
Galatians 6:5 For each one will bear his own load.
Phortion - in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (Lxx)- 2Sa 19:35; Job 7:20; Ps 38:4; Isa 46:1. For example David records...
Psalm 38:4 For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden (Hebrew = massa; Lxx = phortion) they weigh too much for me.
Comment: Indeed Jesus says to all with the unbearable "heavy burden" of iniquity to "Come to Me". (Jesus bore the "burden" of our iniquity - Isaiah 53:4).
Jesus contrasts "heavy-laden", burdened (phortizo) men with His light burden (phortion). Did you notice the seemingly paradoxical call of Jesus to an already weary and burdened man or woman to take on a new load, and that in order that they might receive rest! Only Jesus can orchestrate such a supernatural feat. Praise His Holy Name!
The burden of doing His will is not a heavy one as John explains "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome (oppressive, worrisome). (1Jn 5:3).
Beloved, is not Jesus' call to come similar to Jehovah's call to cast our burden in Psalm 55:22. May we all be quick to humble ourselves and willingly cast our burden on Jehovah. What are the promises Jehovah gives us when we cast our burden on Him?
Are you trying to carry the burden by yourself dear Christian? Hear and heed Jesus' call to you to release it to Him and to walk yoked to Him so that you might enter His perfect rest for your soul.
William MacDonald commenting on Jesus' light burden clarifies that "This does not mean that there are no problems, trials, labor, or heartaches in the Christian life. But it does mean that we do not have to bear them alone. We are yoked with One Who gives sufficient grace for every time of need. To serve Him is not bondage but perfect freedom."
TAXING COLLAR OF SELF
J. H. Jowett says: The fatal mistake for the believer is to seek to bear life’s load in a single collar. God never intended a man to carry his burden alone. Christ therefore deals only in yokes! A yoke is a neck harness for two, and the Lord himself pleads to be One of the two. He wants to share the labor of any galling task. The secret of peace and victory in the Christian life is found in putting off the taxing collar of “self” and accepting the Master’s relaxing “yoke.”
Light (1645) (elaphros) means not heavy, easy to bear, not burdensome, not difficult to bear, having little weight, easy to be lifted, borne or carried by physical strength. In the present passage the idea of "light" is that which is not oppressive and thus is easy to be endured. Other synonyms: lightweight, slight, easy, trifling, trivial (albeit when we are experiencing them, they are not "trivial" to us!), manageable, small, featherweight, "light as a feather"
The only other NT use is by Paul in his description of affliction, writing that...
Observe the striking contrast of sinful man's futile attempt to keep the law in his own strength...
Beloved, perhaps that is the way you are trying to live your Christian life, by the repeated cry in your head of "Thou shalt not!" Jesus came to set us free from the bondage by the law. As Paul asked the Galatians...
Guzik comments that in this passage...
To the lawyers Jesus declared...