Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

A few days ago I was reading through the book of Matthew to see what Jesus said or did about the Sabbath.  While I could simply search for the word Sabbath in my Bible program that isn’t quite the same as actually reading the text and getting the full context of the passages.

So I had read lots of chapters in Matthew and was beginning to wonder why I wasn’t coming across any real discussion of the Sabbath from Jesus nor even any accusations of breaking the Sabbath.  As many people know the book of Matthew was written with a Jewish audience in mind, so of the gospels the book of Matthew deals more with the Laws and customs of Jews.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 12th chapter of Matthew that I ran across the Sabbath in a discussion.   As expected Jesus has appeared to break the Sabbath, his disciples have picked grain and then Jesus healed a man.  No surprise there, this is a regular occurance.

Matthew 12:1-14 (ESV)
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”
3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?
6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
9 He went on from there and entered their synagogue.
10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”— so that they might accuse him.
11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.
14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

But as always you should read the passages before and after a selection of verses in order to get the full context.  {Remember chapter breaks and verse numbers were added by man.  The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to use chapter and verses.}

So what do I find just before the accusations of Sabbath breaking?

REST!

This isn’t talking about the seventh day rest either.  This is the real, true and everlasting rest that only Jesus can give us.   This isn’t the temporary rest of one day; this is the eternal rest of the soul.

Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV)
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 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.”

The weekly Sabbath rest of the Jews was a picture of the real, spiritual, eternal, Sabbath Rest provided by Jesus.



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2 thoughts on “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

  1. Very interesting. I have to remind myself often that there were no chapters and verses in the original Biblical manuscripts. To the subject at hand:

    I agree with you that the glaring absence of mention of the Sabbath throughout the first half of the book of Matthew is significant.

    Interestingly enough, those whom we know that are strict with regard to the Sabbath tend to focus on the idea of worship, rather than rest. When you believe what we do, that every day is the Lord’s day, the idea of a specific day being more suited to worship than another loses its weight.

    Jesus is our Sabbath rest, so I think you made an excellent observation.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Terry,

    I’m glad you found it interesting. I sure did when I was reading it. It is amazing how you can read the same things over and over and then one day the Lord removes another scale and you see things you never saw before.

    It seems to me that Jesus is specifically telling the Jews that He is their longed for rest and then He proceeds to put the Jewish observed Sabbath in its rightful place. Not the idol it had become, but for the benefit of man, to do good and not harm. I also find it significant that this passage is only in the book of Matthew because the Jews were the ones that would really understand the significance of “rest”. Of course, that sets the Pharisees off to destroy Jesus. How dare He tamper with their Law?

    Oh and you are so right about the worship and Sabbath mix up. Only those that lived right around a synagogue would be there for Bible reading on the Sabbath most would be at home “resting”. 🙂

    Berean Wife

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