COME TO ME
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
What did Jesus mean by “learn from me”? Why did He point to the fact that He was “gentle” and “humble in heart”?
Though Jesus was the Son of God, He freely confessed: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself…I can do nothing on my own initiative.” He was humble in heart because He recognized that no human being can accomplish the will of God. God Himself must indwell a person and perform His will through the person as a vessel. It was the Father in Him who did the mighty works, and that is how it must be with us if we are ever to please Him. We must “learn of Him” – be indwelt as He was indwelt.
Jesus was also “gentle.” He refused to strive in His own strength. He was one with the Father, so that the Father’s life and power coursed through Him. “The Father is in me, and I in the Father,” He told His critics. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” “My Father and I are one.” He did not “try” to do the will of His Father, He simply allowed Himself to be indwelt as a vessel so that the Father could manifest His life through Him. Though great work was accomplished, it was all from a state of spiritual rest.
This was the “rest” hinted at in creation week, in Israel’s weekly keeping of a Sabbath day, and in the rest of the earthly Promised Land. All of these Old Testament shadows pictured the time when Christ Jesus would come to this earth to demonstrate how God can live in human beings and fulfill His will in them without their own effort or striving.
Once we recognize that we can do nothing righteous of ourselves – that all our righteousness, before and after conversion, are like filthy rags – we are ready to allow Christ to live through us. “There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Not a day, not a physical place on this earth, but a rest which comes from being yoked in union with Christ. The “fulfillment” of the Sabbath type:
“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested form his works, as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10).
The external “ought to,” whether it be of the ten commandment law or of our own making according to our church tradition, shows us our inability to please God. It convicts us of failure and weakness. When we are about to drown, after we have wallowed in our own self-effort and failed miserably, we can finally cease from our own works and enter into rest in Christ.
This “rest” is not a rest of laziness. We have been set free from the law of “ought to,” but it is not a freedom to live as we please in the flesh. Rather, we have been joined – yoked – to Christ and “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Not two, but one; just as Jesus and his Father were one, so that for Him to live was really the Father. And for us to live is Christ! When He indwells us, He lives His life of tremendous works through us. The proof of His oneness with the Father, He said, was the “works” that were being accomplished. If we are one with Him, He will live that same fruitful life through us today! Collectively, we will do even “greater” works that He did while on earth, because the He was limited to one human body, whereas now He lives in many.”