‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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 will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:28-30
After rather a sombre message yesterday I thought today should be more encouraging! And Easter is such a wonderful time of encouragement. The God who ‘will not leave the guilty unpunished’ (yesterday’s blog) is a God of love who ‘is not willing that any should perish’ (2 Peter 3:8-10). That is why God is still waiting and we have not yet arrived at the Day of Judgment. And in these Bible verses we have such a wonderful invitation. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
In a world which is in such turmoil, I believe the only way we can find true and lasting ‘rest’ is by being in the presence of God and knowing His love. And the only way we can be in the presence of God, and have a relationship with Him, is through the Lord Jesus. Jesus says, ‘no-one comes to the Father except through me.’ John 14:6
In the days before Easter some of us have been reflecting on the journey of Jesus to the cross. That doesn’t seem to me like a light burden or an easy yoke! But because Jesus was always in perfect communion with His Father, the burden became easy and the yoke light. And today, whatever our circumstances, I believe we can still find rest in the presence of God. I was reading recently a testimony from a young Christian woman who was imprisoned in Iraq. She said, ‘I have learned that it is possible to be in prison and still be free.’ Wow!
And so this Easter – and every day – the message is still available for anyone – ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Romans 10:13. Jesus died on the cross (a historical fact) but the questions is, have you accepted that He died for YOU? That because He loves YOU and me so much, He was prepared to die on the cross and take the punishment that we deserved. You see, you and I can never have a relationship with a holy and perfect God, unless the question of our sin is first dealt with. And so God provided the solution in Jesus. Jesus died on the cross and poured out His blood as a perfect sacrifice before God (as foretold in the Old Testament) for the ‘sins of the world’. This means I can repent of my sin before God and He can forgive me, because Jesus took my punishment. God is righteous and must punish sin (yesterday’s blog) but He is love and thus has provided the solution to the problem of sin.
And then we know from the Bible that He rose again and met with hundreds of people before He went back to heaven. And the Bible tells us He is coming again. So just as the Old Testament prophecy about the birth, life, and death of Jesus came true, so also will the prophecy that He will come again also come true. We don’t know when, but we do know from the Bible that one day Jesus will return – not to die on a cross, but as a King and a Judge.
Will you be pleased to see Him when He returns as King, because He is your Saviour? Or will you be terrified because He will not leave the guilty unpunished?