Come to Me and I Will Give You Rest

by Mike Ratliff

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 (LSB) 

Christians should view this life in the temporal as the preparation or training that will develop Christ’s character in them prior to them going home to be with Him forever. However, many false prophets lead their followers into just the opposite. To them, it is all about the here and now. Instead of viewing hardship and sickness as implements or tools in the hands God to shape and form His children, these are seen as things out of His control that we suffer because we don’t have enough faith. Perhaps God is using our sickness or hardship to bring others together in prayer for their spiritual growth. Perhaps He is allowing these things to drive things out of our lives that separate us from Him and keep us from obedience. Our Lord said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15 (LSB)

No one is in Christ on their own terms. They are regenerate because God broke into their lives to draw them to the Son (John 6:44). Christians are such according to the grace of God and for no other reason. These children of God have had God’s truth revealed to them while these same truths have been hidden from those who are not of God.

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Matthew 11:25-27 (LSB)

25 Ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι, πάτερ, κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅτι ἔκρυψας ταῦτα ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις· 26 ναὶ ὁ πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου. 27 Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου, * καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ, οὐδὲ τὸν πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι. Matthew 11:25-27 (NA28)

The Greek word Matthew used that is translated here as “have hidden” is ἔκρυψας(ekrypsas), which literally means “to conceal” or “to keep secret.” This word is the aorist active indicative case of κρύπτω (kryptō). This is obviously where we get our English Word Krypto and all the words based on it. This is a sovereign act by God to hide the truth from those who were opposing the ministry of our Lord Jesus. Our Lord sarcastically called them “the wise and understanding.” These are the ones who are wise in the world’s eyes, but are unrepentant and stubbornly refuse to accept the gospel. How did He conceal the truth from them? Who believes the gospel? The only ones who believe the gospel and receive Christ as Lord and Saviour are the ones who are given the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:1-10). According to our Lord in v27 these who are given this gift of faith are the ones “to whom the Son chooses to reveal the Father.”

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (LSB)


28 Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι, κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς. 29 ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς καὶ μάθετε ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι πραΰς εἰμι καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ, καὶ εὑρήσετε ἀνάπαυσιν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν· 30 ὁ γὰρ ζυγός μου χρηστὸς καὶ τὸ φορτίον μου ἐλαφρόν ἐστιν. Matthew 11:28-30 (NA28)


The word translated as “come” in v28 is δεῦτε (deute), which is a command to “come hither.” Who is being called to come to the Lord? It is “all who labor and are heavy laden.” This is referring to those who are being heavily laden with the legalistic burdens of those “wise and understanding” in v25 from whom God was concealing the truth. What is the promise to those who deute to Jesus by obeying this command? He promises to “give you rest,” which in Greek is ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς. The root word for rest here is ἀναπαύω, which refers to “taking a refreshing rest.” This is a contrast between trying to keep the law in order to please God and what our Lord is getting ready to share about those who truly “come to Him.” Those who become His disciple take up His yoke and learn from Him. The contrast between keeping the Lords commandments and the crushing burden the scribes and pharisees placed on the people was huge. In our day and time, there are still people who believe that the only way to please God is to keep His Law. The Law cannot be a remedy for sin. Its function is to expose our lack of holiness in contrast to God. It drives us to the Grace of God which is freely given to those to whom the truth has not been concealed by God.

The Pharisaic interpretation of the law, with its extensive list of proscriptions, had become a crushing burden but was believed by the people to be of divine origin. However, Jesus’ yoke of discipleship brings rest through simple commitment to Him (1 John 5:3 which I placed at the top of this post).

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (LSB) 

We are not saved by keeping the law. We are not saved by anything we have done. It is a gift of God, not a result of works. There are still people today who believe that they are Christians according to how well they obey a set of laws. No, according to God’s Word, we are made Christians by God Himself according to His will, according to His grace. We are changed at that moment. We are His workmanship. He has broken through to our lives and we are never the same because we have been washed by regeneration (Titus 3:1-8). In this life we will never be perfect, but we will grow in grace and become more and more spiritually mature. We will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and walk in repentance. We will persevere to the end. These things do not make us Christians, they are what reveals our Christian authenticity to us and others.


What about Christian suffering?

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we boast in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not put to shame, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5 (LSB) 

7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (LSB) 

What about temptation?

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (LSB) 

My brethren, I do not know why God has brought back a very old illness to torment me at this time. I suffered several seizures in the late 1970’s, but have had none since then , but in 2010 I had several seizures over a period of 10 days. They were very severe. Why did God allow this? Why has He given me this thorn in the flesh? Well, I don’t know, but I do know that nothing happens to us that is not according to His will. I am still here. He has not taken me home nor has He removed this ministry from me. Therefore, I will continue to serve Him with my all and seek to walk in repentance the rest of my life as I rest in my Lord. This last Spring I had a stroke that may or may not be related to my seizure disorder. My heart doctor does not believe it is. He says I have a heart disorder that caused some blood clots to be released all at once into my brain. Again, why did God allow this? Why not just take me home? I’m still here, I am still ministering. I am still studying the Word and teaching and will continue to do so as long as I am able.

Soli Deo Gloria!

5 thoughts on “Come to Me and I Will Give You Rest

  1. Amazing!
    Your articles are always full of salt and light.
    God knows how to keep us weak enough to come to him and remain in him, in this self confident and independent age.

    Like you I have a thorn too, I dont understand why this thorn, but it keeps me weak enough to come to him. I tell myself he loves me enough to give the thorn to me. That the gift of the revelation of Christ as saviour from sin is greater than the thorn ive been attributed with.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Just beginning to read a newly released book “Christmas Thoughts”, a series of sermons by J. C. Ryle published by Banner of Truth. The first Sermon is on Matthew 11:28 from the text you quoted.

    Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    Ryle expands the invitation in four dimensions:
    Who is the Speaker; to whom is it addressed; what is asked of sun and what is offered. This is the Christmas invitation……the question remains who will hear and respond.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike, you are in my prayers. I’m so sorry for the delay in getting to this study and therefore the delay in praying for your wellbeing! Blessings and health dear Mike!


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