In Matthew 11:28, we read, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Besides John 3:16, this is one of the hallmark promises of Christianity time and time again taken as proof that now it is all about Jesus. But if it is, was that easy, why then are so many Christians not at rest? If all we had to do was to have passive faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, why then are so many Christians stressed out, worried, fearful and not at rest?
So often, we Christians make this one crucial mistake, we cherry-pick our favorite Bible verse claiming this as a promise for ourselves, ignoring the fact that every promise in the Bible has its conditions. Every promise in the Bible says, “if you do this, THEN I Yehovah will do this. But if you will not do this, Then I Yehovah will do nothing”.
So what is the condition of this promise we find in Matt 11:28?
We find the condition for the promise in Matt 11:29, where it says, “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.”
Here Yeshua (Jesus/Yehoshua) is telling us how to have rest for our souls. We have to be willing to take Jesus yoke upon us and learn from Him. So what does this mean? How do we “yoke up with Jesus”?
The Greek word for “yoke” is zygon, zygon means servitude and servitude implies the state of being a slave or entirely subject to someone more powerful.
“So the yoke of Jesus is to be subject to Him because He is more powerful than we? Is that what this means?”
Yes, He is more powerful, Yes He is God, but that is not what this verse is saying.
Let us read this verse one more time, but now lets read it with the English translation of the verse zygon:
“I am subject to My Father Yehovah, a slave to Him because He is more powerful than I, do what I do, learn from Me, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Dont get me wrong, the Bible clearly says Jesus is God (John 1), but it also says in John 5:19 Jesus could only do what Yehovah did and John 14:28 Jesus says His Father Yehovah is greater than He.
So let us read this verse one more time:
“I am subject to My Father Yehovah, a slave to Him because He is more powerful than I. Live as I live, in subjection to Yehovah, learn from Me how to do it, and you will have rest for your souls.”
What Yeshua (Jesus/Yehoshua) is saying here is the same thing as Paul says in 1. Cor 11, where he tells his readers to imitate the life of Christ, as he imitates the life of Christ. And it is the same thing as we read in 1. John 2, where John says, if we claim to be united with Yeshua, we must live as He lived.
How did Yeshua live? Yes, He did miracles, Yes He raised people from the dead, but so did a lot of other people. Yes, He went to the cross for our sins, but no one would claim we are called to go to the cross for someone else’s sins. The cross is a one-time event only Yeshua could do.
So what distinguished His life from the rest? If you are a Christian, you already know the answer. As a Christian, you believe He was the sinless lamb of God who never sinned a day in His life. In Matt 11:29, Yeshua says, “learn from Me.” What He taught His disciples to do, and how to live is what distinguishes Him from the rest. What did He tell them to do? He told them to subject themselves in servitude to Yehovah by obedience to Moses. (Matt 23:2)
So the condition for the promise of rest is to subject ourselves in servitude to Yehovah by being obedient to Moses.
99% of all of Christianity would label this as heresy and legalism, but I encourage you to read any Bible translation, you will soon see what I am saying here is correct.
So why then are so many Christians stressed out, filled with fear, worried out of their minds and not at rest? Because they have not come to Yeshua, they have not taken His yoke upon them and therefore not fulfilled the condition for the promise.
They want Yeshua as a Savior, but they dont want to learn anything from Him. They want access to heaven, but they dont want to obey anyone. They will go through their lives, believing they are Christians, but one day they will hear “Depart from Me for I never knew you, you who are without Moses” (Matt 7:21-23)
Do not be like them; take Yeshua yoke upon you today and submit yourself to Yehovah in obedience to His law, the law of Moses. If you do this, you will have learned from Yeshua, you will find rest for your soul, your faith will be able to save you (James 2:10-26), and you will be one with Yeshua (1.John 2, 1.Cor 11.)