“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
Jesusâ€™ words here speak to me because I often seem to struggle to find spiritual rest within my soul. This timeless verse reveals so much of its meaning in the original language.
â€œ…all ye that labor and are heavy ladenâ€
The term â€œheavy ladenâ€ comes from the Greek word â€œphortizoâ€ which means â€œto load upâ€ or â€œto overburdenâ€. It carries the idea of pouring more into a cup than it can hold or overloading a car or animal with more than it can carry. This is literally what Godâ€™s law does to us. It places a load upon us that we can never carry. This becomes the cause for great spiritual anxiety and unrest until we recognize that Jesus carried the load both of Godâ€™s law and our sin to Calvary. He has fulfilled everything that God has asked of us and offers peace and rest to all who come to Him!
â€œ…and I will give you restâ€
The Greek word for refresh is transliterated â€œanapanoâ€, meaning â€œto repose or to refreshâ€. It stems from two words, the first being â€œanaâ€ meaning â€œupâ€ or â€œatâ€ and the second being â€œpauoâ€, a primary verb that means â€œto stop, restrain, quit, or come to an end.â€ Coming to Jesus for rest simply means that we stop all of our religious striving and fall upon His grace in total dependence. Through the eyes of faith, we must recognize that His redemptive work is the only payment that could truly make us right with God. Jesus brings all of our self-righteous efforts to an end, causing us to live Godly lives out of gratitude rather than religious obligation. When I donâ€™t have the rest that Jesus offers it is because I am relying on my own failing attempts to make me holy.