Rest for the Weary

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

He is the rest-giver because he accomplished the task. He put his shoulders under our burdens, the burdens of our guilt and sin and condemnation. For the Father gave to him a people from before the foundation of the world, a people whose savior he was to be, their head and their redeemer, and whom he was to bring from the horrible slavery of sin and death into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

…He was able to bear these burdens even unto the accursed tree of the place of skulls, to enter with them into the dark abyss of death and hell, to toil and labor with them until he had shaken off the load of guilt and the shackles of death. First from Calvary, then soon from Joseph’s garden, he might send forth the glad tidings: It is finished!

He accomplished the task.

With him there is rest.

And the rest-giver he is, too, because he causes us, by the irresistible operations of his Spirit, to enter into his rest.

By nature we would not even seek to enter into that rest. Surely, we may seek rest, but we do not desire his rest. We seek and imagine that we possess rest in the accomplishment of our own righteousness, which is abominable to Jehovah. But he never forgets his people, never leaves them alone. He enters into their hearts and minds by the Spirit of grace. in their hearts he knows how to create unrest and worry. He reveals unto them the greatness of their sin, the abomination of their vain righteousness, their impotency to fulfill the demands of the law, their proneness to all evil, and the corruption of their heart and mind.

With unrest he fills the heart until every last basis of self-confidence is removed, until from the heart the cry is wrung, ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

When all the wisdom and prudence, all the righteousness of works, all self-conceit and self-confidence to carry our own burdens and remove them is uprooted, and the heart longs for a righteousness that is not its own but God’s, he stands forth in all the beauty of his salvation, in all the glory of his power and says, ‘Weary toiler, it is finished. The task you labor to accomplish is completed. The work is done!’

“It was done for you.’

‘Completely finished by me.’

‘I will give you rest!’

Peace for the Troubled Heart: Reformed Spirituality, Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma, Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2010, pp.49-51

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  1. […] was later reprinted in the March 15, 1987 issue of the SB. I have quoted from an earlier portion of this meditation before. Today, at the request of a friend, I post another portion of […]


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