Matthew 11:28
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
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(28) Come unto me.—As in the consciousness of this plenitude of power, the Son of Man turns with infinite compassion to those whose weakness and weariness He has shared, and offers them the rest which none other can give them.

Labour and are heavy laden.—The words arc wide enough to cover every form of human sin and sorrow, but the thought that was most prominent in them at the time was that of the burdens grievous to be borne, the yoke of traditions and ordinances which the Pharisees and scribes had imposed on the consciences of men. (Comp. Matthew 23:4, Acts 15:10.) The first of the two words gives prominence to the active, the latter to the passive, aspect of human suffering, by whatever cause produced.

I will give you rest.—The I is emphasized in the Greek. He gives what no one else can give—rest from the burden of sin, from the weariness of fruitless toil.



Matthew 11:28 - Matthew 11:29

One does not know whether tenderness or majesty is predominant in these wonderful words. A divine penetration into man’s true condition, and a divine pity, are expressed in them. Jesus looks with clearsighted compassion into the inmost history of all hearts, and sees the toil and the sorrow which weigh on every soul. And no less remarkable is the divine consciousness of power, to succour and to help, which speaks in them. Think of a Jewish peasant of thirty years old, opening his arms to embrace the world, and saying to all men, ‘Come and rest on My breast.’ Think of a man supposing himself to be possessed of a charm which could soothe all sorrow and lift the weight from every heart.

A great sculptor has composed a group where there diverge from the central figure on either side, in two long lines, types of all the cruel varieties of human pains and pangs; and in the midst stands, calm, pure, with the consciousness of power and love in His looks, and with outstretched hands, as if beckoning invitation and dropping benediction, Christ the Consoler. The artist has but embodied the claim which the Master makes for Himself here. No less remarkable is His own picture of Himself, as ‘meek and lowly in heart.’ Did ever anybody before say, ‘I am humble,’ without provoking the comment, ‘He that says he is humble proves that he is not’? But Jesus Christ said it, and the world has allowed the claim; and has answered, ‘Though Thou bearest record of Thyself, Thy record is true.’

But my object now is not so much to deal with the revelation of our Lord contained in these marvellous words, as to try, as well as I can, to re-echo, however faintly, the invitation that sounds in them. There is a very striking reduplication running through them which is often passed unnoticed. I shall shape my remarks so as to bring out that feature of the text, asking you to look first with me at the twofold designation of the persons addressed; next at the twofold invitation; and last at the twofold promise of rest.

I. Consider then the twofold designation here of the persons addressed, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.’

The one word expresses effort and toil, the other a burden and endurance. The one speaks of the active, the other of the passive, side of human misery and evil. Toil is work which is distasteful in itself, or which is beyond our faculties. Such toil, sometime or other, more or less, sooner or later, is the lot of every man. All work becomes labour, and all labour, sometime or other, becomes toil. The text is, first of all, and in its most simple and surface meaning, an invitation to all the men who know how ceaseless, how wearying, how empty the effort and energy of life is, to come to this Master and rest.

You remember those bitter words of the Book of Ecclesiastes, where the preacher sets forth a circle of labour that only comes back to the point where it began, as being the law for nature and the law for man. And truly much of our work seems to be no better than that. We are like squirrels in a cage, putting forth immense muscular effort, and nothing to show for it after all. ‘All is vanity, and striving after wind.’

Toil is a curse; work is a blessing. But all our work darkens into toil; and the invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour,’ reaches to the very utmost verge of the world and includes every soul.

And then, in like manner, the other side of human experience is set forth in that other word. For most men have not only to work, but to bear; not only to toil, but to sorrow. There are efforts that need to be put forth, which task all our energy, and leave the muscles flaccid and feeble. And many of us have, at one and the same moment, to work and to weep, to toil whilst our hearts are beating like a forge-hammer; to labour whilst memories and thoughts that might enfeeble any worker, are busy with us. A burden of sorrow, as well as effort and toil, is, sooner or later, the lot of all men.

But that is only surface. The twofold designation here before us goes a great deal deeper than that. It points to two relationships to God and to God’s law of righteousness. Men labour with vague and yet with noble effort, sometimes, to do the thing that is right, and after all efforts there is left a burden of conscious defect. In the purest and the highest lives there come both of these things. And Jesus Christ, in this merciful invitation of His, speaks to all the men that have tried, and tried in vain, to satisfy their consciences and to obey the law of God, and says to them, ‘Cease your efforts, and no longer carry that burden of failure and of sin upon your shoulders. Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.’

I should be sorry to think that I was speaking to any man or woman who had not, more or less, tried to do what is right. You have laboured at that effort with more or less of consistency, with more or less of earnestness. Have you not found that you could not achieve it?

I am sure that I am speaking to no man or woman who has not upon his or her conscience a great weight of neglected duties, of actual transgressions, of mean thoughts, of foul words and passions, of deeds that they would be ashamed that any should see; ashamed that their dearest should catch a glimpse of. My friend, universal sinfulness is no mere black dogma of a narrow Calvinism; it is no uncharitable indictment against the race; it is simply putting into definite words the consciousness that is in every one of your hearts. You know that, whether you like to think about it or not, you have broken God’s law, and are a sinful man. You carry a burden on your back whether you realise the fact or no, a burden that clogs all your efforts, and that will sink you deeper into the darkness and the mire. ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour,’ and with noble, but, at bottom, vain, efforts have striven after right and truth. ‘Come unto Me all ye that are burdened,’ and bear, sometimes forgetting it, but often reminded of its pressure by galled shoulders and wearied limbs, the burden of sin on your bent backs.

This invitation includes the whole race. In it, as in a blank form, you may each insert your name. Jesus Christ speaks to thee, John, Thomas, Mary, Peter, whatever thy name may be, as distinctly as if you saw your name written on the pages of your New Testament, when He says to you, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.’ For the ‘all’ is but the sum of the units; and I, and thou, and thou, have our place within the word.

II. Now, secondly, look at the twofold invitation that is here.

‘Come unto Me . . . Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.’ These two things are not the same. ‘Coming unto Me,’ as is quite plain to the most superficial observation, is the first step in the approach to a companionship, which companionship is afterwards perfected and kept up by obedience and imitation. The ‘coming’ is an initial act which makes a man Christ’s companion. And the ‘Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me,’ is the continuous act by which that companionship is manifested and preserved. So that in these words, which come so familiarly to most of our memories that they have almost ceased to present a sharp meaning, there is not only a merciful summons to the initial act, but a description of the continual life of which that act is the introduction.

And now, to put that into simpler words, when Jesus Christ says ‘Come unto Me,’ He Himself has taught us what is His inmost meaning in that invitation, by another word of His: ‘He that cometh unto Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst’; where the parallelism of the clauses teaches us that to come to Christ is simply to put our trust in Him. There is in faith a true movement of the whole soul towards the Master. I think that this metaphor teaches us a great deal more about that faith that we are always talking about in the pulpit, and which, I am afraid, many of our congregations do not very distinctly understand, than many a book of theology does. To ‘come to Him’ implies, distinctly, that He, and no mere theological dogma, however precious and clear, is the Object on which faith rests.

And, therefore, if Christ, and not merely a doctrinal truth about Christ, be the Object of our faith, then it is very clear that faith, which grasps a Person, must be something more than the mere act of the understanding which assents to a truth. And what more is it? How is it possible for one person to lay hold of and to come to another? By trust and love, and by these alone. These be the bonds that bind men together. Mere intellectual consent may be sufficient to fasten a man to a dogma, but there must be will and heart at work to bind a man to a person; and if it be Christ and not a theology, to which we come by our faith, then it must be with something more than our brains that we grasp Him and draw near to Him. That is to say, your will is engaged in your confidence. Trust Him as you trust one another, only with the difference befitting a trust directed to an absolute and perfect object of trust, and not to a poor, variable human heart. Trust Him as you trust one another. Then, just as husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend, pass through all intervening hindrances and come together when they trust and love, so you come closer to Christ as the very soul of your soul by an inward real union, than you do even to your dear ones, if you grapple Him to your heart with the hoops of steel, which, by simple trust in Him, the Divine Redeemer forges for us. ‘Come unto Me,’ being translated out of metaphor into fact, is simply ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’

And still further, we have here, not only the initial act by which companionship and union with Jesus Christ is brought about, but the continual course by which it is kept up, and by which it is manifested. The faith which saves a man’s soul is not all which is required for a Christian life. ‘Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.’ The yoke is that which, laid on the broad forehead or the thick neck of the ox, has attached to it the cords which are bound to the burden that the animal draws. The burden, then, which Christ gives to His servants to pull, is a metaphor for the specific duties which He enjoins upon them to perform; and the yoke by which they are fastened to their burdens, ‘obliged’ to their duties, is His authority, So to ‘take His yoke’ upon us is to submit our wills to His authority. Therefore this further call is addressed to all those who have come to Him, feeling their weakness and their need and their sinfulness, and have found in Him a Saviour who has made them restful and glad; and it bids them live in the deepest submission of will to Him, in joyful obedience, in constant service; and, above all, in the daily imitation of the Master.

You must put both these commandments together before you get Christ’s will for His children completely expressed. There are some of you who think that Christianity is only a means by which you may escape the penalty of your sins; and you are ready enough, or fancy yourselves so, to listen when He says, ‘Come to Me that you may be pardoned,’ but you are not so ready to listen to what He says afterwards, when He calls upon you to take His yoke upon you, to obey Him, to serve Him, and above all to copy Him. And I beseech you to remember that if you go and part these two halves from one another, as many people do, some of them bearing away the one half and some the other, you have got a maimed Gospel; in the one case a foundation without a building, and in the other case a building without a foundation. The people who say that Christ’s call to the world is ‘Come unto Me,’ and whose Christianity and whose Gospel is only a proclamation of indulgence and pardon for past sin, have laid hold of half of the truth. The people who say that Christ’s call is ‘Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me,’ and that Christianity is a proclamation of the duty of pure living after the pattern of Jesus Christ our great Example, have laid hold of the other half of the truth. And both halves bleed themselves away and die, being torn asunder; put them together, and each has power.

That separation is one reason why so many Christian men and women are such poor Christians as they are-having so little real religion, and consequently so little real joy. I could lay my fingers upon many men, professing Christians-I do not say whether in this church or in other churches-whose whole life shows that they do not understand that Jesus Christ has a twofold summons to His servants; and that it is of no avail once, long ago, to have come, or to think that you have come, to Him to get pardon, unless day by day you are keeping beside Him, doing His commandments, and copying His sweet and blessed example.

III. And now, lastly, look at the twofold promise which is here.

I do not know if there is any importance to be attached to the slight diversity of language in the two verses, so as that in the one case the promise runs, ‘I will give you rest,’ and in the other, ‘Ye shall find rest.’ That sounds as if the rest that was contingent upon the first of the invitations was in a certain and more direct and exclusive fashion Christ’s gift than the rest which was contingent upon the second. It may be so, but I attach no importance to that criticism; only I would have you observe that our Lord distinctly separates here between the rest of ‘coming,’ and the rest of wearing His ‘yoke.’ These two, howsoever they may be like each other, are still not the same. The one is the perfecting and the prolongation, no doubt, of the other, but has likewise in it some other, I say not more blessed, elements. Dear brethren, here are two precious things held out and offered to us all. There is rest in coming to Christ; the rest of a quiet conscience which gnaws no more; the rest of a conscious friendship and union with God, in whom alone are our soul’s home, harbour, and repose; the rest of fears dispelled; the rest of forgiveness received into the heart. Do you want that? Go to Christ, and as soon as you go to Him you will get that rest.

There is rest in faith. The very act of confidence is repose. Look how that little child goes to sleep in its mother’s lap, secure from harm because it trusts. And, oh! if there steal over our hearts such a sweet relaxation of the tension of anxiety when there is some dear one on whom we can cast all responsibility, how much more may we be delivered from all disquieting fears by the exercise of quiet confidence in the infinite love and power of our Brother Redeemer, Christ! He will be ‘a covert from the storm, and a refuge from the tempest’; as ‘rivers of water in a dry place, and the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.’ If we come to Him, the very act of coming brings repose.

But, brethren, that is not enough, and, blessed be God! that is not all. There is a further, deeper rest in obedience, and emphatically and most blessedly there is a rest in Christ-likeness. ‘Take My yoke upon you.’ There is repose in saying ‘Thou art my Master, and to Thee I bow.’ You are delivered from the unrest of self-will, from the unrest of contending desires, you get rid of the weight of too much liberty. There is peace in submission; peace in abdicating the control of my own being; peace in saying, ‘Take Thou the reins, and do Thou rule and guide me.’ There is peace in surrender and in taking His yoke upon us.

And most especially the path of rest for men is in treading in Christ’s footsteps. ‘Learn of Me,’ it is the secret of tranquillity. We have done with passionate hot desires,-and it is these that breed all the disquiet in our lives-when we take the meekness and the lowliness of the Master for our pattern. The river will no longer roll, broken by many a boulder, and chafed into foam over many a fall, but will flow with even foot, and broad, smooth bosom, to the parent sea.

There is quietness in self-sacrifice, there is tranquillity in ceasing from mine own works and growing like the Master.

‘The Cross is strength; the solemn Cross is gain.

The Cross is Jesus’ breast,

Here giveth He the rest,

That to His best beloved doth still remain.’

‘Take up thy cross daily,’ and thou enterest into His rest.

My brother, ‘the wicked is like the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.’ But you, if you come to Christ, and if you cleave to Christ, may be like that ‘sea of glass, mingled with fire,’ that lies pure, transparent, waveless before the Throne of God, over which no tempests rave, and which, in its deepest depths, mirrors the majesty of ‘Him that sitteth upon the Throne, and of the Lamb.’

Matthew 11:28. Come unto me — Our Lord here shows to whom he is pleased to reveal the Father, and the things said above to be hid from the wise and prudent; to those that labour, or, are weary, as κοπιωντες may be rendered, and are heavy laden; namely, those that are weary of the slavery of sin and Satan, and of the love of the world and the pursuit of its vanities, and desire and labour after a state of reconciliation and peace with God, and rest in him; and who, till they enjoy these blessings, are heavy laden with a sense of the guilt and power of their sins, and of the displeasure of God due to them on account thereof. To these, and also to such as are burdened with the distresses of life and various trials, Jesus graciously says, Come unto me — The original word, Δευτε, come, expresses not so much a command, as a friendly request; a familiar exhorting, desiring, and begging a person to do any thing, particularly what is pleasant, and would be profitable to him if done. To come to Christ, is to apply to him in faith and prayer for such blessings as we see we want. And I — I alone, (for no one else can,) will give you freely, (what you cannot purchase,) rest, namely, from the guilt of sin by justification, and from the power of sin by sanctification; rest, from a sense of the wrath of God and an accusing conscience, in peace with God and peace of mind; rest, from all carnal affections, and fruitless worldly cares, disquietudes, and labours, in the love of God shed abroad in your hearts; and rest in the midst of the afflictions, trials, and troubles of life, in a full assurance that all things shall work for your good, and that, though in the world you may have tribulation, in me you shall have peace. Some commentators, by the rest offered in this invitation, understand that freedom from the burdensome services of the law which Christ has granted to men through the promulgation of the gospel. And it must be owned that this interpretation is favoured by the subsequent clause, in which men are invited to take on them Christ’s yoke and burden, from the consideration that they are light and easy, namely, in comparison of Moses’s yoke. There is no reason, however, for confining the rest of the soul here offered to that particular privilege of Christianity. It is more natural to think that it comprehends therewith all the blessings of the gospel whatsoever. Christianity, when embraced in faith and love, and possessed in the life and power of it, gives rest to the soul, because, 1st, it clearly informs the judgment concerning the most important points, removing all doubts concerning them; 2d, it settles the will in the choice of what is for its happiness; 3d, it controls and regulates the passions, and keeps them under subjection to the peace and love of God. Php 4:7; Colossians 3:14-15. See Dodd’s sermon on this text.

11:25-30 It becomes children to be grateful. When we come to God as a Father, we must remember that he is Lord of heaven and earth, which obliges us to come to him with reverence as to the sovereign Lord of all; yet with confidence, as one able to defend us from evil, and to supply us with all good. Our blessed Lord added a remarkable declaration, that the Father had delivered into his hands all power, authority, and judgment. We are indebted to Christ for all the revelation we have of God the Father's will and love, ever since Adam sinned. Our Saviour has invited all that labour and are heavy-laden, to come unto him. In some senses all men are so. Worldly men burden themselves with fruitless cares for wealth and honours; the gay and the sensual labour in pursuit of pleasures; the slave of Satan and his own lusts, is the merest drudge on earth. Those who labour to establish their own righteousness also labour in vain. The convinced sinner is heavy-laden with guilt and terror; and the tempted and afflicted believer has labours and burdens. Christ invites all to come to him for rest to their souls. He alone gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they seek him in fervent prayer. Thus it is the duty and interest of weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ. This is the gospel call; Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority. They must learn of him all things, as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest for our souls, and here only. Nor need we fear his yoke. His commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial, and exposes to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. The way of duty is the way of rest. The truths Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. Such is the Redeemer's mercy; and why should the labouring and burdened sinner seek for rest from any other quarter? Let us come to him daily, for deliverance from wrath and guilt, from sin and Satan, from all our cares, fears, and sorrows. But forced obedience, far from being easy and light, is a heavy burden. In vain do we draw near to Jesus with our lips, while the heart is far from him. Then come to Jesus to find rest for your souls.All ye that labour and are heavy laden - The Saviour here, perhaps, refers primarily to the Jews, who groaned under the weight of their ceremonial laws and the traditions of the elders, Acts 15:10. He tells them that by coming to him, and embracing the new system of religion, they would be freed from these burdensome rites and ceremonies. There can be no doubt, however, that he meant here chiefly to address the poor, lost, ruined sinner: the man "burdened" with a consciousness of his transgressions, trembling at his danger, and seeking deliverance. For such there is relief. Christ tells them to come to him, to believe in him, and to trust him, and him only, for salvation. Doing this, he will give them rest - rest from their sins, from the alarms of conscience, from the terrors of the law, and from the fears of eternal death. 28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest—Incomparable, ravishing sounds these—if ever such were heard in this weary, groaning world! What gentleness, what sweetness is there in the very style of the invitation—"Hither to Me"; and in the words, "All ye that toil and are burdened," the universal wretchedness of man is depicted, on both its sides—the active and the passive forms of it. See Poole on "Matthew 11:30".

Come unto me,.... Christ having signified, that the knowledge of God, and the mysteries of grace, are only to be come at through him; and that he has all things relating to the peace, comfort, happiness, and salvation of men in his hands, kindly invites and encourages souls to come unto him for the same: by which is meant, not a local coming, or a coming to hear him preach; for so his hearers, to whom he more immediately directed his speech, were come already; and many of them did, as multitudes may, and do, in this sense, come to Christ, who never knew him, nor receive any spiritual benefit by him: nor is it a bare coming under the ordinances of Christ, submission to baptism, or an attendance at the Lord's supper, the latter of which was not yet instituted; and both may be performed by men, who are not yet come to Christ: but it is to be understood of believing in Christ, the going of the soul to him, in the exercise of grace on him, of desire after him, love to him, faith and hope in him: believing in Christ, and coming to him, are terms synonymous, John 6:35. Those who come to Christ aright, come as sinners, to a full, suitable, able, and willing Saviour; venture their souls upon him, and trust in him for righteousness, life, and salvation, which they are encouraged to do, by this kind invitation; which shows his willingness to save, and his readiness to give relief to distressed minds. The persons invited, are not "all" the individuals of mankind, but with a restriction,

all ye that labour, and are heavy laden; meaning, not these who are labouring in the service of sin and Satan, are laden with iniquity, and insensible of it: these are not weary of sin, nor burdened with it; not do they want or desire any rest for their souls; but such who groan, being burdened with the guilt of sin upon their consciences, and are pressed down with the unsupportable yoke of the law, and the load of human traditions; and have been labouring till they are weary, in order to obtain peace of conscience, and rest for their souls, by the observance of these things, but in vain. These are encouraged to come to him, lay down their burdens at his feet, look to, and lay hold by faith on his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; when they should enjoy that true spiritual consolation, which could never be attained to by the works of the law.

And I will give you rest; spiritual rest here, peace of conscience, ease of mind, tranquillity of soul, through an application of pardoning grace, a view of free justification by the righteousness of Christ, and full atonement of sin by his sacrifice; and eternal rest hereafter, in Abraham's bosom, in the arms of Jesus, in perfect and uninterrupted communion with Father, Son, and Spirit. The Jews say (y), that , "the law is rest"; and so explain Genesis 49:15 of it: but a truly sensible sinner enjoys no rest, but in Christ; it is like Noah's dove, which could find no rest for the soles of its feet, until it returned to the ark; and they themselves expect perfect rest in the days of the Messiah, and call his world rest (z).

(y) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 39. 3.((z) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 150. 2.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28. Πάντες] gratia universalis. “In this all thou oughtest to include thyself as well, and not suppose that thou dost not belong to the number; thou shouldst not seek for another register of God,” Melanchthon.

κοπ. καί πεφορτ.] through the legal and Pharisaic ordinances under which the man is exhausted and weighed down as with a heavy burden, without getting rid of the painful consciousness of sin, Matthew 23:4. Comp. Acts 15:10; Acts 13:39.

κἀγώ] emphatic: and I, what your teachers and guides cannot do.

ἀναπαύσω] I will procure you rest, i.e. ἐλευθερώσω καὶ τοῦ τοιούτου κόπου καὶ τοῦ τοιούτου βάρους (Euth. Zigabenus), so as to secure the true peace of your souls, John 14:27; John 16:33; Romans 5:1. Matthew 11:29 tells in what way.

Matthew 11:28-30. The gracious invitation. Full of O. T. reminiscences, remarks Holtz., H.C., citing Isaiah 14:3; Isaiah 28:12; Isaiah 55:1-3; Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 31:2; Jeremiah 31:25, and especially Sir 6:24-25; Sir 6:28-29; Sir 51:23-27. De Wette had long before referred to the last-mentioned passage, and Pfleiderer has recently (Urch., 513) made it the basis of the assertion that this beautiful logion is a composition out of Sirach by the evangelist. The passage in Sirach is as follows: ἐγγίσατε πρὸς μὲ ἀπαίδευτοι, καὶ αὐλίσθητε ἐν οἴκῳ παιδείας. διότι ὑστερεῖτε ἐν τούτοις, καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ ὑμῶν διψῶσι σφόδρα; ἤνοιξα τὸ στόμα μου, καὶ ἐλάλησα, κτήσασθε ἑαυτοῖς ἄνευ ἀργυρίου. τὸν τράχηλον ὑμῶν ὑπόθετε ὑπὸ ζυγὸν, καὶ ἐπιδεξάσθω ἡ ψυχὴ ὑμῶν παιδείαν· ἐγγύς ἐστιν εὑρεῖν αὐτήν· ἴδετε ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ὑμῶν ὅτι ὀλίγον ἐκοπίασα, καὶ εὗρον ἐμαυτῷ πολλὴν ἀνάπαυσιν.[72] There are unquestionably kindred thoughts and corresponding phrases, as even Kypke points out (“Syracides magna similitudine dicit”), and if Sirach had been a recognised Hebrew prophet one could have imagined Matthew giving the gist of this rhetorical passage, prefaced with an “as it is written”. It is not even inconceivable that a reader of our Gospel at an early period noted on the margin phrases culled from Sirach as descriptive of the attitude of the one true σοφός towards men to show how willing he was to communicate the knowledge of the Father-God, and that his notes found their way into the text. But why doubt the genuineness of this logion? It seems the natural conclusion of Christ’s soliloquy; expressing His intense yearning for receptive scholars at a time when He was painfully conscious of the prevalent unreceptivity. The words do not smell of the lamp. They come straight from a saddened yet tenderly affectionate, unembittered heart; simple, pathetic, sincere. He may have known Sirach from boyhood, and echoes may have unconsciously suggested themselves, and been used with royal freedom quite compatibly with perfect originality of thought and phrase. The reference to wisdom in Matthew 11:19 makes the supposition not gratuitous that Jesus may even have had the passage in Sirach consciously present to His mind, and that He used it, half as a quotation, half as a personal manifesto. The passage is the end of a prayer of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, in which that earlier Jesus, personating wisdom, addresses his fellowmen, inviting them to share the benefits which σοφία has conferred on himself. Why should not Jesus of Nazareth close His prayer with a similar address in the name of wisdom to those who are most likely to become her children—those whose ear sorrow hath opened? This view might meet Martineau’s objection to regarding this logion as authentic, that it is not compatible with the humility of Jesus that He should so speak of Himself (Seat of Authority, p. 583). Why should He not do as another Jesus had done before Him: speak in the name of wisdom, and appropriate her attributes?

[72] Of the above the R. V. gives the following translation: “Draw near unto me, ye unlearned, and lodge in the house of in struction. Say wherefore are ye lacking in these things, and your souls are very thirsty? I opened my mouth and spake. Get her for yourselves without money. Put your neck under the yoke, and let your soul receive instruction. She is hard at hand to find. Behold with your eyes how that I laboured but a little, and found for myself much rest.”

28. Come unto me] Jesus does not give rest to all the heavy laden, but to those of them who show their want of relief by coming to Him.

28–30. Rest for the heavy laden

These words of Jesus are preserved by St Matthew only. The connecting thought is, those alone shall know who desire to learn, those alone shall have rest who feel their burden. The babes are those who feel ignorant, the laden those who feel oppressed.

Matthew 11:28. Δεῦτε, come ye) sc. immediately.—See Gnomon on ch. Matthew 4:19.—πρός Με, unto Me) Since the Pharisees, and even John himself, cannot satisfy you.—πάντες, all) Let not the limitation in Matthew 11:27 deter you.—οἱ κοπιῶντες, that labour) Refer to this ζυγὸν and ζυγὸς, yoke, in Matthew 11:29-30.—πεφορτισμένοι, heavy laden) To this should be referred μάθετε, learn, in Matthew 11:29, and φορτίον, burden, in Matthew 11:30. The Hebrew משא signifies a burden, i.e., doctrine, discipline.—κᾀγὼ, and I) Though you have sought elsewhere in vain, you will find it with Me, Matthew 11:29.—ἀναπαύσω, I will make you rest) This is explained in the next verse.—ὄτι, κ.τ.λ., because, etc.) “I will make you rest,” and “ye shall find rest,” are correlative.

Verses 28-30. - In Matthew only. Ver. 28: An invitation to all who need him, and an unconditioned promise of welcome. Ver. 29: A summons to submit to his teaching, and a promise that those who do so shall find rest in it. Ver. 30: For his "service is perfect freedom." Notice the sharp contrast between the width of this invitation and the apparent limitation of the preceding statement (ver. 27). The truths of prevenient grace and man's free-will may not be separated. Verse 28. - Come (δεῦτε); Matthew 4:19, note. There is less thought of the process of coming than in the very similar invitation in John 7:37. Unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden. The toilers and burdened (οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι). Our Lord purposely did not define in what the toil and burden consisted; for he would include all, from whatever quarter their toil and burden came. But since the spiritual is the central part of man (Matthew 5:3, note), the more that the toil or burden is felt there so much the stronger would our Lord's reference to it be. He would therefore be inviting most especially those that toil in legal ways of righteousness (Romans 10:2, 3), and are burdened under Pharisaic enactments (Luke 11:46). And I. Emphatic (κἀγώ). However others may treat you. Will give you rest (a)napau/sw u(ma = ). Not to be identified with the phrase in ver. 29 (see there). As contrasted with παύω (see Bishop Lightfoot, on Philemon 1:7 and on Ignat., 'Ephesians,' § 2), ἀναπαύω refers to temporary rather than permanent cessation from work, and it thus especially connotes refreshment of body and soul obtained through such rest. In confortuity with this we find ἀνάπαυσις regularly used in the LXX. as a translation of sabbathon ("sabbath-keeping," e.g. Exodus 16:23, for which σαββατισμός comes in Hebrews 4:9 as an equivalent). The thought, therefore, here is not that those who come to Christ will have no more work, but that Christ will give them at once such rest and refreshment of soul that they may be fit for work, should God have any in store for them. Matthew 11:28Labor and are heavy-laden (κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι)

The first an active, the second a passive participle, exhibiting the active and passive sides of human misery.

Give rest (ἀναπαύσω)

Originally to make to cease; Tynd., ease; Wyc., refresh. The radical conception is that of relief.

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