Let’s be honest. We all are hurting in one way or another. In different ways and with different levels of intensity, we all carry burdens, difficulties, and frustrations. When asked how we’re doing, we might say, “Good!” or “Fine,” but in reality we’re all struggling with something. We might put on a smile but deep down there’s pain. That might be difficult to confess but it’s true. And Jesus said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Jesus cares about your pain. He carries about your sorrows and your anxieties. He cares about all the burdens that you carry. His heart is for the sinful and the sufferers, just like you and me. Listen to what he says in Matt 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
In this passage, Jesus addresses those who are “heavy laden.” To be “heavy laden” is to be weighed down, burdened, and troubled. Imagine in your soul you are carrying a bag of sorrows that weighs a thousand pounds. Jesus is talking about that type of experience. These sorrows “weigh you down.” You long for rest but can’t seem to find it.
Jesus addresses you in this passage. And he invites you to come to him. He invites you to give him what it is that burdens you—your sins, fears, anxieties, and troubles. He promises to give you “rest” in return. Rest means relief from your toil and striving. In other words, it refers to peace. If you give Jesus what troubles you—your guilt, shame, and fears—Jesus promises to give you peace.
When I was in middle school, I heard this wonderful maxim that summarizes what Jesus teaches in Matt 11:28: no Jesus, no peace; know Jesus, know peace. Jesus cares for you, dear friend. He wants you to give him your burdens. When you do, he will give you peace. What a friend we have in Jesus!