How Do You Spell "Relief?"
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
We love to lean on these verses when we need a break. But did you notice the context? Did you take a peek at the cross references given for these verses?
What we have here is a call to repentance. Just before Jesus said these words he warned the people of the towns where He had done the majority of his miracles (11:20) that, because they hadn’t repented as a result of being the beneficiaries of those miracles, they were in danger of judgment (11:21-24). The point of the miracles was not just to be helpful but to call people back into relationship with their God. The “blessed relief” of verses 28-30 is the relief that comes from being forgiven.
One of the cross references to Matthew 11:28-30 takes us over the John 13:15. Jesus has just washed the disciples’ feet—an illustration of the cleansing from sin that has been His message and His mission from the beginning. Then He says: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Our mission, like His, is to proclaim the “blessed relief” that comes from sins forgiven.
But it is the cross reference from the Old Testament that connects most closely with the warning to the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum in Matthew 11. This one comes from Jeremiah 6:16: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, We will not walk in it.” This message comes in the middle of a statement condemning the people and their spiritual leaders because they have not repented and turned back to the Lord.
The “blessed relief” of Matthew 11:28-30 takes us back to the cross, back to the hill where Jesus died. Everything God does is meant to take us back to the cross in repentance where necessary, and thanksgiving all the time. For at the cross, where forgiveness was bought and paid for on our behalf, we can leave our load of sin and walk away free from its burden as Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress did in John Bunyan’s famous story.
How do you spell “relief?” C-A-L-V-A-R-Y.