28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Herein is a special invitation from the Lord Jesus Christ to those who “labour and are heavy laden”. The Greek word for “labour” (kopiao) suggests “working hard to the point of fatigue”. It is also a present active participle verb, which indicates that those involved are in the process of wearing themselves out with toil. The words “heavy laden” translate a present passive participle Greek verb (phortízō), which means “being overloaded”. Together, the words “labour and are heavy laden” convey the idea of people’s weary search for relief from the crushing load of sin and guilt, together with all the problems of a sin-laden life. Many are frantically and exhaustingly wearing themselves out, trying to earn their own salvation and find lasting peace to their troubled souls.
Jesus kindly invites to Himself all who have worn themselves out to find relief for their sin-plagued lives. Recognising their utter inability to find rest for their souls, Jesus tells them that their salvation is not by their hard work but by coming to Him, the only Saviour and Restorer of their souls.
Have you been distressed and worn out by your inability to find joy and peace for yourselves? Have you been overwhelmed by your sins, foolishness, anxiety, fear? Jesus here tells you that you should no more “labour” to find rest, but to go to Him at once, acknowledging your utter inability to deliver your weary soul.
You should not remain obstinate and rebellious any longer. Do not wander from the merciful and gentle Saviour who calls out to you, “Come unto me”. Let not your pride and folly cause you to despise His gracious call any more. Let us bid adieu to our false confidence, vain pursuit of worldly glory, self-righteousness, self-justification, etc. Let us draw near to the most compassionate Lord who beckons us, so that we may be comforted and our souls find the rest that they desperately need.
Jesus promises the weary ones who would come to Him: “I will give you rest.” This is not an offer of a life of idleness or inactivity or leisure. Instead, it is the promise of divine peace and tranquillity that come through the application of His pardoning grace by His Holy Spirit, the Comforter. The spiritual rest that Jesus promises is the gift of salvation, with all its accompanying blessings that restore and rejuvenate our souls.