“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11v28
The Absence of Rest
As dusk settles on our city all seems peaceful. But, under this appearance of rest, turmoil and struggle abound. From day to day, the burdens, the disappointments, and sorrows of life bear down upon us, and in the darkest hours of struggle we can feel helpless, even hopeless.
Yet, in this helplessness there is hope. There, we realise that the source of our burden is our separation from God. We begin to understand that rather than rest in our God and trust in Him, we have sought to follow our own path, to our own hurt. And there, we realise our own responsibility – that our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2).
At first, this seems to increase our helplessness. We wonder how we could ever be reconciled with God, knowing it is impossible for us to ever do enough to make things right with Him (Romans 3:10-20).
The Hope of Rest
But, in this darkest of hours hope appears, and descending into our darkness, Jesus Christ, ‘the Light of the world’ (John 9:5), invites us to find reconciliation and rest in Him. Truly, these are words of hope:
Come unto me … and I will give you rest
This rest is not the kind of temporary rest we experience in this life. Rather, it is a complete and eternal rest. A rest that knows the work of reconciliation is finished, once and for all, and this was accomplished through Jesus Christ, when God ‘made peace through the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things unto Himself’ (Colossians 1:20).
This rest has its source in God alone, yet Jesus Christ said, ‘I will give you rest’. There can be no other explanation than to understand that Jesus Christ is God – not another God, for there is only One God, the Creator, who having completed His work of creation, ‘rested on the seventh day’ (Genesis 2:2).
The Restoration of Rest
Now Jesus Christ, the author of rest, has come ‘to be the Saviour’ (1 John 4:14), the restorer of rest. He has come to ‘bare our sins in His own body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24); to make reparation for our wrongs. For God ‘hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is a real and eternal hope, for it is based in the finished work of Christ.
Now, when we come in our helplessness to Jesus Christ, and repent of our sin, He lifts us up saying, ‘Your sins are forgiven … go in peace’ (Luke 7:48,50). This forgiveness brings us to have peace with God (Romans 5:1), and as we come into His gracious presence, we come to enjoy the peace of God (Philippians 4:9). This is the rest Jesus Christ invites us to.
The Invitation to Rest
We have seen that the provision of this rest cost God a great deal. But for us, who ‘labour and are heavy laden’, this rest is free.
All our obligations have been paid in full by Jesus Christ, and all He asks of us is to come. He wants us to trust Him: to accept His provision and His promise. It is when we fully trust Him that we find fulness of rest.
‘Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls’.
Come to Jesus Christ now, and be at rest.
(source : forwardinhope.com)
A recent article reported a baby Jesus figure as having been stolen from St Annes Square nativity scene (Lancashire) – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-46599641
Is this vandalism or deliberate theft? We trust the culprit will return the baby Jesus.
I was reminded by this news article of the sad fact that so many people love to celebrate Christmas, but the Lord Jesus is absent! Whilst I’m not a lover of nativity scenes, I am all for reminding people that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Is the Lord Jesus Christ part of your life?
Do you have room for Him?
Remember, what I do with Jesus Christ in this life, He will do with me in eternity.
If I have no room for Him in life and refuse to accept Him as my Saviour, then He will have no room for me in heaven, and on account of my sin will refuse to accept me.
Wise men years ago asked after Jesus Christ was born, “Where is He?” Ask yourself the same question.
The Gospel is good news!
Good news that there is hope, salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, life, glory … for all of us. Good news that we don’t have to do anything to get it, but that God is willing to freely give it to us.
Why? Because we deserve it?
Absolutely not! We are dead in our sins, separated from God our Creator, and it’s not just a passive state. We are actively enemies in our minds by wicked works, heading to a lost eternity, without hope.
‘But God … is rich in mercy’ (Eph 2:4)
There is good news for us – the Gospel.
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Roms 6:23)
God wants to bless us with the gift of salvation – eternal life – and is able to because His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, willingly took our place under the wrath of God, was wounded for our sins, and died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
That death was on the cross, where Jesus suffered, going into the darkness and the place of separation, to cry ‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’, bear the wrath and judgement of Almighty God, and then die for our sins, to rise again the third day.
Without Jesus Christ there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.
Without the cross there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.
Therefore, the Gospel that we preach and make known can be summarised in four words.
Christ and Him Crucified
(source : forwardinhope.com)
Life’s most important questions – Is Jesus alive?
The Lord Jesus Christ is no ordinary person. I make this statement in the present tense because the Lord Jesus is not just a figure of history but he is, today, still alive in heaven. I don’t mean alive in the way we might think about a relative who has died and hope is now in heaven. As a Christian I believe people who have turned from their sin and accepted Jesus as their Saviour will be in heaven when they die but this is not my point at the moment. I mean that Jesus is alive, physically in heaven.
Your response might be – impossible and unbelievable!
The evidence points to it being statistically impossible for the historical predictions (the bible calls them prophecies) being fulfilled accurately being mere coincidence!
It was impossible to deceive so many historians and eye witnesses on a such a grand scale!
In support of this the bible clearly states: ‘these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life in his name’, John 20:31.
What do you think?