“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… you will find rest for your souls.”Matthew 11:28, 29b
If you’ve ever travelled with kids, you know that you’re always scanning the horizon for the nearest rest stop. For kids, it’s a chance to run around and let out some energy. For the weary driver, it’s a chance to close your eyes for a moment or stretch out your legs. But the rest doesn’t last. No sooner are you back on the road than the kids are fidgety and your weary body is crying for a rest stop again.
Sin wears on us like that. When our consciences are burdened, all we can think to do is try harder to be better. Martin Luther put forth every effort to be a devvoted Augustinian monk. He is remembered as saying that if ever someone would enter heaven by being a good monk, he would be the one! But later he realized the beauty of Jesus’ offer of rest. He said religious exercises could never give peace of conscience, that “it is impossible to gain peace of conscience by the methods and means of the world. Experience proves this.”
As we travel along life’s journey, we see that only the grace of Christ gives us true and lasting rest.
“We find no rest for our weary bones unless we cling to the word of grace.” (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, 1535)