The meaning of Matthew 11:28 KJV, NIV & ESV
This is one of the most favourite bible verses by many. We all know that we are in the end time, and so much unpalatable news and happenings are heard and witnessed from time to time. There are a lot of imminent issues like pains, sufferings, despair, fear, anxieties and so on which we cannot find answers. At some point, some people turn to God for refuge while others go far away from Him.
We need to see God as our saviour and comforter who will always listen to us when we call on Him because He is merciful and compassionate. The one who gives strength and rest when we are exhausted by trials and temptations. He will give us perfect rest from the struggles of life so that we can forge ahead.
We must yield to His call, and come to Him and we will find rest from all the struggles. God desires to have an intimate relationship with us for His divine will and purpose to be delivered in our lives. Following Jesus does not mean we will be free from the challenges, but through that challenge, we will find rest.
Who wrote Matthew 11:28 and when was it written?
The book of Matthew 11:28 was written by Matthew, also known as Saint Matthew. He was an apostle of Jesus and a tax collector. It was believed by most authors that it was written between AD 80 and 90.
What is the context of Matthew 11?
The context of Matthew chapter 11 is about the confirmation of Jesus as the Messiah that was prophesied by John the Baptist, and the promise of rest for the wearied.
The ministry of Jesus was great but simple that so many people began to doubt if He truly was the Messiah that was to come. John the Baptist who even prophesied His coming was in doubt from prison.
Mathew 4:23 says “ And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. ”
Jesus was busy preaching and healing all manners of sicknesses and diseases. His fame went all around the cities and even John heard about him in prison.
John sent his disciples to Jesus for clarity but Jesus answered and said unto them to go and show John again those miracles which they have heard and have seen.
When the disciples of John departed, Jesus used the opportunity to explain his preparedness and coming to the people. He made it clear to the people that John the Baptist was the Prophet, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee and there is none greater than he (Mathew 11 7-11).
Nevertheless, Jesus went further to show concern for those cities where great and mighty works were performed and yet they did not repent. He said it will be easier for the destroyed cities like Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon on the judgment day than those cities He did mighty works in.
He concluded this chapter by calling unto every weary and burdened sinner to rely absolutely on Him for rest because no one comes to the Father except through him.
What is the meaning of Matthew 11:28?
Matthew 11:28 talks about the invitation to salvation for all who are tired and weary of the problems of life so they can have a good relationship with Christ. However, this command and invitation are by choice, it is up to the individual.
Moses said to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19 “ I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;” God is not a taskmaster, He is a loving father who is so intentional about you.
I know we all have a weight of temptations, guilt of sin, and heavy burden we bear which causes weariness and fatigue but Jesus is calling on you today to lay down the weighty burdens at His feet, look up to Him, and have faith in His person.
He is the only One who can heal the hurting, rescue the perishing, and deliver every soul from eternal separation from God. Although, life is full of crisis, pain, difficulties, fear, and weariness and so on but Christ is calling on you.
His arms are widely opened, He says, come and find rest for your souls in me. He wants to take away that heavy yoke and oppression from you. Come to Jesus.
What does ‘Come unto me’ mean?
‘Come unto me’ talks about a call from Jesus to those who are about to give up. It is a call to follow Jesus. He wants you so much that He gave us His life just to prove it.
The good thing is that there is no restriction or barrier to this invitation. It is an invitation to an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus. Stop rushing to other things, Jesus is saying, ‘come as you are’.
Your sins might be as scarlet or red as crimson, just come to Him (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus, who is the light of the world has come to give hope and life to all who believe in His name. He is waiting for you, accept Him today.
What does ‘All ye that labour and are heavy laden’ mean?
‘All ye that labour and are heavy laden’ means a call from Jesus to those battling through life without hope. He is calling on those who are trying to do it on their own and falling.
Man has nothing to look up to if he has no hope in Christ Jesus. Matthew 23:4 informs us that “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
The people were burdened and wearied but Jesus called them to release them from trying to work their way into God’s favour. This is the reason why they needed Jesus because they were slaves to sin.
Whenever we accept to come to Jesus, we become a new creature and we will be free from every burden of sin. Until that happens, we will still be under the law leading to bondage and struggles.
What does ‘And I will give you rest’ mean?
‘And I will give you rest’ is about a twofold promise of heartfelt peace and rest to all who simply trust, love, and obey Christ Jesus despite their situations. The greatest possession you look for is God’s rest which is similar to Peace. It is not the rest from physical exhaustion from daily work but the rest that calms, heals, and makes whole. Christ is the giver of rest, He will give you rest roundabout.
Hebrews 4:1-3 tell us “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:“So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.”
God has vow to give you rest or peace. Without His rest or peace, nothing can be achieved. You might have acquired material things but without the rest promised by Christ, there will always be a vacuum in your life.
The rest Jesus promised is yours when you believe and obey His commandments to have eternal life. When you have God’s rest, you will be calm and be able to lay down in peace without worries or anxiety.
What is the difference in biblical translations of Matthew 11:28 (NKJV, NIV & ESV)
Matthew 11:28 NKJV biblical translation says:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NIV biblical translation says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest
Matthew 11:28 ESV biblical translation says:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
There is no difference between the translations in NKJV and ESV. The difference in translations is between (NKJV and ESV) with NIV.
NKJV and ESV mentioned “all you who labor and are heavy laden,” while NIV states “all you who are weary and burdened,” NIV referred to those who labour and are heavy laden as wearied and burdened.
How does Matthew 11:28 give encouragement?
Matthew 11:28 assures believers that we are not alone. When you hand over everything to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to take charge, He will take care of the rest. There is no rest in any other than in the rest and peace Christ promised.
When you try to work out things on your own, you are only setting yourself up for frustration, depression, and setback. Jesus knows how overburdened and stressed you are, and He is drawing you into His gentle and loving presence because He wants to listen to you.
He knows you better than you understand yourself, therefore, He is offering rest for your soul. Psalm 23:2-3 reminds us that “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” God wants the best for us and so He will lead you to restful waters. Take Him by His words and turn to Him whenever you are troubled.
Jesus is inviting you to share in His greatness. When you have an intimate relationship with Jesus, you will find have inner peace and find rest for your soul. He will lift off that heavy load of sin from you.
How can I apply Matthew 11:28 to my life?
Matthew 11:28 can be applied to my life by giving up all my worries, burdens and fear to Jesus and lay all at His feet. He wants you to lean on Him and learn from Him because He cares for you. Let go of everything and let God.
For you to have inner peace and rest, you must first take the responsibility of accepting Jesus as your Lord and saviour. He is inviting you to come to Him, the burden lifter, the comforter, and our life-giver. Without Him, you can do nothing.
You have no strength nor power of your own to save or deliver yourself. Acts 4:12 mentions that “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
You must cast off all our worries to Him without a doubt in your heart, wholly and willingly. When you are weary or weighed down by the problems of life, rest on His words, believing that He is with you and will share in your pain. God is too faithful, He will never go back on His words.
Rest on the promises of His words because no one else will fulfill promises like Christ. Man may fail or go back on their words but Christ's words are forever settled.
The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 4:8 “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” Rest is found only in the Lord and not in ourselves nor the happenings in our lives or around us. Let us return to Him that we may find rest for our troubled soul.
Is there anything weighing you down? Are you faced with loneliness, bereavement, depression, or fear? These are signs that your need refreshing and rest for your soul.
Jesus is inviting you today to be the Lord over your life. He wants to help you and He will undo those burdens off your shoulders. . He is not tired of listening to you.
What is a Matthew 11:28 prayer?
Dear Father, thank you for being mindful of me and granting me an invitation to Your presence. Help me to rest in Your grace and be calm when anxieties or challenges fill my soul. Speak to my heart for there are a lot of things racing in my thought. I pray for others who may also be struggling in any area of life. Let their burdens be lightened. Fill me and others with Your peace. This I pray in Jesus' name. AMEN
We are so precious in the sight of God, hence the call to rest in Him. He is always willing, ready and, available to help us anytime we come to Him. If we surrender to Him, He will pull whatever weight is weighing us down off our shoulders. Jesus promises rest by taking off the burdens we bear because His burden is light.
You can’t do it on your own for He is the only one that can take it off completely because the heavy part is always carried by Him. Lay down your dreams, hope, future, and most especially your burdens at the feet of Jesus, and He will give you rest.