In this verse, the word weary means "to toil" and the word burdened means "loaded up".
The people in Jesus's time and before were weary and burdened by the demands placed on them in order to keep the Sabbath holy. The Jewish leaders took the law too much to the extreme with the rules and regulations placed on the people for Sabbath keeping.
The following are examples of things that were not allowed on the Sabbath as it would be considered "work".
- plucking a gray hair was considered "harvesting"
- Taking a bath was not allowed because in the event that water was spilled outside of the tub and had to be mopped up, that would be considered "work"
When God instituted the Sabbath, He intended it to simply be a day of rest. It was a day in which one would cease his/her labor and enjoy what God has done in his/her life.
"Come to me": This is a personal invitation. It requires for us to leave one direction and head in another. One direction that we consistently seek after is worthiness. We have to accept the fact that we are NEVER going to know all the right stuff or how to do everything right. When we are seeking worthiness we get caught up in the "I shoulds...". I should do this, I should do that.....etc.... This mindset will spill over into our relationship with the Lord if we do not guard against it. We find ourselves wanting Jesus to see what we've done right rather than what we are guilty of doing wrong.
Why is this?
- Because grace is revealing. It hurts but we must seek to be authentic with the Lord. Our vulnerability is necessary to our growth.
- Because control is comfortable. We find it very hard to surrender our need to control every aspect of our lives. We feel comfort when we think we have control.
- Because busyness is blinding. When we get caught in the web of busyness, we are blinded to our deeper needs. Not only are we blinded but we blind others as well.
How do we battle against this?
- We give up our need to control when we give up our busyness. When we do this, we go to God in complete authenticity.
Brennan Manning writes that "we truly are paupers at the door of God's mercy". When we realize this nugget of truth, we can enter the Lord's presence and receive his grace afresh.
John 4:1-26, 39-41 (The story of the woman at the well....read it, it is good!)
This woman is living with the burden of hopeless unworthiness. We know this through her actions in this passage.
First, she comes in the heat of the day (vs.6-7). Her main reason for coming at such a time is to avoid social interaction. Little does she know that she is about to engage in the most life changing interaction of her life. Jesus initiates interaction with the woman by asking her for a drink. She canges the course of the discussion by trying to involve him in a discussion of what is customary (asking why a jewish man would be asking a samaritan woman for a drink). Jesus bypasses the customary ways of doing things because he had a plan that he was following. The woman continues to avoid a personal conversation with Jesus. From her example we see that we can get caught up in the practicalities of what needs to be done and miss what Jesus wants to do in our lives. He is there WAITING TO DO A MIRACLE but we often overanalyze it. The conversation between Jesus and the woman begins to become more personal as he confronts her with her reality. (asking her to go and get her husband). She responds with partial authenticity. She is not totally forthcoming with Christ but she is truthful (states that she does not have a husband). Jesus seizes this opportunity to engage the woman more. He waits until there is an open window of opportunity. As hurt humans, we often do not like to talk about personal issues. It is a comfort to us to know that our Lord and Savior respects our uncomfortableness and seeks to engage us despite it. With the woman, he seeks a window of opportunity to get to the level of intimacy that he needs in order to change her life. She is a tiny bit authentic with Christ and He fully discloses himself to her. This teaches us that when we are the least bit authentic with Jesus, he responds! He wants authenticity. As a result of her interaction with Christ, the woman is changed/transformed. She no longer isolates herself. As a matter of fact, she goes and shares the good news with those she initially hid herself away from.
Final thought: Jesus hangs in there with us....trust Him and step out in total authenticity. He will comfort you, protect you, refresh you , and satisfy you!
Jeremiah 31:25- "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."