Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:25-30, ESV
If there was ever a season on the American calendar that boasts of rest but fails to deliver on that promise, it’s Christmas time. We all feel the pressure building as the days close in on December 25th. We all feel it don’t we? We all want some rest.
However, the rest that our Christmas carol is referring to is another kind of rest. We have anxious hearts don’t we? We seem to be constantly trying to measure up to someone else’s standard, and as we inevitably fail, we feel burdened. That burden of not measuring up to the social standard before you was closer to the context of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11. The influential religious elites were a constant burden to their fellow Jews.
Jesus’ call was to come to Him and take His teaching or “yoke” upon one’s self. Jesus’ “yoke was easy and burden light.” That must have sounded freeing. Was Jesus going to try and abolish the laws of God so that His followers could be without them? That couldn’t be further from the truth. However, Jesus was going to enable all who come to Him as Saviour to live obedient lives before God.
Most of us likely think obedience to God sound daunting. Yet, Jesus said through Him, the burden would be light, the yoke would be easy, and He was going to give our souls rest. But how? How would Jesus simultaneously give their souls rest and enable us to live in obedience to God’s law? Does obeying God’s law really correspond to my soul’s rest?
The anxious heart of every sinner is finally put at rest when they recognize Jesus obeyed the law of God on their behalf and gave Himself as a sacrifice for their sin. That is how our eternal salvation was secured by Christ for me. That truth gives rest to my soul. The Christian rest is not idle, but assured of acceptance.
Title: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
Author: Charles Wesley
1 Come, thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in thee: Israel’s Strength and Consolation, Hope of all the saints thou art; Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.
2 Born, thy people to deliver; Born a child, and yet a King! Born to reign in us for ever, Now thy precious kingdom bring: By thine own eternal Spirit, Rule in all our hearts alone; By thine all-sufficient merit, Raise us to thy glorious throne.