Beloved, when Jesus declared…
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)…
…He was not only referring to salvation in the end (rest is here contrasted with Pharisaical submission to Old Testament laws with submission to the authority of Jesus, the gentle Revealer to whom the OT law pointed; cf. Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’”), but also salvation in the present.
Jesus came “that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). That abundant life is not construed in terms of quantity, but quality. Jesus came that you would live a life that is unimaginably fulfilling. The idea envisions sheep that are flourishing, fattened, and contented. Psalm 63 paints the picture vividly, “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips” (vs. 5).
Jesus came not only that God’s worth would be seen, not only to satisfy God’s wrath, not only to graciously confer righteousness, but also that every redeemed saint would have joy and peace:
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:22 captures the heart of both Good Friday and Easter. There is much sorrow today as we remember that our Lord bore the wrath of God in our place. There will be much rejoicing, however, for the grave does not have the last say—Jesus does…and in His is resurrection He promises that we will see Him again and rejoice forever!
Again…that life promised there and then should also be present here and now. So how are you doing? Is your soul at rest? Do you have peace? Is your joy unshakable? Are you impervious to circumstance? Do storms become the occasion of doubt (especially of God’s goodness, greatness, or wisdom)?
Jesus promises you life now. Do you experience it daily? Is your testimony like that of David…
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
To be sure, in order to even begin to experience a quiet soul (with no barking dogs of conscience) one must surrender to King Jesus. One must flee to the cross and claim the righteousness and forgiveness of Jesus alone by faith alone. Then one must put to death everyday pride. Did you see that in Psalm 131? The peace, joy, and rest won by Jesus are yours, good Christian in Jesus—but they still must be accomplished in us by the Holy Spirit. If you would have a foretaste of glory divine in this life you must put to death a “high heart” and “exalted eyes.”
Jesus is working right now in you through the person of the Holy Spirit to give you rest, joy, and peace. That satisfaction comes as you put His yoke on you (please Him, submit to Him, become His disciple, etc.) and discipline your own soul. Part of that discipline must be like the child who has been weaned from his/her mother and thus can sit calmly in her lap (without rooting or fussing to be feed). Have you been weaned from the world to such a degree that you can be still even when without? Are you content?
Is Jesus enough? Is your soul satisfied with Jesus alone?
If so, then joy, rest, and peace will be yours both there and then AND here and now.
10,000 Blessings in the Wonderful Counselor,