“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

As Jesus traveled along the dusty paths and streets of Israel he met many people from many walks of life. Some, like the woman at the well who had been divorced five times and the woman caught in adultery were struggled with emotional issues, feeling the guilt, shame and embarrassment of failure.

Others had more physical issues. The blind, the lame, the leprous suffered daily in a world of pain and darkness. Socially outcast and physically in pain they lived a life of pain and misery.

Then there were those who marveled at his teaching. For their entire lives they had been held captive by a religion which offered no hope. Strict rules and empty hope were just another irrelevant part of the journey they called life. It was a religion built on guilt, shame and fear.

Then Jesus came along. He offered rest to those who struggled with relationships. Don’t think for a minute that kids didn’t rebel back then. Pornography and lust were different then, but not non-existent. Feelings of failure and desperation were just as real then as they are today in your life.

One would think that the people who saw the miracles would follow. You’d expect that every person healed and all their families would give up everything to become his disciples. Some did. Most didn’t. In fact the very people he offered rest to from their physical and emotional trials were the ones who shouted ‘Crucify Him!’

Seems outlandish doesn’t it? Then again, maybe not. Over 2000 years later we are still doing the same thing. Jesus offers us hope. He offers us emotional healing. When he doesn’t offer physical healing he offers us strength to endure the pain. But people still seek religion over relationship; rules over freedom; death (spiritually due to sin) over life.

There is no religion on earth that offers us the things that Jesus does through a relationship with him. All he asks is that he be the only source of your praise, worship and love. Friends will mislead you. Religion will use you. Only Jesus gives you rest.

The hard truth is, as in any love relationship, you can’t experience the total joy Jesus offers without total commitment. Darkness has no place with light. Sin has no place in the life of a Christ-follower. Can you be forgiven? Yes. Can you live comfortably (physically)? Sometimes. But you won’t experience the total joy and peace Jesus offers until you come to him, only him, for rest.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I confess to you that there are so many times I seek pleasure, peace and comfort from things and people rather than you. My focus shifts from the eternal to the temporal. I want, so I go after it even if I know it will hurt my relationship with you. Forgive me for my refusal to sell-out to you completely. Empower me by you Holy Spirit to live completely for you. In your name I pray, Amen.