What does Matthew 11:28 mean?
ESV: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
NIV: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
NASB: Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
CSB: "Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
NLT: Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
KJV: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
NKJV: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has made an extraordinary claim and now He makes an extraordinary offer to all who hear Him. He claimed in the previous verse to be the only one who knows God the Father and to be able to reveal the Father to anyone He chooses (Matthew 11:25–27). Now He makes an invitation: if you're struggling and tired, I can give you relief.

Here is the implication. Jesus' Jewish listeners were engaged in a mighty struggle to know God the Father. Their religious leaders had placed enormous burdens on them (Matthew 23:4), and they were laboring to carry those burdens in hopes of being approved by God. Jesus has just said that He can reveal His Father to anyone, and He immediately offers rest to everyone who is weighed down.

Jesus is not talking about physical rest, necessarily. The following verse will describe it as rest for the soul. The path to the Father through Jesus is not one of weary labor and heavy work. Jesus' earlier analogy about the path to life being narrow and "difficult" (Matthew 7:14) is entirely separate, and speaking from a different perspective. From the view of the world, following Christ means taking on difficult circumstances and giving up worldly pleasures. From the view of eternity—of salvation—following Christ means giving up the impossible task of carrying our own sin.

Christ does not say it here, but the gospel will reveal that Jesus is offering to carry the burden and do the work in order to lead those who come to Him—those who are "yoked" to Him—to the Father (Matthew 11:30; John 6:29).
Verse Context:
Matthew 11:25–30 begins with Jesus' prayer of thanks to His Father for hiding the truth from those thought to be wise by the world's standards. Instead, the gospel has been revealed to those the unbelieving world dismisses as virtual children. Jesus declares that He and the Father know each other completely and that He can reveal the Father to anyone He chooses. He offers rest for the souls of all who are weighed down and weary if they will take on His yoke, saying that His burden is easy and light.
Chapter Summary:
John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask if Jesus is really the Messiah. Jesus gives them a specific answer to use to reassure John and then upholds John to the crowds. John fulfills the prophecy about the one who would prepare the people for the Messiah. This generation, though, refused to hear John or Jesus, deciding John had a demon and Jesus was a glutton and drunkard. Jesus condemns the cities that refuse to repent and thanks the Father for revealing the truth to little children. He offers rest for those who are weary and burdened.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 11 follows Jesus' instructions to the apostles about taking His message and miracles to the towns of Israel with His own continued ministry of teaching (Matthew 10). Jesus answers a question from John the Baptist's followers, and upholds John's ministry. Jesus condemns several cities in Galilee for rejecting His teaching, despite obvious signs. He thanks His Father for hiding the truth from those who arrogantly think they are wise. He offers rest for those who will take His yoke. This leads to further confrontations with critics, recorded in chapter 12.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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