Matt. 11:28-29 “Come unto me . . . and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Rest for the soul was the first promise that Jesus used to win the heavy laden sinner. It looks like a simple promise, but it is as large and comprehensive as you can find anywhere. Rest for the soul implies deliverance from every fear, the supply of every need, the fulfillment of every desire. Why had the sinner not found rest, simply because he did not abide with Jesus, he did not abide in Jesus.
Have you ever noticed how in the original invitation of Jesus the promise of rest was repeated twice. First, Jesus said “come unto me . . . and I will give you rest”; the moment that you come to Jesus and believe, He will give you rest, the rest of pardon and acceptance, the rest in His love. But we know that everything He bestows need time to become fully ours, it has to be held on to and appropriated and assimilated into our being; without this, not even Jesus’ giving can make it our very own in experience and enjoyment.
So Jesus repeats His promise in words that let us know that there is more to it then what we first thought. He not only said “Come unto me,” but then He said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me”: become My students, yield yourselves to My training, submit in all things to My will, let your whole life be one with Mine, in other words, “abide in me.” Then he adds not just “I will give,” but also, “ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The rest He gave you when you first came to Him will become something you have really found and made your very own, the deeper, abiding rest that comes from longer acquaintance, and closer fellowship, from complete surrender. “Take my yoke . . . and learn of me.” “Abide in me” (John 15:4) – This is the path to abiding rest.