“‘All who are weary and heavy-laden’” (Matthew 11:28).
Everyone whom Jesus specially invites for salvation already realizes their distress, that they are “weary and heavy-laden.” The Lord mentions this after He refers to faith (“come to Me”), but chronologically it precedes faith—it is the repentance that prompts the person to trust in Jesus for salvation.
“Weary” refers symbolically to strenuous work in trying to find the divine path to salvation. Christ invites all to come to Him who have exhausted themselves in searching for salvation by their own resources. Whereas “weary” denotes internal exhaustion, “heavy-laden” implies that past heavy burdens dumped on the person caused him or her to engage in the futility of works righteousness to please God.
Any person in the condition Jesus describes despairs of his or her own ability to obtain salvation. They will realize the end of their own resources and want to turn to the Savior. The desperation implicit here is part of genuine salvation. Those not desperate will continue to rely on their own confidence, but those who are spiritually desperate will repent of the old burdensome life of sin and embrace the true redemption Christ offers. Such persons are the only ones God receives into His kingdom (cf. Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Acts 2:38; 2 Tim. 2:25).
What are the most common causes for that “weary and heavy-laden” feeling in our world today? Why are Jesus’ ways of dealing with these problems infinitely superior to any other so-called solution?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008.