Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Living Ethically in the Light of the Bible
Matthew 11:20-30; Acts 16:1-15; Psalm 30; Exodus 11-12
Jesus reaches out tenderly to everyone who is worn out or weighed down (Matthew 11:28-30). Whether we carry the worries of the world, the exhaustion of illness, guilt for the past, or fear of the future, Jesus offers rest. In the immediate context, those sceptical of miracles and those considered wise and learned, will not understand Jesus’ offer. He is not providing a burdensome set of legalistic dos and don’ts, like the Pharisees did. His rest comes to those who approach Jesus like a child who comes to her mother and puts her tired head on her lap. The rest Jesus offers is the comfort and security of knowing that you are loved and cared for.
Jesus does remove all obligations. The yoke and burden remain, but they become easy and light. Neither does he take away all illnesses, challenges and difficulties. He does not answer the question, ‘Why?’, but instead addresses the question, ‘Who?’ Who will be with me as I struggle on? Who will be there for me when I can’t figure it out? Who cares for me when it seems like no one does? Who will help me? The answer is Jesus. When our hearts ache, when our minds race, when our bodies groan, Jesus is there for us. With open arms, he wants us to find a deep sense of peace in him.
When we come to Jesus, we are to learn from him. We see in his character and actions that he is humble and gentle. We also learn from him in his Word. Psalm 30 is a prayer of thanksgiving after David finds rest in God. He was ill, called for help, and was healed. He was drawing close to death, but God brought him back. God will sometimes heal our illnesses, as Jesus showed in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum (Matthew 11:21-23). But when he doesn’t, we can chose to trust in him, that he is with us in our pain and loneliness. We may feel like God has hidden his face, but we can still turn to him in faith. We can trust that a night of tears can turn to joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5). The pain may seem never-ending, but his favour is what is truly everlasting. Besides, nothing else brings real relief or lasting pleasure. Believing his Word, trusting him, and walking in his truth will bring true rest.