Matthew 11:25-30 "He Carries Your Baggage"
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father, to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Tired. We’ve all felt that way. Just plain worn out. Tired in every way possible. Physically wiped out and no way we can do one more thing. Mentally drained and unable to think clearly. Spiritually weary. We get so tired. Tired from the stress of life. Tired from all of the worries that we face every day. Tired of trying to keep up with all of the work we need to do and all of the expectations on us. Tired of how seeing how the world treats each other. Tired. Just so very tired. We want to rest, just close the door, turn off our phones, keep away from social media, avoid the news. And just rest. But we know that the world is still out there with all of its demands, expectations, problems, and hatred. How can we really get any rest knowing that we have to face that again? All of that weight that hangs on us and pulls us down.
But we also have our own baggage that we carry around with us. Even if we could avoid the world with all of it’s stress we can’t get away from our own problems. Our bags that we pack pull of our fears, our worries, and our failures. Bags that we cram all of our guilt and shame into. We carry these bags with us everywhere we go. Sometimes we can forget that they are there for a little while, but sooner or later the weight starts tugging at us again and we are reminded. Bags that are there when we go through our day, when we go to bed at night and toss and turn because those problems keep us up. And when we wake up in the morning, those bags are still there.
This is our lives. It’s what we’re told to do. You have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and keep on going. Suck it up. Put on a happy face and hide your feelings and just keep going. This is the human condition. Or is it? What if all of that is wrong? What if that’s a lie? What if the way that the world tells us that we should deal with our problems is really just a lie that Satan tries to convince us of? And we fall for it. We focus on ourselves and the problems we have. We’re tempted to see everything as a “me versus the world” belief. But what’s missing in that equation? Do we leave room for God in that plan? Why do we carry these unbearable bags filled with suffering, pain, stress, and sin? Just because the World tells us we have to? Because our sinful nature convinces us that’s the plan?
But what does God say? Jesus says that we don’t have to carry these burdens alone. That we can’t. That we shouldn’t. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Brothers and sisters in Christ, take a moment and just let that sink in. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Are you burdened? Are you stressed? Are you worried? Do you have anxiety? Have you been crushed by the knowledge of your sins and failures? Find comfort in Jesus. He is the one who created this world and he is the one who conquered it for you. He is the one who went toe to toe with Satan and crushed him and defeated your sins. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Set down your bags. There is no reason for you to carry them! Jesus already has them. He wants you to know his love, his peace, his rest.
Look back at the journey of God’s people from Egypt to the promised land. Moses was worried. “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me.” (Exodus 33:12) Moses didn’t understand. He was worried about having to deal with all of these people and the stress of making all the decisions for them. He felt the pressure of responsibility and his own lack of ability. Imagine having to be in charge of a whole nation full of people who constantly question and doubt. How could you possibly lead them? But God replies to Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) Moses and the Israelites didn’t travel alone. God was with them. He would guide them and protect them. He would carry their burdens.
And he did, but they didn’t make it easy. Constantly doubting him and turning away from him despite all of the times he showed them his power. But God was patient and loving and he stayed with them. And he brought them to the promised land. The land filled with powerful people with massive armies and who refused to make room for Israel. How could they possibly defeat them? Through faith they put their worries and fears in God and in him they found rest: “You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.” (Joshua 23:3, 9-10) And by God’s power he gave them rest from all of their enemies. He gave them a beautiful place to live and kept them safe. He carried their burdens.
In our reading from Hebrews we hear about a different kind of rest. Not the rest after conquering a land. Not the rest of not having to wander from place to place anymore. A rest from guilt, shame, and punishment. “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:8-10) A rest that all believers have because our sins have been lifted off of us.
But God warns us that we will be tempted to look in other places for rest. The world is going to try to tell us that it will give us rest. That if we just carry our own bags and lift up our own burdens that we will find something better. Lies. Lies to pull us from the perfect peace and rest we have in God: “So be very careful to love the Lord your God.” (Joshua 23:11) The world will tempt, but it can’t give us rest.
In this life we are going to know what it is to be burdened, stressed, and concerned. But we don’t have to carry those bags. Jesus does. He tells us to come to him in prayer. To tell him all of our problems and worries. To ask him for help in our hardships. And he does. Just as he took up our sins he carries all of our struggles. We find rest in him. We find peace in his Word and know comfort from those words of Scripture. A Sabbath rest that our God knows that we need. Lay down your burdens of shame. Lay down your burdens of embarrassment over sin. Lay down your burdens of failure and inadequacy. Lay down your burdens of fears of what is to come. Lay them down because there is no reason for you to carry them. Jesus already has.
Instead take up the strength hat God gives and feel the weightless yoke of his complete forgiveness. The burden of sins forgiven. A service to our God done not out of necessity or obligation but out of desire to serve the one who saved you. A service filled with honoring God and bring him glory. When stress and problems come your way know the peace that you have with your Savior who rescued you from death. Be comforted with God’s promises that no matter what enemies we will face in this world, we can be at peace, because he will fight for us. Brothers and sisters in Christ, set down your baggage. Jesus carries it for you. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29) Amen.
The peace of God , which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.