“Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden–and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“I will give you rest.” What a claim to make! To impart rest of soul to another lies beyond the power of the most exalted creature. Neither Confucius, Buddha, nor Mohammed ever made such a claim as this!
As Christ is the only One who can bestow rest of soul, so there is no true rest to be found apart from Him. The creature cannot impart it. The world cannot communicate it. We ourselves cannot, by any efforts of our own, manufacture it. One of the most pathetic sights in the world is to behold the unregenerate, vainly seeking happiness and contentment in the things of time and sense and finding that these are all broken cisterns which can hold no water. They are like the poor woman mentioned in Mark 5:26, who “had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better–she grew worse!”
What is the nature of this “rest” which Christ gives to all who truly come to Him? It is a spiritual rest, a satisfying rest, “rest for the soul” as the Savior declares later in this passage. It is such a rest as this world can neither give nor take away.
It is a rest from that vain and wearisome quest, which engages and absorbs the sinner, before the Spirit of God opens his eyes to see his folly and moves him to seek after the true riches. It is indeed pitiful to behold those who are made for eternity wasting their time and energies wandering from object to object, searching for that which cannot satisfy them, only to be vexed by repeated and incessant disappointments. And thus it is with all until they come to Christ, for He has written over all the pursuits and pleasures of this world, “Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again!” (John 4:13)
Forcibly was that fact exemplified by the case of Solomon, who was provided with everything which the carnal heart could desire, and who gratified his lusts to the full, only to find that, “Behold, all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind!” (Eccl. 1:14). It is from this vexation of spirit, that Christ delivers His people, for He declares “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him–shall never thirst!” (John 4:14)
– A. W. Pink