Entering a church in Klang, Malaysia, I was intrigued by the sign welcoming us into the building. It declared the place to be “A Sanctuary for the Heavy Laden.”
Few things better reflect the heart of Christ than for His church to be a place where burdens are lifted and the weary find rest. This was vital in Jesus’ ministry, for He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
Jesus promised to take our burdens and exchange them for His light load. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (vv.29-30).
This promise is backed by His great strength. Whatever burdens we may carry, in Christ we find the strong shoulders of the Son of God, who promises to take our heavy burdens and exchange them for His light load.
Christ, who loves us with an everlasting love, understands our struggles, and can be trusted to provide us with a rest we can never find on our own. His strength is enough for our weakness, making Him our “sanctuary for the heavy laden.”
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears. —Martin
INSIGHTA yoke is a wooden harness that joins two animals (usually oxen or donkeys) so they can work together to pull heavy loads. In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah used it as a metaphor for God’s laws (Jer. 5:5) and as a symbol of submission and enslavement (27:8).
The Jews had been wearied and enslaved by the heavy yoke of legalistic Judaism that the Pharisees had strenuously imposed on them (Matt. 23:4). "Come to Me" (v.28) is Jesus' invitation to put their trust in Him for salvation and deliverance. Jesus' yoke is "easy and light" (v.30) because it comes from His mercy and love, rooted in who He is—"gentle and lowly in heart" (v.29). Jesus extends that same invitation to us today. Because of our new birth, His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3-4).