At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
For me to understand this passage I had to go read Ecclesiastes 1:12-18.
I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has give to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.
What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.
I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.
For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.
And the truth is, wisdom makes it harder, often, to know God, not easier. That’s why Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do no hinder them; for to such as these belongs the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:14, Luke 18:16, Mark 10:14) Understanding God and His love for us is truly easiest when we look from the innocent eyes of a child. Which is why the Pharisees couldn’t accept Jesus. They were blinded by their knowledge.
Only through Jesus can we really know God. Through Jesus we understand God’s true nature. We can NOT find Him in our own wisdom, or research, or reading. God chooses to reveal Himself to those who accept Jesus. These days we would say the Holy Spirit enters us through Christ, and only through Christ.
I love verses 28-30. It reminds me of that old Footprints in the Sand poem. Jesus will take our cares and burdens from us and give us peace. Stop worrying, He says, my Father will take care of you! Instead of the burden of worry, or sadness, or whatever, take up MY burden of Faith. It is an easy burden, one that requires absolutely nothing of you, except simple, child-like Faith.
The common misconception of Christianity is that we MUST abide by so many rules. But see, here Jesus requires us to do nothing. We don’t need to be burdened by the Law. Any rules we follow we follow by choice because we love God ad we want to make Him happy. If something you are doing for Jesus (fasting, abstinence, following a rule) feels like a burden, it probably means you are either doing it wrong, or doing it for the wrong reason. But I think Paul goes further in to that subject than Jesus Himself does.