Have you ever heard the expression “that was the straw that broke the camels back”? Well, the camel was carrying such a heavy burden that one more little thing was just too much. Have you ever felt like that? – Where one more little thing would just be too much?
A lot of people carry pretty heavy burdens…
- Parents with a child that has special needs
- A spouse that isn’t well
- The death of a loved one
- Financial difficulties or ruin
We all have burdens, but some people have heavy burdens. That’s what Jesus was referring to when He said in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” You see, we not only get tired and worn out from our labors, we also have burdens to carry and sometimes those burdens are extraordinarily heavy.
The words “heavy laden” are really one word in the Greek text, and it means “to load up,” as when putting a burden on an animal or as when loading a vessel with cargo. But the word also carries the sense of overload – an excessive burden. Actually, this word is used only one other time in the New Testament. In Luke 11:46, this same word is used and it refers to burdensome laws put upon the people: Jesus says, “Woe unto you also, you lawyers! For you load men with burdens grievous to be borne, and you yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”
In other words, these Jewish lawyers were exempting themselves from the burdensome laws they were inflicting on the people. They were “burdens grievous to be borne.”
Now that’s the idea of this word. So when Jesus said to those whom He loved, “Come to me…those of you who carry a heavy burden,” He was speaking to those who indeed were under a grievous burden. They were in danger of experiencing “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. “I will give you rest,” He said. What a wonderful promise!
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Listen to Jesus: Sit down and rest a while. Come to Jesus, and enjoy a time of relief!