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Matthew 11:20-30

Finding Rest

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • November 11, 2018

Our bodies require rest. Without proper rest, our fragile frames will begin to shut down. The same is true spiritually. Each of us needs and even longs for rest for our souls. But where do we find rest, the kind of rest that our souls crave and require? We will discover the answer by studying the words of our Savior, our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ so that we may not only find rest but enter into it.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Finding Rest

Matthew 11:20-30


ILLUS – The impact of pulling two all-nighters at M.B.S.

1.Our bodies to require rest. Without proper rest, our fragile frames will begin to shut down.

2. The same is true spiritually.

3.Each of us needs and even longs for rest for our souls.

4.But where do we find rest, the kind of rest that our souls crave and require?

5.Tonight, we will discover the answer by studying the words of our Savior, our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ so that we may not only find rest but enter into it.

Matthew 11:20-30


1.In Matthew 11, two of the disciples of John the Baptist approached Jesus with a question from John, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (11:3)

2.Many who read this for the first time, shake their heads in disbelief. How could John the Baptist, the one who declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” question who Jesus is?

3.But John was weary and discouraged. He had been in prison for over one year and wondered if he had made a mistake when he declared that Jesus is Messiah.

4.Jesus reassured John by pointing to the miracles He had done, signs that confirmed Jesus is the Messiah; the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

5.Jesus wanted John to be at rest, to have peace. He wants the same for us as well.

Transition – Unfortunately, some people are never satisfied.

I. Some People are Never Satisfied (20-27)

A. It’s their way or the highway

ILLUS – Dealing with difficult people during the holidays

1.They’re like the generation that Jesus called out who witnessed the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus and were not satisfied with either of them.

Matthew 11:16-17, But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.

2.That generation wanted God to do things on their terms. They wanted a Messiah who would follow their agenda and bow down to their will.

3.But Jesus did not come to dance to our tune. He expects us to dance to His tune. Meaning, Jesus expects us to follow Him!

4.Then, in verses 20-24, Jesus intensified His tone by denouncing those cities where the majority of His miracles were performed. Why did He denounce Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum?

5.“Because they did not repent.” (20). Jesus’ miracles confirmed His message, the Sermon on the Mount, that He is the Messiah, but they refused to change.

6.They wanted to see signs and miracles, but it was never enough or good enough!

Matthew 12:38-39,Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet”

7.In fact, Jesus, who knows all because, as the Son of God, He knows what is and what could have been, declared that the wicked, idolatrous cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, would have repented if the miracles done by Jesus in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had been done within their city limits!

APPL – What was their problem? PRIDE!

  • Verse 23 is key. “And you Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you?”
  • Here Jesus used a phrase that is very similar to what was said about Lucifer and his fall in Isaiah 14:13-15. 

Isaiah 14:13-14, But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and… I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”

  • Jesus declared that Capernaum was guilty of pride. He likened their rejection of Him to the choice Satan made when he said that he would “ascend to heaven” and be “like the Most High”.

ILLUS – My Way by Frank Sinatra

B.But doing life our way never brings rest

1.In fact, someday when you stand before the Lord, you will wish you had lived life His way because doing life our way brings judgment.

2.That’s why Jesus declared that it will be “more tolerable” for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom “in the day of judgment” than for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (vv. 22, 24).

APPL – From man’s perspective, “my way” always seems like “the best way” but the Proverbs 14:12 paints a different picture…

Proverbs 14:12, There is a way which seems right to a man,
but its end is the way of death.

3.And it’s also why some are blind to the truth about Jesus and others are not. (25)

a.A babe, by nature, is dependent upon someone else to survive.

b.Conversely, the “wise and intelligent” believe they know it all and have no need for outside help. They are wise in their own eyes because of pride.

Isaiah 5:12, Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!

APPL – All of humanity since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has been thrashing around in search of peace, in search of rest.

  • We know something is missing, that something is off.
  • So, we look this way and that for an answer, wearying ourselves along the way, while the answer, the remedy, the solution has been in plain sight the entire time. 

II.Jesus is Our Rest (28-30)

  • These verses at the end of Matthew 11 are often quoted because they are so personal and so meaningful for they reveal God’s heart towards us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • When we look at them carefully, we find that there is such clarity to God’s invitation to receive one of His greatest promises, rest.

A.If you are weary, come to Jesus

1.The invitation is for all who are weary, troubled, and burdened to come to Jesus.

2.It is important to understand that Jesus was not referring to physical weariness or tiredness.

a.Here Jesus was speaking of the rest we need in our souls.

b.Physical exhaustion is certainly a burden and in our fast-paced world, many people find themselves in a state of perpetual exhaustion.

ILLUS – Our bodies are constantly working.

3.Our greatest burden is not physical fatigue, it’s the trouble within the soul. That’s our greatest need.

4.Most people, when they consider the troubles of their soul want to blame everyone around them.

a.But our trouble is not in the horizontal, it’s in the vertical, it’s in our relationship to God.

b.That’s our greatest need and that’s why Jesus gives the invitation to come to Him.

5.Jesus knows our condition and He is the only One doing something about it because He is the only One who can fix it; without Him we have no hope and we have no help!

1 Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (NIV)

APPL – This is such an important key to what Jesus was saying; that our help comes from drawing near to Him. This is about a relationship that God is offering through His Son.

  • Jesus is offering something the world can never give.
  • In the world there is emptiness, loneliness, despair, and death but in Christ there is rest for our souls. 

John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

  • The wearied search for rest ends in Jesus! 

Quote – “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it shall rest in Thee.” ~ Augustine

B. Take Jesus’ yoke upon you and find rest

1.A yoke was a crossbar with two U-shaped pieces that encircled the necks of the pair of oxen or other draft animals.

2.There was also a yoke for people that a person could use by himself, a shoulder yoke was sometimes used for carrying pails of water. But that is not what Jesus was referring to here.

3.The picture that we get is of a person who is yoked to the world; burdened, troubled, and agitated. The yoke doesn’t fit, it hurts, it chafes, and it makes those under its weight weary and exhausted.

4.The insight that we glean from this is that we make many troubles and burdens for ourselves by how we live our lives. But the greatest burden of all is the burden of our sin because it is a burden that we simply cannot carry.

Romans 6:21, Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.

5.Jesus offers to give us rest for our souls when we accept His yoke in exchange for ours.

2 Corinthians 5:21,He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

APPL – This is very difficult for many to accept because man is not the hero of the story, God is!

ILLUS – There was a movie in the 80s called The Mission that powerfully captures the way many people think of their burdens. 

  • None of us can carry that burden. Praise the Lord that Jesus is our burden-bearer!
  • Jesus’ yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
  • What is His yoke? It’s doing the work and will of His Father.
  • What is the work and will of the Father?

John 6:29, 40, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent... For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

C. Learn from Jesus and find rest

1.This is clearly part of finding rest for our souls. Jesus said that we must learn from Him because He is gentle and humble in heart.

2.Learning from Jesus means that we hunger and thirst for His ways to become our ways, His heart to become our heart, His character to become our character. That is truly a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

APPL – Many people think of religion as a great burden, and it is!

Acts 15:10, Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

  • But a relationship with Jesus Christ brings peace and rest, life to the full!

John 10:10,The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NIV)

How do we know we are no longer carrying the old yoke and are carrying the yoke of Christ, learning from Him every step of the way? There is life and peace.

Romans 8:5-6, For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace

  • How do we know our mind is set on the things of the Holy Spirit? There’s good fruit. 

Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

  • If we truly had the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, that would not be a burden, it would be rest for our souls.
  • So if you find yourself lacking peace or if you look around your life and don’t see evidence of godly fruit, get back to Jesus and stay close to Him. Take up His yoke and be blessed to learn His ways. There you will be refreshed and find rest for your soul.


Isaiah 40:29, 31, He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.





Matthew 11:20-30    NASB

20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.23 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.24 Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
28“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.29 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.”

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