23 JUNE 365 Days with Calvin

Longing for Relief

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

suggested further reading: Psalm 62

Christ now kindly invites those whom he sees are fit to become his disciples. Though he is ready to reveal the Father to all people, yet most are careless about coming to him because they are not convinced of their need to do so.

Hypocrites are not concerned about following Christ because they are too intoxicated with their own righteousness. They neither “hunger nor thirst” (Matt. 5:6) for his grace. In addition, those who are devoted to the world set no value on heavenly life. It would be useless, therefore, for Christ to invite these kinds of people to come to him. So he turns to the wretched and afflicted who labor or groan under a burden. That does not generally refer to those who are oppressed with grief and trials but specifically to those who are overwhelmed by their sins, are filled with alarm at the wrath of God, and are ready to sink under that weighty burden.

God uses various methods to humble his elect, but since most people who are loaded with afflictions still remain obstinate and rebellious, Christ specifically calls those whose consciences are distressed by the fear of eternal death. They are so inwardly pressed down by their miseries that they faint, and this very fainting prepares them for receiving God’s grace. Jesus tells us that most people despise his grace because they are not sensible of their poverty, but their pride or folly is no reason to keep back those afflicted souls that long for relief.

for meditation: Are you pressed out of measure because of the weight of your sin? Are you burdened by the thought of appearing before your eternal Maker and Judge? Do you long for relief from his impending wrath? If so, Christ kindly and gently invites you to come to him. He will give you rest.[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 193). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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