Jesus carries our burdens Matthew 11:28-30

Isaiah 40:29 (The Lord) gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
In Zambia Ruth was working in Kapumpe Christian Primary School. In the local language of Bemba the word Kapumpe means eagle. The aim of the school is that the pupils should grow up soaring on wings like eagles in the strength God supplies. Those children are amazing. It must be so hard to run and not grow weary or even to walk and not to be faint when you have to walk for a couple of hours each way to school, when you are only five or six years old!
God wants us all to be soaring on wings like eagles, renewing our strength by putting our hope in the Lord. God wants us all to be running and not growing weary, walking and not growing faint. So hear this wonderful promise the Lord Jesus Christ makes to everyone who believes in him.
Matthew 11;28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.’
I didn’t have to walk ten miles a day to get to school. It was just a mile each way for me. The farthest I ever walked was 250 miles in 3 weeks a very long time ago when I used to be young and fit and athletic. I was in the sixth form on the school-organised Trek walking 250 miles across the Alps from Pralognan-la-Vanoise in France to Aosta in Italy. The high spot was climbing Gran Paradiso, the highest mountain entirely in Italy. On that unforgettable day we left our camp at 4 am and climbed by lunchtime to a height of over 4000 metres to within 50 metres of the summit before the snow became impassible in the mist. Then we sat down on our cagoules and capes and tobogganed back down the track we had trodden in the deep snow going up. It took just 15 minutes to slide back down the path it had taken us 8 hours to climb!
Of course on that expedition it wasn’t the walking along that wore us out as much as all the ups and downs! The only way from the village in one valley to the village in the next was over the mountain in between! We were each carrying parts of the tent, stove and food and water as well as our own sleeping bags and clothes. My rucksack weighed 25 kg – around half a hundredweight. A couple of days before the big climb we were two weeks through the Trek, a few days on from Val D’Isère about to cross the border into Italy. We were above the snowline and a fresh fall of a couple of feet of snow had made the going very difficult underfoot. Like many in our group I had been ill for a few days, and by the middle of that afternoon I was feeling completely exhausted, desperate to sit down, take off that heavy rucksack and just sleep! But we still had several miles to go that day to the next campsite!
I remember how I felt there in the Alps, close to collapsing. Just when I was feeling I couldn’t go a step further, we came to an Aubege, a wayside inn offering shelter and warmth! Taking the rucksack off was wonderful. But it didn’t take away the thirst or the exhaustion. We needed refreshment as well! They offered hot chocolate. But I was still worn out!
I had only been a Christian a couple of months when I went on Trek. It wasn’t easy, finding space to read my Bible and pray sharing a tent with three other people, as the only Christian in a party of 50 Trekkers. But that wayside inn provided me with more than a chance to take off my rucksack and have a warm drink. On the wall I found a copy of “La prière des Alpinistes”, the mountaineers’ prayer. We were less than 30 miles from the Great St Bernard’s Pass which is named after Bernard of Mont-Joux. The Prayer of the Alpinists is attributed to St Bernard, the Patron Saint of the Alps It was in French and translates something like this.
“Lord, you have given us Saint Bernard as patron of mountaineers and mountain dwellers. Through his intercession, protect us in all our ascensions. After enjoying the beauty of nature, let us return to our task more serene and stronger in the service of God and our brethren. As we strive to walk in his footsteps here below, grant us to reach the true Summit which is Christ.”
Reading that prayer reminded me that everywhere I went, God was already there. That Jesus was always with me. That He would bear my burdens. He would refresh me and strengthen me. At that point I had only memorised a few Bible verses but I was reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”
On that afternoon on Trek I discovered for the first of many times in my life just how true God’s promises are. Inspired by that prayer, although I was still carrying my rucksack, I didn’t notice the weight at all. The sickness I had been feeling had gone completely. I felt as full of energy as I had on the very first day. Jesus the burden-bearer was carrying my heavy load. His spirit had refreshed me.
Of course, serious mountaineers have their porters to carry their bags for them. Our friends Richard and Heather were missionaries in Nepal with Baptist World Mission. They showed us pictures of the Treks they did as a family over some of the foothills of the Himalayas. And they had a Sherpa. A porter. One man carrying the luggage for all of them as they walked from village to village. A burden-bearer.
Do you need a burden bearer this morning? Some people may be struggling with illness and pain. Some are grieving. Others are carrying all kinds of heavy burdens. Some are worried about their loved ones. Some are weighed down by stress – not waving but drowning. Some may be facing problems at work, or unemployment, or financial difficulties. Many are anxious about what the future holds in these troubled times. Some are scarred by disappointment or guilt or deep fears. Some are struggling with family conflicts and some are hurting deep down inside. God promises to help us! Jesus invites us to bring ALL our burdens to Him and cast our cares on him..
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit! O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Perhaps the most important thing we learned from the Christians in Zambia is that they pray about everything. They don’t just give thanks for food by saying grace before a meal. They thank God continually for their health and their strength and for the things they have, even though by our standards they have next to nothing. They begin the day by thanking God that they have woken up and are able to go about their daily activities. They pray before every journey – which even in a 4 by 4 is hazardous on roads which are more potholes than tarmac and off tarmac on the sand is even more dangerous. Even worse on a bicycle – although most people have no choice but to walk everywhere they go. When somebody is ill they pray – often they won’t have enough money to buy the medicines they need or to travel by bus to the hospital. The students sang a hymn and prayed before every lecture. Often they prayed that they would be able to understand their teacher – I wasn’t quite sure how to take that! African Christians know so much more about prayer than we British Christians do!
Jesus is our burden bearer. An inspiring passage in Hebrews 4 encourages us to pray.
Hebrews 4:15 we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
When we need God, we can be confident that He will help us. When we need mercy and forgiveness God promises we will not be disappointed. When we need God’s grace and strength to help us in whatever situations we find ourselves, we can be confident that God will help us in our times of need. . Because Jesus understands. He is more than able to sympathise. Whatever our situation: Jesus knows what it’s like! When God became a human in Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us, He shared all our experiences of life! In His birth, in his life, and in his death.
v.1 HE walked where I walk, He stood where I stand, He felt what I feel, He understands.
He knows my frailty, Shared my humanity, Tempted in every way, Yet without sin.
God with us, so close to us. God with us, Immanuel!
v.2 One of a hated race, Stung by the prejudice, Suffering injustice, Yet He forgives.
Wept for my wasted years, Paid for my wickedness, He died in my place That I might live.
God with us, so close to us. God with us, Immanuel!
So whatever problems or battles or challenges we may be facing today, Jesus offers to take our burdens from us.
Psalm 55:22 makes the same promise. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
So does 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you..
God wants us to bring our burdens to Him and cast our anxieties on Him. Do you need a burden-bearer this morning? God is just waiting to answer our prayers!
Matthew 11 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. (Matthew 11:28-29)

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