In their days, Jesus condemned the religious leaders because they outwardly observed rituals such as washing their hands profusely when their hearts were stained with wrongdoing.
“Take my yoke,” says Jesus, “and I will give you rest.”
The spiritual rest which comes to the children of God is the deep assurance in your soul that your righteousness isn’t based upon what you do-whether it is refraining from itching your nose, or giving money to a good cause-but upon what Jesus has already done, something which God credits to your account, paid for by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Peter put it so graphically: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
Lest I be misunderstood, Jesus is not saying that those outside the church who are just plain “good people” are better than those inside. No, that’s not His intent. He is saying very simply that when you follow Him and know Him, your relationship with God becomes meaningful and real, and-very important-you find rest for your soul.
Rest for your soul isn’t based upon the assurance that you have done all of these things, but rather Jesus Christ did for you what you could not do for yourself. Do you remember that story of the person who asks, “How much do you love me?” and Jesus held out his arms, making the form of a cross with His body, and said, “This much!” and He died.
Resource reading: Galatians 3:19-29 (BY DR HAROLD SALA)