Let’s read that wonderful verse.  Matthew 11:28 are the words of the Lord Jesus.  He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  This is an extension of grace by the Lord Jesus to all those who are working so hard to find salvation.  To those who are trying to earn their salvation.  To those who are tired from all their attempts to save themselves.  To those who feel the burden of their sins, who have come to realize that this burden is much too heavy to bear.  The Lord calls to those who feel their need of Him.  He calls to them to come to Him and rest from all their futile efforts.  Rest is found in Him and no other.  All believers enjoy this rest.

The Sabbath had a peculiar place in relation to Israel.  The Sabbath was one of the signs of God’s covenant with Israel.  It was given to them as a commandment in Exodus 20:8-11, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

However, the Sabbath was never given to the Church to be observed.  To us, we were given the ‘Lord’s Day’, which is on the first day of the week.  The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day do seem to be a gracious act of the Lord to remind us that we need a day of rest each week. That is especially made clear to us in Genesis 2:2-3 where we read, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”  It is good to note that we do not read that the Lord was tired, for He never tires.  But His labor of creation was over and He set an example for us that a day of rest was appropriate. 

Now, let’s read Hebrews 4:3, “For WE WHICH HAVE BELIEVED DO ENTER INTO REST, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” We who know Christ as our savior have entered into rest.  The Lord had intended for His people to enter into rest when He led them through the wilderness, however because of persistent rebellion and unbelief, they did not enter into that rest.  For believers today, we already have that rest.  We lie safe and satisfied in His arms.  We have ceased from bearing the weight of our sins.  As a shepherd provides for the needs of his sheep, so we rest in Christ’s finished work on the cross.  We read in that great psalm of the Lord being our shepherd, Psalm 23:2-3 says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”  Such peace.  Such rest. 

Yet, there is a rest we still long for.  Hebrews 4:9-10 tells us, “THERE REMAINETH A REST to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”  The Greek word ‘rest’ is different from the word used for rest in Hebrews 4:3. The word in verse 9 is unique, being used ONLY in this verse and nowhere else in the scriptures.  It is defined as “a sabbatism, i.e. (figuratively) the repose of Christianity (as a type of heaven).  This refers to the eternal rest which belongs to all those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as Lord and savior.  This ‘Sabbath’ or time of rest is eternal and eternally enjoyed in the presence of our dear Savior!  (CC)  (511.4)