“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, ESV). Jesus is not just offering an invitation, He is telling us—commanding us—to come to Him because He alone supplies the rest that our souls need.
Yet is it even possible for us, on our own, to “come to Him”? According to Jesus, it is impossible: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44, ESV). Why would Christ command us to do something we cannot do?
We are being given an important lesson here—one that is critical to the Christian life. That is, when we are given a command, it is not enough to charge ourselves up and say, “I’m your man, Lord!” If we do this, we are in trouble before we even begin. The fact is, when we are given a command in the gospels, it exposes our inability. God does this on purpose. Even as He reveals to us His will and His commands, He shows us our inability to achieve them on our own.
For this reason Jesus follows every impossible command with a promise. First, He says, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” Then immediately He says, “And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44, my emphasis). God not only will draw us to Himself but will raise us up into new, resurrection life. His power enables us to walk in a new covenant with Him.
We do not have the ability to have new life on our own. It comes only through Him. Likewise, the same power that saves us by grace also keeps us by grace. “Whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:21, ESV). I love how the King James Version translates the last part of this verse: “That his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” It means they have been “worked out in God.” God is fashioning the work in us! That is why He follows every command with a promise. As soon as He reveals our inability, He reveals His ability and willingness to accomplish it all in us.