A Yoke of Rest!
Scripture reading for October 8th: Matthew 8-11
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30
This portion of Matthew is one I have preached on often and love to return to on a regular basis. It seems that I have a tendency to love to work and take on lots of projects, speaking engagements, and commitments. It is like there is a subtle underlying need to find my worth in what I do or how much I can do. This is hard to admit and even harder to detect the true motives sometimes. I need to come to Jesus and remember that He is able to handle the loads of life’s problems and I must walk with Him under His authority in all I do. My work earns me nothing because salvation is all grace.
In the time of Jesus, a rabbi was a master teacher who usually gathered disciples who would train to be like their teacher. In fact, when a student was fully trained, he would be like his teacher and could also become a rabbi and have disciples. (Luke 6:40) It was an honor to be invited to follow a rabbi and only the brightest and best were usually asked. However, Jesus the “rabbi”, went among the common people and called out those who appeared to be the unqualified. They were often considered the least qualified but Jesus looked at the heart and took those who were willing to leave all and follow!
The ‘yoke’ of the rabbi was his authority and his teachings. A disciple would learn to follow the master so closely that it is said that the dust of the rabbi was on their clothes as they walked closely behind him. Jesus called all to come to him! He asked them to come under His authority, which had been given Him by the Father. (Matthew 11:27) Everything was under His authority and he had demonstrated that earlier in our reading today by many miracles. Sickness departed at His word! (Matthew 8:2-3) Demons in people left at His command! (Matthew 8:28-34) Sins were forgiven and a paralytic healed. (Matthew 9:1-8) A dead girl was raised to life at His word! (Matthew 9:23-25) Blind men received their sight at His touch. (Matthew 9:27-31) At His command, the disciples were sent out and miracles were done through their hands! (Matthew 10:1-8)
Following Jesus requires a complete surrender to Him and becoming a learner of His teachings and character. His ‘yoke’ of authority is easy and His ‘burden’ is light because He travels with you and me wherever we are. He has all authority and has given authority to us to do His work! Even greater works will we do because He has gone to the Father! (John 14:12-13) We can rest in Him today and follow closely! We are promised to be like Him one day, enjoying a heavenly body and knowing Him fully!