Wednesday, April 24

Easy and light

Scripture: 1 Samuel 28-29, Psalm 109, Matthew 11

Matthew 11:28–30 “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.”

Observation

Many scholars believe that Jesus was speaking here of the burden of the Jewish law, particularly the Pharisaic application. Jewish legal scholars had interpreted the Old Testament law and legislated applications down to the minutiae.  For example, the Sabbath was a day of rest.  No work.  But what constituted work?  They came up with many categories of work; one was carrying a burden.  But what constituted a burden?  The list was mind-boggling.  One couldn’t wear his false teeth on the Sabbath.  A tailor couldn’t have a needle stuck in his robe.  And on and on…

This proved to be an unbearable burden; only the Pharisees even attempted to do it all.  They became a religious elite that separated themselves and looked down on everyone else. 

In this climate, Jesus offers Himself to the weary and burdened.  “Come to me, take my yoke, learn from me, and I will give you rest.”  The old covenant was about the law and it’s requirements.  The new covenant is about Jesus—and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

The yoke of the law (see Matthew 23:4, Acts 15:10, Galatians 5:1) was a burden too heavy to bear.  Jesus’ yoke (His requirements) are easy—the word means “well-fitting, comfortable, easy to bear.”  Jesus’ burden is light.

 

Application

I’m so grateful that Jesus frees us from the endless requirements of the law, and that what He calls us to is doable, “easy” (in the sense that it fits us) and light.  

1 John 5:3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.

If you are living with a list of religious obligations that leaves you exhausted and burdened, that’s not from Jesus.  Jesus didn’t come to make us more religious, but more alive.  Fully alive!  If you can’t carry that religious burden, it’s not from Jesus.  Put it down.  Come to Him.  Pick up His yoke.  For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for calling us to life—a life that fits us, that leaves us energized, refreshed, rested and joyful, not weary and burdened.