yokeSaturday, February 4, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Matthew 11-13

As we come to Matthew 11, a great multitude is following Jesus listening to Him teach, witnessing His miracles, and pondering if He is the long-awaited Messiah who would deliver Israel from Roman occupation and oppression.  John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ is in prison and in the early verses of this chapter his disciples come to Jesus seeking assurance that He was the promised Messiah (11:1-6).

The principle, “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required” (Luke 12:48), is evidenced in Matthew 11 when Jesus warns the citizens of Capernaum that the privilege of hearing Him teach and seeing His miracles has placed upon them the danger of a judgment greater than that suffered by the wicked living in ancient cities like Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom (11:20-24).

my-yokeReminding us the act of placing one’s faith in Christ is comparable to the simplicity, humility, and sincerity of a child (11:25), we read a threefold command to all bearing the burden and condemnation of sin (11:28-30).

“Come” (11:28) – Literally, “follow” me all who are physically and spiritually weary.

“Take” (11:29) –  “Take up” as in lifting up or raising an anchor. Christ’s invitation to bear His yoke meant as an invitation to become His disciple; to share His burden and labors with the promise of “rest unto your souls” (11:29b).

“Learn” (11:29) – Literally, find, submit to, and receive instruction.  A disciple of Christ was not only learning about Christ; he would come to know and understand Him intimately.

Jesus defined His character as, “I am meek and lowly in heart” and promised those who follow Him, “rest unto your souls” (11:29).

restWhat a contrast to religious and worldly leaders who oppress and whose servants find their commands onerous and harsh!  Sincere, submissive followers of Christ who love Him do not find the Laws and Commandments of the LORD burdensome or legalistic!  The criticisms of many who resent and cry “legalist” concerning those who teach spiritual principles and precepts from God’s Word are in reality, not true believers and followers of Christ.  In the words of the apostle John:

1 John 5:2-3 – “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. 3  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith