July 19, 2020
Pastor John Hering
25 At that time, Jesus continued, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from clever and learned people and have revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, because this was pleasing to you. 27 Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.
28 “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, because 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.”Matthew 11:25-30
Life is hard. Let’s come up with a list to prove it. There are the easy ones:
Drinking a 7/11 Icee too fast and getting a brain freeze.
When you put the boat into the water and your daughter is trying to start it. It should start no problem. It ran great last time. We just got gas. “Pump the throttle!” Nope. Nothing but an engine turning over and over and over…… Okay. My turn. Maybe it needs a Father’s touch. Life is hard when you have to relinquish the driver’s seat and hope that he doesn’t turn the key and it starts right up! Ah, what did I notice?…. I mean the dad notice? The kill switch cord was unhooked. Reset it. Turned the key. Varooom! Yup, life is hard!
Maybe it was the little cut you got on your finger last time you were lining the cake pan with tin foil.
Or maybe your hard life was more serious.
Miscommunication between family members, hurt feelings, accusations and hurt hearts.
Or how about the bigger problems that make life hard!
Battling cancer. Recovering from surgery. The fear of Covid-19. Watching a loved one slowly slip away. A relationship gone sour, or even just the chronic, unceasing, constant battle with sin.
Remember how St Paul described his hard life! “So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing” (Rom 7:19). Truth is, the burdens of life are hard! All too often we feel more like prisoners of war than we do the invincible army of Christ!
So, what does the Holy Spirit inspire Matthew to write in this regard? He records these words of Jesus: “Take my yoke upon you.” What? Jesus wants us to take on another burden! He wants us to take on a big wooden beam used to link oxen together? This is Jesus answer?!! Yes, because Jesus’ yoke is our only lasting relief from life’s biggest frustrations. Here’s what you need to know today.
Jesus Has A Yoke For You!
It’s designed for small Children
Jesus has been teaching his disciples about discovering real life. Assuring his disciples and the disciples of John the Baptist that he really is the promised Messiah. Rebuked the places where he had been proclaiming God’s Word to people who refused to repent and trust in his forgiveness. And now Matthew records some words of comfort. “28Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We’ve all heard these words before. Maybe they didn’t even have the impact on you now as they once did. But, try this. Pretend you’re a little child seeing Jesus’ miracles and hearing these words for the first time. You’d be saying, “Wow!” right now. But, so many people hear and see what Jesus did and said they think they don’t need or care about Jesus and inflate their own ego. And when there are inflated egos, Jesus’ yoke doesn’t fit.
Jesus’ yoke is designed for children. “25 At that time, Jesus continued, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from clever and learned people and have revealed them to little children.” Little children trust you. Luke and Bobby were jumping off the deck into the pool without hesitation because they trusted grandpa would catch them. They trust what you say is true and what you do is true. I know some children that are 2 feet tall and some that are 6 feet tall. Some children have inherited loads of money, and some are dirt poor. Some children trust what Jesus has said and done, and some don’t. So, what about you? Are you a little child who trusts all that Jesus says and does? It is this trust that is the yoke Jesus has for you and it pleases the Father in heaven that he has given it to you. “26 Yes, Father, because this was pleasing to you.” Trust is the yoke he has placed on your shoulders so that you are linked to him. He gave you that yoke at your baptism, instructed you about that yoke through studying his Word, and today we happily wear that yoke designed for little children like you and me. This yoke comes from Jesus and is
It’s Distributed by Jesus
Jesus has the authority to distribute this yoke because of an amazing claim he made about himself. “27 Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.” Don’t you just love these words! Who else could do such a great job of telling us the truth about God the Father than God the Son! Who else knows what the Father is like other than the Son. Jesus is not just claiming that his teaching is better than any other teaching about God, he is claiming that his teaching is the only real truth about God and connecting us, yes, yoking us to God!
God created us to be yoked with him when he created Adam and Eve in his image and in his likeness. Sin ruined that. Jesus is telling us he came to reveal God to us and how our relationship with God is restored once again. Then Jesus passed this wonderful work on to parents, teachers and pastors. Jesus produced and published the yoke, but he uses local people like you to distribute it. Before Jesus returned to heaven he commanded his disciples, “19 Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you” (Matt 28:20). So, Jesus continues to distribute his yoke of faith to people today. Jesus reveals everything we need to know and believe about God, heaven and salvation.
If Jesus is right, (What did I just say? Of course he’s right!) then we better listen to what he says. He says we can go and gather disciples. How, by distributing his yoke through baptism and teaching God’s Word! I know we’re tempted to come up with all sorts of ideas to build a bridge to people, but finally, we have to cross the bridge and share Jesus with them. Jesus is right! There is no other religion, no other pathway to heaven, no other rest for souls than to connect them by Jesus’ yoke to God. And I can see you smiling, because you know just what I’m talking about. You are wearing Jesus’ yoke and through faith you are enjoying forgiveness of all your sins, eternal life, and deliverance from the devil. You know what it’s like to wear Jesus’ yoke and you know
It’s delightful to wear!
Besides Jesus, I want you to picture someone standing in front of people and saying, “28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Who do you come up with? A mattress salesman? Imagine how his sales would sore if he could really keep such a promise?! However, Jesus can make this offer because he is God and because of the type of rest he offers he grants. Jesus does not offer temporary relief for sore feet, back pain or even a bad day. In fact, you’d think his sales would fall flat because he actually told his followers yoked to him that they would have to bear crosses in their life! Paul understood this when he said, “We must go through many troubles on our way to the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). First comes the cross, then the crown! The rest Jesus promises by being yoked to him is not nap time or time out from life’s struggles.
“28 “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, because 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.” The rest Jesus gives has to do with a relationship. Here’s a hint. When God was finished creating the world in six days and he rested, what does that mean? Was he tired? No! He’s the Almighty God. Does it mean he grabbed his heavenly Lazy-Boy and enjoyed a cold one without interest in what was going on? NO! It means he was happy that everything had its place, it all fit together perfectly, harmony, and a perfect relationship between God and man. He had a delightful and loving connection with his people. That’s what Jesus’ yoke is all about. For the connection we had was lost due to sin. Jesus reestablished that connection through faith in him. Jesus took the yoke of sin none of us could bear to the cross and yoked us back to God. That perfection through Christ is delightful to wear!
So, what’s your heaviest burden that makes life hard? Frozen brains? Boats that don’t start, poor health, no wealth, broken relationships, no meaning or no peace in life? Well, every burden in life becomes light when Jesus gives us rest for our souls through his yoke. Designed for his children. Distributed by Jesus himself. And a delight to wear. Enjoy wearing the yoke Jesus has for you! Amen!