Put on My yoke and let Me teach you | Matthew 11:28-30

My Yoke
My Yoke
Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30 [NLT]28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, New King James Version)

Observation: (What do you see when you read this scripture?)

To set the scene, Jesus has just finished rebuking the towns and villages that He had done many wonderful miracles in. Towns which ultimately rejected Him and did not turn from their sins. I see Him not in a stance of anger or condemnation, but having a yearning compassion to reach the people who so stubbornly turn their backs on Him. It is their man-made religion that is keeping them from truly seeing Him and the freedom giving truth that He has to offer.

So, He makes a plea to them here. Really, it is a plea to all of us and he uses a common understanding of his time to give that plea weight and light.

His plea is twofold. First, "follow me" by "taking my yoke upon you" or "I will teach you if you only follow me." Second, "If I am teaching you (yoked to you) I am humble and gentle (not seeking your obedience from fear) and I will make it easy to follow".

A yoke is a wooden frame created to fit over the shoulders of two oxen that are harnessed in such a way that they can pull a plow together. In biblical times, a farmer would use the practice of yoking a mature ox with a young ox side-by-side.

This tactic would allow the younger ox a firsthand lesson from the older ox on how to pull the plow. And as the work commenced, it was the strength of the older ox that literally pulled the entire load. The rookie ox simply kept with the pace of its seasoned partner.

In time, the young ox would eventually pull his own weight. But for the moment, his job was to ‘learn the ropes’ and follow the older ox’s lead. The young ox may think that he is sharing the load, but it is the older ox that is actually doing all the work.

Application: (How can I apply this to my life today?)

Jesus wants to be my teacher. If I am willing He will walk side-by-side with me and take much of the weight upon himself, meaning that he takes all of my sin. He will give me the peace and rest that I need to be able to actually move forward and accomplish a great work with His strength there to guide me. His power is available to me to "pull the plow" I need to simply "put the yoke on". And I would not be putting on the yoke of a condemning overmaster, but a loving humble and gentle master who wants me to become the best me, the best Christian in the good work that I can become. So, today, I ask in prayer...

Prayer:(Speak to Him from the heart)

Dear Jesus,

Today, I ask you, please help me. Please teach me. I want to be a good ox. I want to be a good servant to You, but I need Your help to accomplish anything. I take Your yoke upon myself and ask that you fill me with Your truth and spirit.

Please be with me today and if it is Your will lead someone to me that I may encourage or help to see Your Love.

Please be with my family today. Keep them all safe from harm. Be with our small bible study groups and help them to flourish in Your love and understanding. Amen.

Jesus prayed this prayer | Matthew 11:20-27

Scripture:Matthew 11:20-27 [NKJV]

Mat 11:20  Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where He had done so many of His miracles, because they hadn't repented of their sins and turned to God. Mat 11:21  "What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Mat 11:22  I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. Mat 11:23  "And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. Mat 11:24  I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you." Mat 11:25  At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Mat 11:26  Yes, Father, it pleased You to do it this way! Mat 11:27  "My Father has entrusted everything to Me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." [NLT]

 

Observation: (What do you see when you read this scripture?)

I see a Shepherd yearning for His lost sheep. I see Jesus begging them to see who He really is while realizing that they have missed Him because of their "stubborn cleverness".

He is bemoaning the towns that He has actually been in and done many wonderful miracles in; bemoaning the fact that this great and powerful work is going unheeded. Unheeded and leading to destruction.

He recognizes, through the prayer to His Father, that the Father has seen that it is only the humble of heart, the meek in spirit, the "unclean" who will really accept the gift that is being given them. It is out of their own willful ignorance, via self importance and supposed intellectualism, that they hide the truth from themselves.

Though His words seem sharp, I do not see Jesus as condemning in His spirit, but instead sorrowful and wanting so much to see repentance from the heart. These very people that He is yearning to save would try to force His Kingdom to be run by their definitions and their rules; and, when they could not, they would seek to destroy it. How sad.

Application: (How can I apply this to my life?)

The quickest application is the one that is staring me in the face. DO I SEEK TO MAKE JESUS INTO MY OWN IMAGE? Do I try to make my religion into something I want it to be or do I seek the Kingdom that Jesus has already set up? To be honest, I don't always know. I do know that I want to do it Jesus' way and not man's way, but the only way I can do that is by following Him and finding out from Him directly.

Prayer:(Let Him know your thoughts)

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank You for being willing to come to this wretched dark place and show us the light. Lord, I ask that You will work in my life and help me to be a better follower of You. Bring me to that strong repentance that You desire, not because it is some kind of requirement, but because You want to move my heart in Your direction.

Thank you for being willing to forgive me my sins. I ask for that forgiveness now and I ask for a new direction.

Please keep my family safe Lord and bring them home to You. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Stubbornness without a backbone | Matthew 11:7-19

reeds
reeds

Scripture:Matthew 11:7-19 [NLT]

Mat 11:17  'We played wedding songs, and you didn't dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn't mourn.' Mat 11:18  For John didn't spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, 'He's possessed by a demon.' Mat 11:19  The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, 'He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!' But wisdom is shown to be right by its results."

 

Observation:(What do you see?)

And now Jesus begins to speak about John the Baptist, explaining that he is the very "Elijah" that they have been looking for, but He is also using this opportunity to teach the crowd of people all around Him about their being so two faced and weak like reeds blown in a wind. Stubbornness without a back bone should be an oxymoron but Jesus is pointing out that they are both. Stubborn against anything that jeopardizes the status quo, but swayed so easily by things that support it, whether or not there is any truth involved. They are stubborn against the work of God while thinking that they are fully supporting it. This shows a lack of real spirit fed and spirit led understanding of God's truth and purpose.

They were looking for a prophet and one came; but they ignored him because he pointed out their sins. Jesus seems to almost be mocking their willful ignorance when He says they are like children (ignorant) when they setup their own tests for what is "of God" so that they can claim only what they want to claim is from God. This is pointed out when He compares the "you didn't dance" and "you didn't mourn" to John not eating and drinking and Jesus doing both; each situation was twisted by this wicked generation in order to deny the power of God.

Application:(How can I apply this to my life?)

I can apply this teaching from Jesus to my life by setting myself firm (not like a reed blown in the wind) and by making sure that everything I believe is truth even if it goes against what I believe. I should not dismiss light out of hand but should test it with the scriptures and if I know it to be true follow it, no matter how much it may go against what I feel at the time. No one likes to have their sin pointed out, but Jesus points it out to help us be overcomers, not to condemn, so why not listen?

Prayer:(Let HIM know how you feel)

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for being willing to show us the things that we should change even if we will struggle. I want to be changed by You Lord and I ask that you give me the spiritual discernment to see the needed change and the spiritual power to make them.

Be with our small bible study groups, help them to grow and flourish in Your power and spirit. Be with our children and protect them from the enemy. Thank You for all that You provide for us daily. Amen.

Encouragement during dark times | Matthew 11:1-6

john_the_baptist_in_prison_350
john_the_baptist_in_prison_350
Scripture: Matthew 11:1-6 [NLT]1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities. 2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew 11:1-6, New King James Version)

Observation: (What does your mind's eye see in this scripture?)

Jesus has just finished giving the battle plan and necessary training to His disciples. He has prepared them for "war". And now it seems that He has gone on alone  and done more healing and preaching in the towns throughout the region. Interesting that he would separate from His disciples, but I think maybe He wanted them to see that they could do it without Him being there. The power comes from God, not man.

So then we have John the Baptist, who is in prison, wondering if his work has been for nothing. Stuck in prison, little news from outside, he does catch stories of Jesus and his miracles. Cut off and most likely despairing, he just wants to know for sure that what he worked for is truly happening. It is not necessarily a doubt in what he had called for, but only a need for reassurance that it really has finally come. So he sends his friends to ask Jesus.

Now Jesus does the wise thing. Instead of telling John's friends to go back and assure them that He is the Messiah, He tells them to go back and share "what you have seen and heard". This is much stronger proof of Jesus' power than any reassurance by word alone. And then he does send a little message of encouragement, basically saying to John. "You did well. You stood firm and did not turn away from me. God will bless you" What words of encouragement!

Application:(How can I apply this to my life?)

There are often times when I feel discouraged and down. Days where the enemy is especially good at putting doubts and discouragements into my mind. Here I see a great man of God, John the Baptist, having doubts about who he is supporting and the direction he took. He reaches out to the Messiah for comfort and reassurance.

I feel like Jesus is telling me a couple of things here. First, I will reassure you when your down, just ask. Second, how he shared who he was (when reassuring John) is how He asks us to share Him with others. The best witness I can give is more than just words...we must share our experiences with Christ. Sharing the bible is important, but non-believers can gain so much more from the real power of Christ; the power to change lives.

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Thank You so much for being willing to stick with us even when we get down. For being willing to reassure us when everything seems to be going in the wrong direction. Help me to learn to share You in a real way with others. I'm tired of just arguing facts. I want to share what You have really done in my life.

Thank You for this encouragement. Be with me today and give me the opportunity to share You with someone. Thank You for watching over my family and friends. I ask that you continue to be with and comfort the Wilson's in their time of need. I ask that You will bless our small bible study groups and help them to grow, allowing You to change more lives.

Thank You for all that you provide. I love You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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