The people listening to Jesus were worried and tired. Many felt the weight of their sins and thought they had no hope of being good. The performing of rituals and sacrifices never ended, but still they felt sinful.
Many of them were very poor and worried where their next meal would come from, how they would pay their debts and buy things they needed.
Others spent all their time and energy thinking about expensive clothes and houses. They were always afraid they wouldn’t look as rich and successful as their neighbors.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” said Jesus.
The people looked at Him with joy. How they needed rest from their worries. How they longed to lay down the burden of guilt for their sins.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
All around them on the hills and in the valleys were oxen working in the fields. The oxen wore yokes to make their work easier. The people understood when Jesus said, “Take My yoke.” He was promising to help them carry their loads of care.
The greatest burden we ever carry is the load of guilt for our sinfulness. Jesus promises to take that load from us, if we will let Him. He will bear the burden of our sin and cleanse us from sinfulness, if we will take His yoke to guide us.
His yoke is love. We love Him because He loved us. And when we love Him, it is not hard to love others. In fact, we can’t help loving others, and showing our love in service to them.
We will help them meet their needs. We will tell them of God’s love for them. Then their burdens, too, will be lighter. The yoke of love is a yoke of obedience and service, but it never weighs us down, and it never hurts. Jesus did not promise a life free from work, but He promised help and strength to those who would work for Him and with Him. The invitation reminded the people of what Jesus had been teaching about God’s love. He told them God wants to help.
“Don’t worry about clothes and food and how you will make it through tomorrow,” Jesus told the people. “God knows you need all these things. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
When we fret and worry over the troubles of life, we are bearing the burden alone, and there is no need to do that. God knows what we need, and He will take care of us.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows,” Jesus said. What comforting words they were to the people who heard Him in Judea and Galilee, and to us today. God will take care of our needs, when we stop worrying about them and seek His kingdom.
His words mean more. When we spend all our time thinking about getting designer clothes to wear, or planning how to talk our parents into buying us a car for our 16th birthday, or how to wear our hair and how to talk so we can be up with the latest fads, we are loading our lives with burdens.
These burdens come between us and God. We must lay down these worldly burdens and accept His yoke of loving service. Then we will have peace and rest for our souls.
“Learn from Me,” Jesus said. “I am gentle and lowly in heart.” Jesus came to this earth to serve, and He expects us to do the same. He wants us to look at Him and think of His goodness, instead of always trying to get others to look at us.
When we do good things just to be noticed by others, we are not serving God with our whole heart. We are still carrying the burden of selfishness.
We can learn from Jesus by studying the Bible. This is His instruction book to us. It tells us what He is like, and what He wants us to be and do.
We can learn from Jesus by praying. If we ask Him to come into our hearts and make us humble and loving as He is, He will answer our prayers.
We should always pray before we study the Bible. Then God will help us to find the very lesson we need to learn each time we read His Word.
When we want to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him instead of trying to be noticed by the world, then we are learning from Him and becoming like Him. We will have rest and peace, just as He promised.
The Bible has many texts that tell how God helps us. Some texts that mention rest are Exodus 33:13-14; Jeremiah 6:16 and Psalm 37:7-8. Peace is mentioned in these verses: Psalm 37:9-11; Job 22:21; Isaiah 48:18 and Isaiah 26:3. Some ways in which Jesus will help us to bear our burdens are found in Revelation 7:15-17; Isaiah 53:6; Psalm 147:3 and Isaiah 53:10. Read these verses. To show how much He loves us, Jesus told a story about the good shepherd. Read the story in John 10:11-14.
Try to memorize each Treasure Chest Verse. This lesson’s verse is:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28