Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” Jesus invites us to join ourselves to him. Of course it’s really God doing the joining but we have to agree to join. I shared this with some men tonight at the jail and told them being one with Christ is what it’s all about.
I remember a story about a man who saw a young ox and a mature ox joined together in a yoke and asked the owner “What’s that all about?” The farmer said that’s how we train the oxen. We pair up a young one with an older one so the younger can learn how to pull. The funny thing about this was the younger ox was barely even touching the yoke and the older one was doing all the pulling. You see that’s what Jesus is inviting us to do. We take his yoke upon us and learn that it’s really him that’s doing it all we’re just carried along with him.
Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus’ humanity is on display. He did tell us to learn of him; so what is it that we are to learn? We see throughout John Jesus lived his life completely dependent on the Father. He said things like “The Son can do nothing of himself, unless he sees the Father do it… I can do nothing on my own initiative… I live because of the Father… I didn’t come on my own but he sent me… I did not speak on my own initiative…but the Father gives me what to say… the Father abiding in me does his works.” So we read over and over how Jesus, as a human, lived a life completely powerless and dependent upon the Father.
I hoped that the guys in jail would see we are the same way. We were created to be dependent beings without any power of our own. The plan is to receive the Spirit of God and he would be the power for, within and through us. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Take my yoke and learn of me.” He essentially was telling us to join to him and let him lead and be the initiator just as the Father was the initiator in his humanity.
After establishing how Jesus lived his life we went on to read the promise he gave the confused and scared disciples just before his arrest and crucifixion. He told them “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him or know him, but you know him because He abides with you and will be in you.” So you see Jesus modeled for us how our humanity was meant to work. It only works by being joined to him by way of his Spirit.
Two or three of the men tonight spoke up and added to the conversation. Sometimes the others will get agitated by this but tonight it went well. One guy grabbed hold of what I was saying and said, “We’re like the branch.” I said, “That’s exactly right. Jesus said, ‘I am the vine you are the branches.” Another one attempted to express how the Father, Son and Spirit were one and individuals at the same time. I told them I didn’t want to get into a discussion about the Trinity tonight because we could talk about that forever and never fully be satisfied we understand it. I just told them there is an element of mystery surrounding God and asked, “don’t you think its best that way? I mean if we could understand and figure everything out that makes us God doesn’t it? There should be a little bit of mystery there and that’s how we walk by faith, right?”
Over all we had a great time studying and discussing the Word tonight. When we were done a few of the men shook my hand and thanked me for coming. One guy asked me how he could get a Bible and another said, “Thanks for coming. I always get something out of it when you come here. Some that come here get to talking and I don’t know what they’re talking about but you always make sense to me.” You just don’t know how great that is to hear. There are plenty of mysteries about life and God, but when it comes to the Gospel he made it simple. The only requirement is for us to respond to the invitation to come to Jesus Christ for rest. We simply receive him by faith and believe his promises are true.
Written by Louie