The other day, I tried to take a nap in a grocery store parking lot, in a semi-reclined Suburban passenger seat. The broken A/C was blowing hot volcanic gas on the right side of my face. My legs were curled up and my aching 30-something-year-old, four-child-bearing-hips were cramping. It was uncomfortable rest. Almost offensive.
“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 lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28).
Have you ever wondered why Jesus uses the imagery of a yoke when he invites us to rest in Him?
A yoke is an instrument used to bind and drive animals, so why does Jesus say this? It seems pretty backward. Almost offensive.
Way back in the beginning of Matthew 11: 1-3:
“When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John (John the Baptist) heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?'”
John the Baptist was in prison, (most likely an uncomfortable place) hearing stories about Jesus and wondering, is this really the guy? (As a side note here, this is such a comfort to me. This is the man promised to prepare the way for Jesus and even he had questions and uncertainties.) He asks, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
That question is amazing: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look to another?”
Let’s get real for a minute:
Have you ever been in the context of uncomfortable circumstances and wondered, “Is God going to show up?”
Have you ever sat and listened to someone else’s amazing testimony and thought, “But is that the same God I seem to be waiting on to do some miraculous thing in me and my situation?”
“Is the Jesus I hear everyone else in the church talking about, really the ‘guy’?”
“Is He really the way out of my suffering?”
“Should I just look to another?”
We are often tempted, especially in times of weariness or heavyladen-ness, to “Look to another”.
I know I have. We are going to see that the rest of Jesus’ words, all the way up to his invitation of rest (offensive rest), are an answer to this question: “Should I look to another?”
But before moving on to the rest of His words…today, let’s uncomfortably rest on these questions:
*In what ways do we look to another when we are tired of waiting for our circumstances, suffering, or trial to change?
*How quickly do we give up on Jesus and His ability to work miracles, turning our eyes to another hope?
*Which ‘others’ do we look to for salvation from our weariness or suffering? (Job, spouse, change of circumstances, physical fitness, kids, alcohol, sex, a home-run sermon, an amazing worship service…???)
*Why are we so quick to forget that He is the promised One?