Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
6) Matthew 11 - Verses 28 through 30
All ye that labor and are heavy laden. Upon first reading, this offer seems limited to a single, particular group; the
down-trodden, oppressed masses. But reflection reveals that sooner or later every human being finds himself
caught by unexpected changes in life that leave him sorrowing, burdened, anguished and frustrated. The ancient
Hebrew understood this, and they expressed themselves in what makes an excellent and striking background for
Jesus' bold declaration.
It is wise to understand that many of our trials are of our own choosing, because they are based upon some concept
of life that holds us firm in that situation. We feel bound by our principles to remain in that situation and suffer the
Too often men measure life by an unreal standard and then scourge themselves mercilessly for failing to meet it.
Ironically, such false standards are not the things that truly matter in the find analysis. It is not physical work or
mental activity that drains us, leaving us weak, frustrated and burdened for one day's work. We were designed to
work and work well. We function best when we are profitably and contentedly working. But here is the catch: much
of our work is neither profitable nor pleasing.
Our hopes far exceed our realization. The tedium of routine sets in to dull our interest and increase both our
boredom and our fatigue. On the other hand, the goals that Jesus sets before us, and the prospects of realizing
them, gives us direction, stimulation, security, and, as a consequence, real rest, even though we may have even
more work to do and more responsibility as His disciples than ever before.
This constant measuring oneself with God's perfection is a discouraging, heart-breaking disappointment (Galatians
5:1, Acts 15:10, Romans 7:21-24). In the end, without the victory and power of Jesus, ours is a losing battle to be
This invitation, then, is Christ's answer to the dubious and the desperate who are afraid that His ideals are
unreachable. Jesus knows that, without His life in us there is even more bondage and frustration in trying to imitate
Him, than there is in any other law.
The scribes could not give rest to souls which He can promise - they bind heavy burdens.
Most of us are "walking civil wars", because of our divided heart. We are determined to try to serve both God and
Mammon, have our fling with the flesh and still reap a harvest of righteousness in the Spirit.
Matthew 11:29 - Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. The discipline, obligation and even bondage (Isaiah 9:4,
1st Timothy 6:1, 1st Kings 22:4, Psalms 2:3, Jeremiah 5:5, Jeremiah 27:1 through Jeremiah 28:17, Song of Solomon
7:9, Acts 15:10, Galatians 5:1, 2nd Corinthians 6:14). But this very contrast suggests that even Jesus' yoke is
definitely a kind of control, an obligation, a discipline. If so, then He is making it crystal-clear that He is to be our
Lord - He is not merely our Friend and Example.
Why is His burden light?
1) Because our conscience approves of this burden.
2) Because love lightens our work, making us less conscious of the load.
3) Because Jesus' own Spirit empowers us to bear it.
4) Because the longer we submit to His discipline, the easier it becomes. What at first required a great deal of
effort becomes easy and more enjoyable with time.
5) Because we are encouraged by a valid, unshaken hope which has power to keep us steady under our
discipline, where otherwise we would break and fall.