We live in a heavy laden culture. Life itself is heavy simply on its own. Like a person carrying many shopping bags, so is life. We carry the everyday activities of life (kids, marriage, bills, job, health) as well as the bad things (addictions, relationship breakdown, job loss, sickness) and the good things (serving, leadership, discipline). Most of us are just trying to get by. The rest of Jesus sounds so promising but at times can feel so fleeting. The rest is of an internal state of stability not moved by the circumstances of life.Yoke
(Matt 11:28-30) Before we speak about rest we must first understand the yoke. Jesus came to break the yoke of religion with the yoke of relationship. Only through surrender to the yoke of Jesus can we find true rest. A yoke was a wooden farming apparatus that yoked a pair of oxen (a strong one and a weak one) together. They would plough a field together. It spoke of a metaphor of surrender, slavery and submission in Bible times (see Lev 26:13, Isa 58:6, Eze 34:23-27). We all have a yoke. A yoke is the thing we cling to that helps us deal with the weight of life (e.g. career, pleasure, religion).
There are 2 false yokes that are NOT what Jesus came to bring:
1. Selfish Yoke
: This yoke things coming to Jesus means no more problems and burdens. We think we can place all our burdens on him and live as we please.
2. Religious Yoke
: This yoke is all about proving and earning the love of God hoping you carry the burdens well enough to please God
Jesus actually offers a third way. He is the strong ox that yokes Himself together with us in the bond of relationship through which we can find rest no matter our situation.Rest
: Rest is founded on relationship (John 15:15). We must surrender to His yoke (daily) in order to find rest for our burdens.
: Rest is a gift (Eph 2:8) of grace. We live FROM grace not FOR grace.
: We must learn to live holy lives from the foundation of grace (John 15:14)Discussion Questions
1. What are some of the burdens in your life now (everyday, bad and good)?
2. How restful is your life?
3. What kind of false yoke is your greatest temptation (self or religious)?
4. What does it mean for Jesus to be the strong ox?
5. What does it mean to have the yoke first and burdens second?
6. How can we receive grace on a daily basis in practical terms (prayer, gratitude)?
7. What are some areas the yoke of Jesus is wanting you to grow and learn in?
8. Finish by praying for rest to enter each other’s world.