Matthew 11:30

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Matthew 11:30  

“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:30

In Matthew 11, we read where Jesus presents His thanks to God , “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27.  The Father has placed all things under the authority of Christ.  “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:35-36.  Everything regarding our relationship with God is in the hands of Jesus.  If anyone does not believe in the Son of God does not have eternal life. But those who do believe have eternal life.  The “all things” of Matthew 11:27 and John 3:35-36 is referring to the kingdom of grace and on all things referring to the salvation of mankind.  Which also means over the church.  “And He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:22-23

And because all authority has been given to Him, He continues with, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.  This is the idea found in John 3 above.  “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36.  Note here the above highlighted words.  Salvation is based completely on Christ.  All this was given to Christ and was put under His authority.  Looking deeper in verse twenty-eight, we see the phrase “weary and heavy-laden”.  This metaphor is speaking of those who are bearing a great and heavy load on their backs.  And every step they take renders the load even more oppressive.  However, the person continues, using great exertions to get to the point where it can be laid down. 

Now, in order to bring clarification, lets look at the next verse. “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.” Matthew 11:29.  This speaks of two types of yokes.  The yoke we need to get rid of is the yoke placed on us by man, and in the case of the first century, the Pharisees and the Scribes.  These two types of teachers placed such a heavy burden upon their disciples that they were, as Jesus said, weary and heavy-laden.  They place such a burden upon them they became exhausted in trying to follow these rules and laws in all ways.  But Jesus told them to take His yoke upon them, His teachings and become His disciples.  And if they did, they would not become weary, but they would find rest for their souls.  And we find rest for our souls because we are not alone, but the Holy Spirit will help us.  “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.” John 14:16-17. 

And finally, because the Spirit of God lives in us, and we believe in Jesus and He is the reason for our salvation and Jesus is our teacher, we do not live under the yoke of man’s teachings or oppression, but we are to be taught and led by Christ, and His yoke is easy and the burden incumbent upon this yoke is light. As our focus verse states, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30.  His is a yoke that is comfortable and a light burden upon us.  The lightness of His yoke depends not only on His personal character as described in verse 29 (for I am gentle and humble in heart), but also on His new interpretation of the Torah, which, in contrast with the scribal concern for detailed regulation, enables a person to see beyond the surface levels of dos and don’ts to the true underlying purpose of God.  Which is loving God and your fellow man.  “Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable than is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:9-12. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Galatians 5:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:1 

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Timothy George in his commentary on Galatians states the following regarding our life in Christ.  “Christian freedom is the precious birthright of every believer, an inestimable blessing.”  And I wholeheartedly agree with him.  Freedom is a wonderful gift bestowed upon us because of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  However, we must be careful how we interpret our focus verse because there are some things which we do not have the freedom to participate in and still remain obedient to Christ.  One way this is practiced is libertinism, which is the practices or habits of life, disregarding any authority in moral or religious matters.  As Paul says later in this chapter, For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13. We must never think our freedom allows us to sin, on the contrary, we must realize that, through Christ, we are free from sin.  “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Romans 6:6. And John puts it this way, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4.

Paul was not speaking of political freedom, as in the statement in our Declaration of Independence where it speaks of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It also does not mean we have the right to believe what we want to believe.  Nor can we interpret any verse any way we choose, for there is a specific idea expressed by God in His word that must be adhered to.  We must understand that for Paul, Christian freedom was always grounded firmly on our relationship with Christ.  Outside of Christ, human life or existence is based on bondage: bondage to sin, to the evil that dominates our world and culture. And very importantly, bondage from the law given to the Jews.  No matter what we try, we cannot do anything that will save ourselves and this is why God sent His Son to die to give us freedom from these things, and then sent His Spirit into our hearts as believers to awaken us to this new life and liberation in Christ.

Paul in Galatians quoted above the following.  “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.“  Galatians 5:13.  Paul is telling them that instead turning our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but as an opportunity to share our love by serving one another.  As Christ served us by coming down and dying, we are called to serve others by lovingly helping them in whatever way needed.  This is what it is all about.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.