Archive for June, 2010

Mark 5

Mark 5 gives us a different look at a couple of stories of Jesus touch on people we read from other gospel writers.  The first involved the man who was filled with the demon “Legion” who was so out of control that nothing or no one could control him.  He wandered around breaking stuff.  The thing that happens when Jesus comes into his life is pretty amazing. “When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him”.  This guy was out of control yet when he came into the presence of the Lord, he was tamed.  Jesus can do that in our lives too.  Things we struggle to keep under control – bad habits, addictions, attitudes or actions can be worked on by the Master if we allow Him to take control.  He is in the business of making us new creatures.  He wants to change us to become like Himself – holy and godly and righteous in God’s eyes.  We just need to be willing to come to Him with our problems and struggles.  Rather than running away and hiding in shame – we need to run to Him as this guy did and put our struggles at His feet.  Mark tells us a bit more detail on the pig herd that was there – he calls it a “great herd….numbering about two thousand”.  That really is a lot of pigs to run into the sea and drown.  You’ll recall that the locals came and asked Jesus to leave after that.  No real consideration to the miracle He had just done of healing the man whom they all feared and was now sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus.  They were worried because of the unexplained change and the loss of property.  Jesus does change things in our lives.  When He comes in and is given the reins – we should not remain the same.  That is part of our issue here in America about being a Christ Follower.  We settle into a comfortable spot and don’t want anything to rock the boat.  We aren’t looking for miracles and life change – we just want comfort and peace.  That is not the way Jesus does things folks.  He came to make a change that never ends because we are never done becoming what God wants us to become.

The big lesson God showed me today is the instruction that Jesus gives this guy after his world is turned right side up.  “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you”.  He didn’t tell him to go write a book, do an interview with the local media of the day – just go tell your story.  That is exactly what God desires us to do as well.  He doesn’t expect us to be biblical scholars that can argue all the scripture passages as a trained student.  He does want us to know it and treasure it in our heart – but we don’t have to go to seminary so we can talk about His Word.  Our most effective tool as a Christ Follower sharing with others is our personal story – our testimony of God’s faithfulness in our life – as that shows what God had done in us.  No one is more of an expert on that topic than we are.  No one can dispute the power of a changed life.  There is no more important thing to be able to share than what God has done in us and through us.  Have you ever written your testimony out on paper?  It is a powerful experience just for yourself, but once you do it you have a ready story to tell.  That is the one thing Jesus asks this guy to do.  Nothing about going to church or to the religious leaders or anywhere else.  He asks him to go home – and that is where we first need to tell our story – particularly to our kids so they know how God has been at work in our life – but then to our friends.  I find so many never talk about their personal walk with Jesus to their family or friends.  They maybe will say something to a total stranger but many don’t want to admit it at home or with friends.  That is the absolute wrong approach. Jesus is at work in us to impact those in our patch first – those who should see a difference in our life because of His handprints – and are wondering what is up.  That is the power of our story – it explains how we life and have been changed.  Don’t miss that impact.  Go home to your friends and tell your story – what the Lord has done for you!

Mark 4

Mark 4 is another look at the parable of the seeds.  As I see it through Mark’s eyes – the reality of how difficult it is for a seed to actually become productive comes to light.  Mark reminds us we have a very real enemy who is waiting to pluck up the seeds – “Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown”.  We can never forget that we are in a real spiritual battle.  There is a very real enemy with three very clear objectives – to kill, steal and destroy – our lives.  He is out to keep us from taking root and becoming what God intends.  The seeds that fall on rocky soil do not put down roots – “they have no root in themselves…..when tribulation or persecution arises….immediately they fall away”.  Here is a newsflash we all need to pay attention to.  Tribulation, persecution, suffering, challenges, hardship, and struggles – they are all coming our way.  We want to believe that once we become a Christ Follower all those bad things stop but they don’t.  We go through things to help us grow and to drive us to dependence on God.  We need to be pushed out of our comfort zones to require us to have faith and to lean on Him.  How do we endure hardship?  We put down roots – deep roots – into God’s Word and into our relationship with Him so when the winds blow and the storms of life come we can hang on because we are well rooted.  It is critical for us to have deep roots to endure.  In raising corn – more than once I have seen the result of shallow roots.  When the winds blow the corn falls over and it never again is able to regain what it was prior.  That is a critical thing to remember.  Roots into His truth are so important in keeping us on track and ready to handle the reality of life.

Mark reminds us that “nothing is hidden…nor is anything secret except to come to light”.  We want to believe we can do things that no one will ever find out about.  That is just not true.  First of all God knows exactly what we are doing.  Be it surfing the web and looking at pornography behind closed doors because it doesn’t hurt anyone (another of Satan’s lies) or striking our spouse because they don’t listen, or verbally abusing our kids because we are tired of their attitude, or taking advantage of someone who isn’t strong enough to stand up for themselves.  There is nothing that happens without God seeing it – every detail – and it will come to light – if not here certainly when we stand before Him on the Day of Judgment.  Are you fooling yourself that way – believing the lie that what happens behind closed doors or in the privacy of your house is ok just because no one else knows?  That is a lie of the enemy.  God will not be mocked.  He will deal with sin and all those things we think we get away with because we are good at hiding them.  It doesn’t have to be the big stuff either.  The word that is spoken inappropriately, the looking at another or stuff with a covetous heart – God will deal with all of it.  We have to live recognizing that He is aware and keeping track – that sin is never excused – it can only be forgiven by the shedding of blood and repentance.  Nothing is hidden.  Bring it into the light and let Jesus deal with it. 

Matthew 8:14-34

In Matthew 8:14-34 Jesus comes to Peter’s house where He finds Peter’s mother in law very sick with a fever.  I love the series of events that happen here.  Check this out:

–       “He touched her hand

–       The fever left her

–       She rose

–       And began to serve Him

Jesus didn’t do anything more than come into Peter’s house – I am sure as his request – and touch his mother in laws hand.  First we need to recognize the power of inviting Jesus into a situation.  So often we wait way too long to ask the Master to be part of what is happening.  After all, we can handle it on our own can’t we?  We only use Jesus in those cases when we have already done everything we can to deal with whatever the issues are.  What a stupid way to live.  Jesus came to give us abundant life – to be in control of our day to day – to provide us so much grace and mercy and love to help us live for Him – and we want to do it all on our own.  Hello world – do you see the ignorance in that approach to life?  Jesus gets involved and things change – not sometime – immediately.  He sets Peter’s mom in law free of the struggle she was facing.  Immediately upon His entry into the situation.  Jesus is still in the miracle business – He is the same Jesus that we read about in scripture – and He wants to have an impact on you and me today.  I love what she does after being healed.  She didn’t lay there and bask in the attention and enjoy the moment.  Scripture says “she rose” – got up and was ready to get in the game.  She demonstrates a very important thing here.  Being involved with Jesus requires action.  As you read scripture you will often see that being a Christ Follower is based on a whole lot of action verbs: go, be, do and on the list goes.  The idea of following Jesus is not – we just sit back and watch Him do His ministry while we observe.  Not at all – we are His hands and feet and we need to be in the middle of what He wants to do.  We see that here.  After Peter’s mom in law got up – she “began to serve Him”.  Does that describe you?  You have been healed from sin if you are a Christ Follower?  Have you arose and gotten active in serving?   We aren’t called to be a bump on a log sitting there quietly on the sidelines.  Jesus died to set us free so we can serve!

Another key thing Jesus teaches us here is what it means to be His follower.  Several approach with a desire to follow Him – at least that is what they say.  Let me do this or that, and then I will follow.  Not how it works.  If we are to be a Christ Follower we have to be willing to do just that – follow Him wholeheartedly and completely.  Being a believer is not a part time gig.  It isn’t something we do as it fits our schedule.  It isn’t a part in deal.  Being a Christ Follower means exactly that – we follow Him and Him alone all the time – 24/7/365 whether it is convenient or easy or simple is not the deal – it is all in all the time following Jesus.  There will be plenty of times that it is far from simple or easy.  But the good thing about being a Christ Follower is that not only do we have a leader who already wrote the story and was the reason for the eternal victory – but He will go so far as empower us to follow when our own human frailty doesn’t get it done.  He carries us in His strength when we can’t do it alone.  He never leaves nor forsakes us – He is always there to encourage us and lead us on.  What is required on our part? To simply follow – to give up self and put Christ on the throne – to turn from our sinful ways – repent – and invite Him to take control in our life.  Are you a Christ Follower?  Is Jesus really sitting on the throne of your heart?  That is what it takes.  Going to church is a good thing but it doesn’t cut it.  Reading your Bible and attending meetings can be good – but that doesn’t save you.  Only a personal and deep relationship with the Savior does it.  Make sure you are there.  Tomorrow may be too late!

Luke 8:26-56

Luke 8:26-56 tells a couple powerful stories about Jesus.  He has sailed across the water and as He arrives He is met by a man who has been demon possessed for many years.  This guy comes up to Jesus and the demons ask Jesus not to banish them to the abyss but to let them move into a herd of pigs that were nearby. Jesus allows that and they come out of the man and into the pigs that immediately “rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned”.  You can imagine what the herdsmen were thinking – jobs on the line – and they rush off to town to tell people what happened.  They were responsible to care for these pigs and now they were in trouble.  The townspeople come to see what has happened and they find the newly freed man “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind”.  This guy had been out of control for years, unable to be shackled and controlled because of the demons living in him, but now he is sitting there at he feet of the Master and learning.  I can only imagine the awe they would be feeling.  But it was too much to understand, and they “asked Him to depart from them”.  So here is Jesus who has just done a miracle but since the people could not comprehend what He had done, they send Him packing. They don’t want to get outside their comfort zone – God needed to stay in their box – and they send Jesus away.  It is easy to sit here and say they were idiots.  They had seen the power of God manifest in the life of this wild man who was freed from the demons and a history that they all knew.  But because they couldn’t understand or control it, they wanted no part of it.  “So He got into the boat and returned”.  Do you send Jesus away?  When you can’t understand what is going on, do you push Him away or run to Him?  We all need to run to the Savior all the time.

As Jesus gets to the other side the people “were all waiting for him”.  That is quite a contrast isn’t it. One side of the lake chases Him away, the other side is there waiting for Him.  I’ll let you guess where He does His work.  We need to be like these folks who are waiting for Jesus to do a work in us.  As He comes ashore Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, “implored Him to come to His house”.  His daughter was very sick and on the edge of death and he knew that Jesus could fix it.  Jesus begins to move toward Jairus’ house and as he goes a woman who had been struggling with a medical condition for 12 years “came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment and immediately” was healed.  She didn’t talk to Him.  She didn’t pray with Him.  She simply came up behind and touched His garment and Jesus immediately says “someone touched me”.  The disciples can’t understand what the big deal is as they are in the middle of a mob that is pushing to get close to Jesus.  But He knew someone had received the power of healing thorugh faith.  She came trembling and Jesus said “your faith has made you well”.  Did you see that?  It wasn’t the touch of the garment that healed her – it was faith in the Healer.  She believed and when that faith came into contact with Jesus a miracle happened.  As He began to move again toward Jairus’ house, someone comes to deliver the news that the daughter was dead.  Jesus doesn’t even slow down.  He says these words: “Do not fear, only believe, and she will be well”.  How can that be Jesus?  She is dead.  It can be because Jesus has the power over both life and death. He has power over all things.  He is not limited by what we can see or understand.  Jesus tells them that the girl was only sleeping, “and they laughed at Him, knowing that she was dead”.  But someone must have believed because Jesus went into her room and takes her hand and helps her out of bed.  Jesus brings the dead to life.  There is nothing too big for Him to handle in your life or mine.  He is in total and absolute control.  He is God and stands ready to get involved in our life just like He did here.  The question is – are you seeking Him and asking Him to come in and make a difference.  Do you believe?  Don’t miss the power of the Master.  He wants to change our lives.  He wants to make a difference that only He can make.  Don’t miss the power of Jesus!

Luke 8:1-26

Luke 8:1-26 tells us a couple stories we have looked at previously.  Jesus is on the road ministering in the cities and villages “proclaiming and bringing the good news” to the people.  He had a mission and was singleminded about it.  He shared the truth of the Kingdom of God.  Scripture tells us “the twelve were with Him”.  It is important to note that Jesus had the disciples by His side and poured His life into them daily.  They were together and ministered to the people together.  He was, afterall, the Son of God and really didn’t need their help.  They were mostly observers of His work.  But since God’s plan for the world is to have Christ Followers proclaim and bring the good news just like Jesus did, they needed to be with Him to learn how to do that.  And that is still God’s plan – to have us as Christ Followers share the good news.  We aren’t going to get the luxury of spending three years with the Master watching and learning how to do it.  But we do have the written Word which captures how Jesus shared, and we need to study it and live it so we can share it with those in our patch.  Jesus gives us the story of the sower through Luke’s eyes and one thing that stands out to me in Luke’s writing of it is in regard to the good soil.  When they hear the Word they “hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience”.  We need to grab onto the Word and hold on to it tightly.  It needs to be the center of our life.  And we need to remember that fruit comes over time – not some immediate result – but one that happens as God’s truth grows in us and develops and blooms and then yields a harvest.  It isn’t immediate, but there is fruit if we truly are a Christ Follower.  That is where a lot of us fail today.  We are not committed to bearing fruit.  We want to sit in the stands and watch others do the work of the ministry.  But Jesus taught the twelve to teach truth, and that is what He expects from us.  We are not to be mere spectators, but to share life with those around us so we bear fruit. 

Jesus goes on to say more about that when he says “no one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see light”.  When you become a Christ Follower, a light is lit inside you that needs to shine all about Jesus.  We aren’t to accept Christ as our Savior and then hide that under the bed.  People should not have to guess whether or not Jesus is Lord.  It should be obvious – extremely obvious – to all around us that our light is shining and we have been changed.  Does that describe your faith?  Do people you work with every day know your faith?  Luke goes on to tell us of the boat ride where Jesus falls asleep.  He had been ministering and got on the boat with His disciples and decides to take a nap as they go across the lake.  “A windstorm came down on the lake….they were filling with water and were in danger”.  So what would you do?  Yep – they went and woke Him just like I would have.  Jesus “awoke and rebuked the wind” and things calmed down.  Can you imagine that – picture what happened?  Life feels totally out of control for the twelve and then Jesus steps in and it is calm.  He still does that today in our lives.  He is in control today just like He was then.  Jesus was frustrated with them though.  “Where is your faith” was his question.  Sometime I think the same thing.  They have seen him in action over and over doing miracles and healing people.  How could they doubt He had even this situation under control?  But then I look in the mirror and ask myself the same thing.  When I get all worked up about how something is going, rather than trust Him and take my concern to the One who can actually do something about it, I worry and fret and whine and fail to trust.  That is what God is looking for in us – to trust and obey and walk with Him in His truth.

Matthew 13:31-58

Matthew 13:31-58 continues Jesus teaching in parables.  He talks about the mustard seed which is “the smallest of all seeds” yet when it grows up it is “larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree”.  He also talks about leaven in the flour, the hidden treasure in a field, the pearl of great value, and the fishing net thrown into the sea.  He talks in parables for a reason.  It was “to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet”.  Jesus is fulfilling prophecy as he teaches in parables to the people.  The disciples ask him to go back and explain the parable of the weeds to them.  We read that yesterday so as a refresher – remember that someone comes and sows weeds amongst the wheat crop and they have to be separated at harvest.  Here are the pieces of that parable and Jesus explanation of their role:

–      “One who sows = the Son of Man

–      Field = world

–      Good seed = children of the kingdom

–      Weeds = sons of the evil one

–      Enemy who sowed = the devil

–      Harvest = close of the age

–      Reapers = angels”

Lots of players in this parable, but Jesus is clear as He gives the meaning and it is a very important parable for us to understand.  He teaches: “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so will it be at the close of the age.  The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and law-breakers and throw them into the fiery furnace…..then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father”.  Jesus tells us that the day is coming when we will be separated based on how we have dealt with sin.  Those who fail to deal with it will deal with judgment and face a very hot eternity.  This is critical stuff – eternity is a very long time and how we live and deal with our sin problem will determine how we spend it.  Jesus gives another view when He explains the parable of the net.  He says “the angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace”.  It will not be well for those who have not cleaned up their life.  We can’t do that on our own.  It is only by the gift of grace through Jesus that sin can be taken away and we can enter into a right relationship with the Father.  He alone is our way of getting right with God.  We have to make sure we are taking care of the sin in our life.  It isn’t optional. It is the truth of God’s Word that we must address.  Jesus goes back home to teach and preach and finds people unwilling to listen and believe.  In fact, “they took offense at Him” and “He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief”.  Don’t fall into that response to Jesus.  He is the Savior, the one and only way for us to enter eternity with God.  Don’t be like the people of His hometown and miss the wonder of His grace.  Seek and find Him today!  

Matthew 13:1-30

Matthew 13:1-30 tells the story of Jesus and a couple farm parables.  He is seated on a boat as people are gathered on the beach to hear Him teach.  He teaches in parables – tells them a story with a meaning – and most don’t understand what He is saying.  So He explains it to His disciples.  You may remember this parable about the sower.  He sows seed on four types of soil:

–       “hard ground along the path

–       rocky ground

–       weedy ground

–       good ground

Each type of soil has a different result.  The outcome is based on the kind of soil the seed falls into.  And Jesus is clear about the results:

–       “hard ground – the birds came and devoured them

–       rocky ground – they sprang up….but when the sun rose they were scorched…..they withered away

–       weedy ground – the thorns grew up and choked them

–       good ground – produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty

Jesus makes it clear that we need to make sure the Word of God is planted in good soil.  These soil types are a picture of our heart and how we receive His truth.  He goes on to tell us what the problem is with people and the heart:

 “For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them”.  He is describing the condition of the people then, but it applies to us today.  We allow our spiritual sense to grow dull.  We stop listening to God’s truth and stop seeing His hand and we fall away lie seed on the hard, or rocky or weedy soil.  Jesus is talking to you and me.  We have to be careful not to let His truth fall anywhere but on good soil – on a heart that is receptive and listening and willing to obey.  He goes on to explain in more detail what happens as he interprets the parable for His disciples:

–       “hard ground – the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart

–       rocky ground – receives it with joy….has no root….endures for a while….when tribulation or persecution arises….immediately falls away

–       weedy ground – hears the word….the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word….it proves unfruitful

–       good ground- hears the word and understands it…..bears fruit and yields

Jesus has sown the truth into our lives.  The question is what kind of soil it will find in our heart.  Will that truth fall on good soil that will grow and yield up to a hundredfold?  Or will it be choked out, burned away, or snatched before it bears fruit?  We need to be cultivating our hearts to make sure we are giving Him a good place to plant His Word.  Then it will grow and make a huge harvest.  How is the soil in your heart?  Is it ready to produce fruit leading ot a great harvest?  That is God’s desire!

Luke 11

Luke 11 begins with these words: “now Jesus was praying”.  Have you ever considered why Jesus would pray?  He is, after all, the very Son of God.  He had a direct line to the Father.  Why did He pray?  For the same reasons we need to pray – to be plugged into the source of life and truth.  And to set an example for us how to live. Jesus gives His disciples a model prayer here again in chapter 11 as they ask Him to “teach us to pray”.  My experience with prayer is that we learn it best by practicing it.  We learn it best when we do it time and again.  We learn it best when we make it a habit.  Jesus tells the story of the man who has unexpected guests and goes to a friend for some bread to feed them.  Because of persistence and asking, we are told his friend will “rise and give him whatever he needs”.  Prayer is a lot like that. In fact – scripture promises us that if we “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”.  Bottom line is that God answers prayer.  He is there and hears and answers.  Not always my way, on my timeline, but He answers.  The bigger question is – have I asked?  Did I spend time with Him pouring out my heart asking, and seeking, and knocking?  Too often I take the approach that since God knows all I just assume He knows what I want.  While that may be true – He does want us to come to Him in prayer and ask.  Scripture tells us that time and again.  It is about the relationship.  It is about spending time with Him.

Jesus goes on to heal and it says the “people marveled”.  Can you imagine what it was like to see this man heal people and set them free from things that had controlled them – many for their entire lives.  Jesus set them free, and He wants to do the same for you and me.  He is in the healing business today.  Not just physical ailments, but all kinds of things that chain us up.  Jesus came that we can have life abundant and be set free from the things that prevent that.  And while being healed sounds pretty special and fantastic, check out what Jesus says is even more important: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  Obedience is the key to a fantastic relationship with the Father.  It is very high on His list.  Are you walking that way?  Is living a life pleasing to God your top priority?  It needs to be.  We need to “be careful lest the light in you be darkness”.  Disobedience to God’s truth and commands puts us in a rather precarious position.  Don’t live there.  Get your life on track and walk with Him.  Jesus stand ready to help us – we just need to put Him in His place as Lord and follow the direction He will give.  Obedience – trust and obey – for there is no other way!

Matthew 12:22-50

Matthew 12:22-50 is a section that has Jesus laying it out for the religious leaders of the day.  They are challenging His ability to heal – claiming that He must be of Satan to be able to cast out demons.  Jesus makes it clear that they are way off base.  He explains that a house divided cannot stand, and that it certainly is not the power that He has.  Then He makes this statement: “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”.  He plants the seed that not only they might be wrong, but if they are, then they have to deal with the reality that He is the Son of God.  He goes on to make it clear that He is not amused at their position calling them a “brood of vipers”.  Jesus calls it like it is and doesn’t sugar coat His interaction with people.  Truth is truth whether it is popular or not.  He wasn’t in a popularity contest and He lives like that His entire life.  He tells us “the tree is known by its fruit”.  That is true for us today.  What is your fruit saying about you?   Is your life producing good fruit, or does that fruit look another way.  How we live matters – it indicates the condition of our heart.

Then Jesus tells us the importance of our words.  “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.  Ever wonder what is really happening in your heart?  Listen to what and how you say things.  That will give you a really good indication of what is happening down deep.  The mouth doesn’t do any more than reflect what is in our heart.  Does it matter what we say?   Or how we say it?  Jesus says “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak”.  It seems like it will matter quite a bit.  Words mean something.  For some of us we just turn on the faucet of words and let them flow without really considering the impact.  First thing that comes to mind just comes out.  Others of us don’t hardly utter any words at all.  Both indicate the heart.  All words indicate the heart.  We need to guard our tongue carefully.  James talks about that quite a bit.  Words have the power to build up or to tear down.  They can make a person’s day, or destroy it.  Jesus tells us that words matter and we will give an account.  We need to be careful with them.  But the real issue is the reflection of the heart and our need to get our heart right with God.  What matters in God’s eyes about being right?  “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother”.  It comes back to obedience.  Want to get right with God.  Do what He has told us to do – live how He has told us to live.  Jesus wants us to experience His love and be part of God’s family by getting our heart right and walking in obedience.  Are you living that way?  Does your heart express words that glorify Him?     

Matthew 11

Matthew 11 reviews some familiar territory for us.  Jesus has finished “instructing his twelve disciples” and goes on to teach and preach in their cities.  Remember that the definition of disciple is that of being a learner.  So Jesus is truly creating disciples here as He teaches them and pours His life into them.  That is what it means to be His disciple today too.  We need to be learners – to seek His truth and follow His ways.  Jesus then talks about John the Baptist and gives a lesson to the religious leaders and others around Him about John’s mission to be a prophet around His coming.  Jesus calls out the “cities where most of His mighty works had been done” as cursed because “they did not repent”.  When Jesus comes up against us – it should cause a change and a reaction toward holiness.  Jesus is about life change – not just passing by.  He came that we might have life and have it abundantly which requires that we go through some change.  Those who hear His word but ignore it – well He is pretty clear here that the outcome won’t be what they expect.  He tells us that some of these places would be worse off that Sodom, which was totally ahnilated so you know that failing to listen and act is not acceptable behavior.  So that is the majority of this chapter.

But then Jesus gives us a promise – two verses that we need to really dig into and understand.  “Come to me, all who labor and are 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”.  What a promise for us to cling to.  Does Jesus tell us life will be easy and a cake walk?  Not really His message I don’t think.  But let’s look at what He says:

  • Come to me – Jesus wants us to bring our burden to Him.  He is ready to receive us
  • all who labor and are heavy laden – He understands our situation.  He is calling us to bring our load
  • and I will give you rest – He stands ready to offer us relief.  Jesus is in control, has the power, and will give us rest
  • Take my yoke upon you – a yoke puts us in relationship with Him, together pulling toward the right goal
  • and learn from me – He has the answers to our problems and needs.  He is the way for us to live an abundant life
  • for I am gentle and lowly in heart – Jesus is not Lording over us.  He is seeking to serve us and to change our lives
  • and you will find rest for your souls – He wants to give us real rest, down deep and meaningful rest
  • For my yoke is easy – the only way a yoke becomes easy is when the other partner is pulling much more than their share
  • and my burden is light – He will do that – do the heavy lifting so we can experience rest because of Him

Jesus went to the cross to give us rest and freedom from the wages of sin.  He wants to set us free, to carry our load, and to help us experience the rest that only He can give us.  We need to be willing to come to Him with our burden and then let Him carry us.  Too often we are stubborn and want to do it all ourselves.  He has not only offered, He is calling us to come to Him.  Don’t do it alone.  Let Jesus be your yoke mate and give you rest!

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