Following Jesus is No Burden


Feeling overwhelmed by life? Tired of the demands of religion? Burdened by your own failures and inadequacies?

Jesus came to lighten your burdens and take away the useless and irrelevant parts of life. God has made knowing Him and having a relationship with Him–very simple. It is we who heap upon ourselves and others, great demands and priorities which God never intended. When we allow these things to crowd out a simple and joyful relationship with the Lord–we are robbed of our joy and lose sight of what is really important.

Isaiah details the character of the Messiah as one who is meek and gentle.

Isaiah 42:2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.

When Jesus is described by the narrative of the New Testament, we see that the entire point of His presence here on earth was to lighten and make simple, the lives of all those who come to believe in Him.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you 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.

It is interesting that the personality of the Messiah is predicted. It would be enough to simply tell us that a Savior will be coming and then fulfill that promise by amazing circumstances. In addition to revealing when and how the Messiah will arrive, the Bible also predicts the kind of person He will be.

It appears that the intention of God in revealing these precise details is to leave us with overwhelming evidence for the true identity of the Messiah.

Isaiah said that the Messiah will not cry out, nor raise His voice. This is an indication that He will be of meek and humble character, gentle and not ostentatious.

For many people, it is Jesus’ humility, gentleness, and overwhelming love that draws people to Him. The religious leaders of Jerusalem were very prideful men who treated people as their servants. Jesus spoke to everyone as if He genuinely cared for them. His words and commanding presence disarmed even the most obstinate and callous of individuals. Jesus led by serving. He gave all that He had until finally, they killed Him. Even in death Jesus continued to bestow gifts—even to those who would never believe; He paid for all sins. By His resurrection Jesus left us with assurance that everything He had said and claimed about Himself was true.

Instead of heaping burdens on His followers, as all other religious leaders had done, Jesus was set upon lightening or removing the loads that people carry.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Jesus seemed to know people in greater detail and with more depth than any spiritual leader or great teacher. He understands our fears and how many things cause us great anxiety and despair. Nine times Jesus began His opening statement in the Gospels with the words: Do not be afraid. Jesus said this often because He understood that we are so often afraid.

John 6:20 But Jesus said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

When people were overcome by the weight of sin and failures, sickness, or discouragement, Jesus always provided meaningful answers tethered with great grace, mercy, and love.

When the time arrived for Jesus to expound and define how a person could find the forgiveness of his sins and eternal life, Jesus explained the procedure simply and concisely. It is the intention of God that there be just one uncomplicated and effective means by which all human beings can be saved. It is only men who seek to complicate life and confound nearly everything so that it is hard to understand and difficult to accomplish.

Salvation in Jesus is simple:

Come to God exactly as you are.
Be sorry for your sins and willing to change your life.
Receive Jesus by faith and be saved.
Continue to believe and live for Jesus the rest of your life.

While Jesus was upon the cross—dying for us, there were also two thieves who were dying on either side of Him. One mocked Jesus; the other with a humble heart, sincere in his request, simply asked Jesus to remember Him.

Jesus turned to this broken man and assured him that in just a few hours, he would be with Him in Paradise.

Luke 23:42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.

We should notice here that there was no altar call, no specific evangelistic program by a church, no particular method of baptism, no requirement to speak in tongues, no demand to perform a good work before Jesus would save him.

This dying man simply asked Jesus to save him–with a true heart, and He did.

Jesus came to make one clear and effective way to God possible—by the sacrifice of His life for us on the cross. All those who come to Him for the forgiveness of their sins, based on the sacrifice He completed, receive eternal life.

Jesus intended that the way to God and eternal life would be very simple to understand and within easy reach of every person: Simply come to Him with all of your sins and unload every burden into His care. In exchange, He will lay very few burdens on you. All Jesus requires is that we are willing to turn from our sins and live our life for Him within the unique and individual abilities He gave us.

If you find yourself under a heavy burden. If the stresses of life have become more than you can handle—it is for certain that you have taken upon yourself a yoke that was not designed for you.

Come to Me, all you 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.

The yoke is a device that was placed over the shoulders of an animal that enabled it to pull a heavy load. Each wooden yoke was hand crafted to fit comfortably over the shoulders of the particular animal it was made for. If a yoke was placed upon the shoulders of an animal for which it was not designed, the weight of the burden would wear a sore onto the back of the poor, ill-fitted animal.

The Yoke[1]

Jesus has designed a light burden for each of us who follow Him. He made a plan for your life which includes work, pleasure, friends, and family—which will fit your particular personality and abilities. If you feel overly burdened at the present, it is possible that you have taken on tasks, a job, a relationship, or responsibilities that the Lord never intended for you. The best way to find the will of the Lord for your life is to first pray and ask Him to direct you, with all of your heart. Next, venture out in faith into the areas of life which you feel led. Very often, the things which are near and dear to our heart are placed there by the Lord so that we will be led into areas where He has called and equipped us to accomplish. Be careful to be patient, and give everything lots of time. Try to not do too much too fast. Relax and enjoy each slow step along the way and don’t forget to thank and praise the Lord every new day for each blessing you enjoy.

If you are already tired of trying to do things your own way, it is not too late to come to Jesus today and make a change. He promises to lighten your load of guilt and regret and help you carry the burdens of your life. When you are weary, He will give you rest. When you have no power to continue, He will renew your strength.

Isaiah’s prophecy describes the Messiah as a gentle, loving leader who will carry us if needed—all the way through life, into the arms of our Father in heaven. All we must do is come to Him and surrender our lives.

[1] Illustration by Rob Robinson

Categories: Complicating a Relationship with God, Errors of the Christian Church, Following Jesus, His Compassion, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus Church, Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus, The Compassion of Jesus

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