Remember in chapter ten, Jesus had just appointed of the disciples twelve that He had called apostles and He sent them out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They were not to go to the cities of the Gentiles, they were not to go to the Samaritans, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They were to heal the sick, they were to cleanse the leper, they were to proclaim the glorious day of the Lord. And then having sent them out, chapter eleven.
It came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of the commanding of his twelve, [that is, the commandments of their going forth of the type and ministry they should have]he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. (11:1)
As we mentioned, they went out sort of as advance teams for Christ. They were to go in the villages and share of what Jesus Christ was doing; and as they had left, He then began to follow. Remember He told them they would not complete their whole circuit of the villages until He had come. And so, He followed after them to teach and preach in their cities.
Now when John…
[the Baptist–who at the present time was in prison, as the result of his denouncing Herod Antipas for his immorality. What had happened is that Herod Antipas, who was ruling over the Galilee region, had gone to Rome and there he seduced his brother’s wife. And when he came back to the Galilee, he divorced his wife and began to live with his brother’s wife, Herodias. John the Baptist condemned him for this. Spoke out against the sin. And as the result of speaking out against the ruler, John was in prison. Now when John…]
had heard in prison the works of Christ, and so he sent two of his disciples, (11:2)
And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? (11:3)
We remember that when Jesus came to be baptized by John, that John, first of all, was reluctant to baptize Jesus. He said, You should be baptizing me. And then when Jesus was baptized, the heavens were opened and the Spirit of God descended upon Him. And John knew then that Jesus was the Messiah. Now John had been sent to declare to the people that the Messiah was on the way. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths, make straight the paths in the wilderness.” He was a forerunner of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t certain who the Messiah was until the baptism of Jesus and when the Spirit descended and abided on Him, he realized this is the Messiah. For John said, The one that sent me to baptize said, ‘the one upon whom the Spirit descends and remains is the one.’ So John then began to point his disciples to Jesus. As Jesus was passing by, John was there with some of his disciples and he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” And the disciples came and they followed Jesus. So John spoke about how that Jesus must increase, he must decrease. He said he was the friend of the bridegroom, he rejoiced when the bridegroom was exalted, as the friend of the bridegroom.
So now John is in prison. He hears of what Jesus is doing, but probably was a little impatient. It would be hard for a man like John to be in prison. He didn’t even like to be in a house. He was an outdoorsman. He was a man of the open air. He was a rough individualist. He had a camel skin coat. He had a diet of locusts and wild honey. He was just really an outdoorsman, and to be confined to a prison would be extremely difficult for this kind of a man. He, no doubt, had the same concept of the Messiah that was the general feeling and thought concerning the Messiah by the people of that day; in that the Messiah would establish and set up the kingdom of God immediately upon the earth, and that the Roman rule would be done away with, and God’s glorious kingdom was going to be established.
Now, that was the hope of the people, that was the expectation of the Messiah. His wonderful reign and setting up the reign of God’s kingdom over the earth. Probably tired of being in jail, wondering what was taking Jesus so long to take over the control, he sent his disciples to Jesus with the question, Are you the one that we are to look for, or shall we start looking for someone else? In other words, let’s get the show on the road. Let’s get things moving. Let’s get the Romans out of here and let’s get the kingdom established.
And Jesus answered them and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which you do hear and see: (11:4)
The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (11:5)
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (11:6)
So Jesus was doing the works of the Messiah. In the thirty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, as Isaiah was prophesying the great day of the Lord, the day of God’s kingdom upon the earth, he declares that the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose, blossom abundantly, there will be joy and singing. And then he speaks about how that the eyes (verse five) of the blind shall be open, the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, the lame will leap as a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will sing, for in the wilderness shall waters break out in streams in the desert. And so, it’s happening. The blind are seeing, the lame are walking, the dead are being raised from the dead, and so He just rather than affirming by a vocal affirmation, Yes, I am the Messiah; He said the works speak for themselves. Just go tell John what you see, tell John the works that are happening. “And the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is he whoever is not offended in Me.”
And as they departed
[to go back to John with what they had seen],
Jesus then talked to the multitudes concerning John, [He said] What did you go out in the wilderness to see?
Now John was in the wilderness, he was baptizing down in the Jordan river, and multitudes were coming out of the villages and from Jerusalem down to hear this weird character, to hear his preaching, his fiery sermons, and many were being baptized. It was a real revival that was going on. Multitudes would go down to see John and they pretty much respected him as a prophet of God. And so Jesus questions, Now what did you go down to see there in the wilderness?
A reed shaken in the wind? (11:7)
Now these reeds were common there along the banks of the Jordan river; these reeds would blow in the wind. Did you go down just to see the reeds blowing in the wind?
What went you out for to see?
[Really, what drew you there?]
A man clothed in soft raiment?
[Were you looking for some fellow with silk garments? Soft raiment? And then, sort of in a perhaps a bit of satire, He said]
Those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ palaces. (11:8)
They’re not in kings’ dungeons. John was in the kings’ dungeons. But those in soft raiment… what did you go down to see, some fellow that was dressed fancy?
But what did you go out to see? A prophet?
[And then Jesus said,]
yes, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. (11:9)
For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee (11:10).
And so, a combination of a couple of prophecies concerning the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist, that come out of Isaiah and out of Malachi. Jesus declares that John was the fulfillment of that prophecy. More than a prophet, he was the one of whom it was written, He would be a messenger before the Messiah, prepare the way for Him.
And verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:
That’s pretty high commendation of John because you have to think of Moses, you have to think of, he was a prophet, Samuel, there was Elijah, Elisha, there was Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, but “among those that were born of women there wasn’t a greater than John the Baptist.”
notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (11:11).
Amazing. You see, John’s message was one of impending judgment–calling them to repentance, speaking of the day of the vengeance of our God, and calling upon them to repent before the day of judgment. John did not know the tremendous extent of God’s love for sinning man. All he knew was the judgment of God that was going to come upon sinners. The great love of God for sinful man was manifested in the death of Jesus Christ. John did not see that. He did not know that.
You today who have come to know the love of God through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice of His life for you really have a greater revelation and a greater understanding of God than did John the Baptist. Because to us is revealed the glorious love of God for sinning, failing man. So ‘though John was the greatest of all of the Old Testament prophets, yet the person who is “least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” The least saint here tonight has a greater understanding of the true nature of God, the love of God, because that was manifested to us when Christ died for the ungodly. And so that is what is meant when Jesus said, “He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,
John suffered violence. He was, at that moment, in the dungeon there by the Dead Sea in one of the fortresses, and Jesus… of course, John was soon to be beheaded, Jesus was to be crucified, the kingdom of heaven was suffering violence. This was true throughout the Old Testament. Those true prophets of God that dared to challenge the people, dared to rebuke them for their wickedness, were stoned, were martyred, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,”
and the violent take it by force. (11:12)
An encouragement really to press in to the kingdom of God.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. (11:13)
All of the Old Testament, up until John…
And if you will receive it, this is Elijah, which was to come. (11:14)
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (11:15)
If you can handle this, this is Elijah. Now people today still have a hard time handling it. Because we do know that the last prophecy of the Old Testament there in Malachi chapter four was the prophecy of Elijah (chapter four, verse five), “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
So this promise of Elijah coming before the great day of the Lord. The Jews were looking for Elijah. When John the Baptist was ministering, down in the Jordan river, was baptizing down there, they came down to him and they said, “Are you Elijah?” Now John answered, “No.”
Before John was born, Luke tells us how his father was a priest. And how he was serving in the temple as they had drawn lots to determine the duties. It was his lot, the lot was cast and it fell on him, to offer the incense before the altar of incense in the Holy Place. And as he had gone in to offer the incense, the people were waiting outside because the priest would go in and offer the incense, and then he would come out and bless the people and they would go home. And while he was there standing before the altar of incense, suddenly there was the angel Gabriel standing there. He was frightened and he said, “Don’t be afraid, I’m Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God and I’ve come to let you know that your wife, Elizabeth, ‘though she is old, stricken with years, she’s going to bear a son. And thou shall call his name, John. And he shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare the hearts of the people…” and so forth, and so you remember Zachariah said, “How can I know this, I’m an old man and all.” He said, “Well, you won’t be able to speak until the day the child is born.” But he told him of the ministry of John the Baptist. He said, “He will go in the spirit and in the power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers.”
So there seems to be a discrepancy. Jesus said if you can handle it, this is Elijah which was to come. And yet when they were asking John the Baptist, are you Elijah pointblank, he said no. So how do you account for the seeming discrepancy?
It should be noted that there is a seeming discrepancy as far as Jesus was concerned. For there were many prophecies of His glorious rule over the earth: the kingdom age, the Lord ruling over the earth, and yet there were prophecies of His being despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, cut off out of the land of the living; and they were seemingly contradictory.
Now we have come to know that the answer to this seeming problem is in the two comings of Jesus Christ. And in His first coming, He fulfilled those prophecies that dealt with His being despised and rejected and being put to death. But we know that He is coming again to establish the kingdom of God and to establish the glorious reign of God over the earth in the kingdom age. So the other prophecies that were not yet fulfilled will be fulfilled when Jesus returns.
Even as John came in the spirit and in the power of Elijah, before the first coming of Jesus, that was not the fulfillment of Malachi chapter four. And when they asked him, Are you Elijah? The question was in the context of the prophecy of Malachi four; no, he wasn’t, in the context, because Elijah will come before the great and notable day of the Lord, before this day of judgment and the establishing of the kingdom, Elijah will come. So when you get to the seventeenth chapter of Matthew, as Jesus again is talking about John the Baptist after He hears of John the Baptist’s death. And then He speaks again… the disciples said, how is it that the scripture says Elijah must first come? And Jesus said, Elijah shall first come. In other words, there will be the coming again of Elijah in the fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi.
When you get to the book of revelation, there are two witnesses, no doubt one of these two witnesses will indeed be Elijah. And John was a type, a figure; and yet he wasn’t the fulfillment of Malachi chapter four. Thus the question asked in the context of Malachi four, Are you Elijah? No.
So Jesus here declares, If you’re able to receive this, this is Elijah which was to come. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” In other words, going to take a little bit of understanding, but yes, he was and yet he shall be; Elijah shall come before the coming again of Jesus Christ.
The Jews, in anticipation of the fulfillment of this prophecy, even to the present day when they have their passover feast, have an empty chair at the table for Elijah. And they leave the door open and one of the children goes to the door quite often to look to see if Elijah’s coming, as they are looking for the Messiah, and Elijah to precede the Messiah.
But [Jesus said] what shall I liken this generation to? It’s like children who are sitting in the markets, and calling to their fellows, (11:16)
And they are saying, We have piped unto you, and you have not danced; we have mourned with you, and you have not lamented.
In other words, what do you want? We’ve tried to party, you don’t want to party; so we tried to be sober and serious, you don’t want… what do you want? What will it take to please you? And then He said,
For John came neither eating nor drinking,
[he was an ascetic]
and they say, He has a devil. (11:18)
But the Son of man came eating and drinking, and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.
So John was an ascetic and Jesus joined in with people in dining, eating with publicans and sinners, and they found fault with both. Just what do you want?
Wisdom is justified of her children. (11:19)
And then He began to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they did not repent: (11:20)
When John wrote his gospel, and we’ll get this Thursday night as we finish John’s gospel, John said if all of the things that Jesus did were recorded, I suppose that all of the libraries in the world could not hold the books. John said many other things Jesus did which are not written, weren’t recorded. Now what Jesus did in Chorazin, what He did in Bethsaida, are not recorded. The miracles that were wrought in these cities, we know nothing about them. Most of the miracles that we know about were done either in Capernaum or in Jerusalem. But there was a ministry in these other villages, there were great mighty works done in these villages. But they didn’t repent. And so, He said,
Woe unto thee, Chorazin!
This “woe” in the Greek is not a harsh kind of “Woe unto you” kind of a thing, but it’s actually a sort of sorrowful, pitiful kind of a thought or idea of woe and it’s because of the judgment that is going to come because of your failure. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin!”…
woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (11:21)
These Gentile cities, had the works that had been done in these Gentile cities that were done in Chorazin and Bethsaida, they would have repented. And so the woe pronounced. It’s interesting that these two cities upon which He pronounced woes today are nothing but absolute ruins. They have recently discovered the sight of Chorazin and have done some excavation, and you can go there and see what remains of Chorazin.
The site of Bethsaida is not absolutely determined yet. It was so completely destroyed. Also Capernaum.
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. (11:22)
When God judges, there will be equity and fairness in His judgment. And the cities, individuals will be judged according to the light and the understanding that they have received. And there will be degrees of punishment, but it will all be according to the light and the knowledge that the person has been given.
Peter speaks about it would be better for a person never to have heard than to hear and reject, and that’s basically what Jesus is affirming. It will be more tolerable in the day of judgment. They will receive a less harsh punishment because they did not have the same light given to them that you have received. They did not have the opportunity to see the mighty works of God. You have seen, you’ve rejected. You wouldn’t repent.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, you will be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which had been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, they would have remained until this day. (11:23)
The city of Sodom would not have been destroyed, the people would have repented, had the works been done there that were done here in Capernaum.
But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (11:24)
Judgment according to the light that is given. That is why when questions are asked concerning the people in Africa that have never heard of Jesus Christ, the Lord will be fair in His judgment, He will judge them according to the amount of knowledge or light or understanding that they have received. But you see, that puts the pressure on you because of the amount of light that you have received. And thus, it will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the people of Sodom than it will be for you, if you reject Jesus Christ, having had the light and having received the understanding. Your rejection of the light brings a stronger, harsher penalty than never having seen the light.
At that time Jesus answered and said,
Having pronounced the judgments, He just sort of spontaneously turned to the Father. It gives us a little insight into the relationship of Jesus with the Father. Just how He would spontaneously just begin to talk to the Father. And He said,
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (11:25)
Here are these so called religious leaders, filled with pride, arrogancy, haughtiness, so ready to condemn; and yet so blind to the real truth of God. So caught up in politics and in the opinions of man, and yet so blind to God’s truths. And here are the simple ones; simple, plain people, receiving the truth, rejoicing in the truth. And so, “I thank You Father that You’ve hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and You have revealed them unto babes.” And then Jesus declared,
Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (11:26)
In other words, the sovereignty of God. You have allowed some to be blind, You’ve opened the eyes of others.
All things [He said] are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; and neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (11:27)
You cannot know God by searching. You can’t decide, Well, I’m going to find God. Zophar said to Job, “Who by searching can find out God to perfection?” (Job 11:7) Truth is, you can’t. You can only know God as He is revealed. And as He reveals Himself to you. Now, God has revealed Himself to man in His Word. And yet, unless God has chosen to reveal Himself to you, you cannot know Him nor understand Him. Jesus is declaring, “No man knows the Son except the Father, and no man knows the Father, except the Son, and whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” And then He said,
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, I will give you rest. (11:28)
If you come to Jesus Christ, He will reveal the Father to you. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” You see, these people all thought they knew God. They thought that they were following God. They boasted in their knowledge of God. But Jesus said you really don’t know Him. You don’t know Him, I know Him. You don’t know the truth about God. I know the truth about God. And it’s only as I reveal Him that you can know Him. Now “Come unto Me,” in knowing Me, in understanding Me, you’ll know and understand the Father. He that hath seen Me, has seen the Father. I’ve come not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. To do the works of Him who sent Me. So, God is revealed to us in and through Jesus Christ.
The book of Hebrews opens with the words, God who at different times and in different places spoke to our Fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days, spoken unto us by His own dear Son. God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ. And apart from Jesus Christ, you cannot know the truth about God. But His invitation is to “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.”
Now what is the heavy burden that every man is bearing? First of all, every man is bearing a burden. He can’t escape it, it’s life. And Jesus is calling unto those who are weary, heavy laden, and He’s promising them rest. The heavy burden that man is bearing is the burden of trying to please himself. You say, Well, my goal in life is to be rich. I’m living for riches. Why do you want riches? Who you going to spend it on? Who do you want to spend it on? Me. You see, self. And you think that riches will provide satisfaction. I would be happy if I was rich, I know that that’s all it would take to make me happy is just riches. And so that business of trying to please yourself, trying to be happy.
Others are seeking in pleasure, and right now, we see a pleasure mania across the country, and all kinds of things to excite and to bring pleasure. And I guess now that we’re into this computer age, they’re developing computers with sense probes and everything else that there’s a new generation of pleasure toys that are about to be marketed. It’s a tremendous business providing excitement, providing pleasure–from your major league professional sports to your Disneyland’s and Magic Mountains and all; all of these things that are designed to appeal to that desire of man for excitement and pleasure. It’s a burden.
Everybody has a burden. Wanting to be happy, wanting to find satisfaction, wanting to please yourself. And as a result, there’s an unrest in every heart. Because I’m not satisfied. How much money will it take to make you happy? How much money? How much money will it take to make you satisfied? You say, Well, if I had a million dollars, I’d be satisfied. Well, you know that there are people that have a hundred million dollars that aren’t satisfied? They’re still out there trying to get more. Are you sure that a million would do it? Or would you be then trying to shrewdly invest it so you can make more? Just how much would it take? And the answer is, no amount of money will ever bring satisfaction.
How much pleasure will it take? The thing about pleasure is that it doesn’t last very long, does it? How quickly it passes, how quickly the thrill is gone. Doesn’t satisfy. It takes more and more and more. You can get used to thrills so quickly. Bung jumping, first shot. Oho, it’s exciting. Flying through the air, free fall. Hoping that cord is not too long. But even bungee jumping can get boring after a while. You do it enough times and it becomes commonplace and so you start putting new wrinkles on it. Look at snowboarding. New wrinkles. Not satisfied just to come down the mountain anymore. You ought to pack the snow and do all kinds of loops and everything else. Always looking for some new sensation, some new thrill. That heavy burden, trying to please yourself that leads to restlessness. And Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour, you’re heavy laden. I will give you rest.” I’m the place where you can rest.
Take my yoke upon you,
We hear that Jesus was a carpenter. We know his father Joseph was a carpenter, and so the assumption is that Jesus.. and He was called the Son of the carpenter, and it is assumed that Jesus also was a carpenter. But you must not think of carpenters in a biblical setting like carpenters today. They did not build frame houses in Jesus’ day. A carpenter wasn’t really involved much in house building. Maybe in building the furniture that went in to the houses, but the houses were made of rock. And thus, when you think of Jesus as a carpenter, you don’t, you shouldn’t be thinking of framing up a house or things of this nature.
A carpenter was more apt to be involved in making yokes, shaping yokes. And every yoke was shaped for the ox. The structure of an ox was never the same, and so they would shape the yoke for the ox. They would bring the ox to the carpenter and he would put the yoke on and then make the measurements and then it was a process of shaping the yoke for the ox so that the ox would be able to pull it with the least amount of chaffing or pressure or strain. The equal distribution of the weight so that it wouldn’t cause a sore area or a chaffed area. If Jesus did indeed make yokes, and I have no question but what He probably did, I would imagine that He made the best yokes that you could buy. And He is saying, “Take my yoke on you, because my yoke is easy, take my yoke.” Now the yoke was fitted to the ox, or usually to a pair of oxen, that they might pull the plows, they might pull the carts, and Jesus then basically is saying, I have a work for you. Take my yoke, I have a plan for your life. I have a purpose for your existence. As we were studying a couple of weeks ago, lose your life in Him, you’ll find it. Take My yoke on you. Let me take over the reins and begin to direct your life. So you see, the invitation isn’t just to come. It’s a threefold invitation; it’s to come, and then it’s to take the yoke or to submit to His control, His authority in your life, and then the third thing is to learn, He said, of Me. Take My yoke upon you,
and learn of me; [and then He tells you why] for I am meek and lowly in heart:
He has just thanked the Father that the Father has hid the truth from the proud and the arrogant and revealed it to babes. And now He declares, “I am meek, I am lowly in heart.” And the promise,
You shall find rest for your souls. (11:29)
We are living in a very restless age. We are living in a very restless society. There’s just an unrest, it’s just in the air, you can feel it. There’s a tension, you can see it when you drive down the street, this unrest, this tension. People are living on the edge. Yet, Jesus is saying, “You’ll have rest for your soul.” You can have real peace of mind, when it comes to coming to Jesus, turning your life over to Him, and learning about Him. For in learning about Him, again, you’re learning about God. No man knows the Father except those to whom the Son reveals Him. So in learning about Jesus, you’re learning about God. Learn of Me. And then He goes on to say,
For my yoke is easy, [no chaffing] my burden is light. (11:30)
What was His burden? We said every man has a burden, the burden that man has is trying to please himself. That’s a heavy burden. That’s a heavy duty. Hard to do. What was His burden? My burden, He said, is light; yours is heavy. Mine’s light, what’s His burden? His burden was to please God. “I do always those things,” He said, “that please the Father.” I didn’t come to do my own will but the will of Him who sent Me. And thus, His burden, His master passion of life, that for which He lived, the paramount thing that kept Him going, that got Him up in the morning, that pushed Him through the day, was to please the Father. He lived to please the Father. And He said, “My burden is light.” In other words, it’s easier to please God than to please yourself. And if you are living to please yourself, you will always be in an agitated state of unrest with a heavy burden that cannot be fulfilled. But if you live to please God, you’ll find that it’s light. It’s easy. “My burden,” He said, “is light.”
In Jeremiah’s day, God was upset with prophets that were going around saying, “The burden of the Lord, the burden of the Lord.” And God said to Jeremiah, “Jeremiah, there’s a saying that’s popular and going around now among the prophets and,” He said, “I’m so sick of it. I don’t want to hear it again.” He said, “And if you use this phrase, we’re through, I won’t speak to you again. I just don’t want to hear it.” He said, “It’s this phrase, ‘The burden of the Lord’, they’re all going around saying, ‘The burden of the Lord’ and I didn’t put any burden on them.”
I think we see the same today. People going around saying, Oh, the burden of the Lord, so heavy. Heavy burden, and oh man, this heavy burden. The Lord’s put on such a heavy burden. And I think the Lord’s getting sick of it. He said, “I don’t want to hear that, I didn’t put any burden on you.” Now we often take burdens on ourselves. We make demands on ourselves that God doesn’t make. And that can be a heavy burden.
Or often, burdens are put on us by others. Oh, there are people that would love to put their burden on you. I get it all the time. People trying to lay their burdens on me. I guess it goes with the ministry. People always want to lay burdens on me. Had a lady call up and she said, I think my son committed suicide. He’s in the back room. I want you to come over and find out. I’m afraid to go in because if he’s still alive, he might shoot me. I want you to go in and see if he’s dead or not. Lay your burden on me. He was dead, it’s sad. But people will put burdens on you, and a lot of times, the burdens that people put on you are awfully hard to bear. We get weighted down by other people’s problems. But they’re not burdens that God has put on us necessarily.
Now the Bible says, “Bear one another’s burdens, so fulfill the law of Christ.” I am to bear burdens of others. But then it also said, “And every man shall bear his own burden.” In other words, you pull your own weight, too.
But the Lord’s burden, that’s light. That’s a joy. That’s a blessing. It’s so exciting to serve the Lord, so exciting to see God working. Before church tonight, I was saying to Kay, “You know, we’re getting old, honey. We’re beyond retirement age.” But when you’re having so much fun, there’s no thought of retirement. And as long as it’s such a joy and a delight, why should you retire? What would you do for fun? He said, “My yoke is easy, My burden is light.” I found it true. Pleasing God and living to please God has to be the most exciting, glorious life in the world. And you wait with anticipation for each new day to find out what exciting thing God has in store for today. His yoke is easy. His burden is light.
Father, we thank You for the beautiful invitation that Jesus has given to us, to know You by coming to Him; learning of Him, taking His yoke upon us. And so Lord we just pray that as we continue through the gospels, You will teach us all about You, all about Your Son, all about Your plan for our lives and for the future. Thank you Lord for calling us. Thank you Lord for choosing us. Thank you Lord for the invitation. And now bless us as we seek Your face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8010