Theme: Learning Jesus Christ
From this week’s lessons we see that Christ’s call to discipleship is described as a yoke that is both easy and light because Jesus is a kind and gentle Master.
Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30
But notice: it is for those who know themselves to be burdened. This does not refer to mere physical weakness or to what we would call the burdens of a hard life, though it may include them. Chiefly it refers to a sense of sin’s burden and the need of a Savior. The context of Matthew 11 makes this clear, for the earlier part of the chapter contains an account of the rejection of John the Baptist and Jesus by the Jewish masses, followed by a denunciation of Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum for their failure to repent at Jesus’ preaching. After this Jesus says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure” (vv. 25, 26). Little children are those who are childlike in their self-evaluation and in faith. They recognize their need of a Savior and are willing to abandon themselves to Christ as that Savior. They are the opposite of those who are mature in pride, those who are assured that they can save themselves.
Where discipleship is present, people are sensitive to sin and turn from it. They turn to Jesus where alone relief from sin’s dreadful burden can be found. Are we experiencing revival today, since so many claim to have had a born-again experience? Not in my opinion. We are only in an age when religion has again become popular. May God deliver us from the delusions this brings!
To those who have become sensitive to sin and who are looking for deliverance, Jesus issued a challenge in terms of spiritual learning. He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (v. 29). When Jesus called disciples to “follow” Him He was comparing Christianity to a path in which His followers were to walk, He going ahead of them. When He challenged disciples to “learn from me” He was comparing Christianity to a school in which He was to be both subject matter and teacher. This is the school of Christ in which every true believer has matriculated and in which a life-long course of study is proscribed. In this school graduation is glorification, the day of death.
The Authorized Version of Matthew 11:29 translates the words “learn from me” as “learn of me,” thus making Jesus the subject matter of the Christian’s study rather than the teacher.1 This variation exists because the Greek preposition apo, which occurs here, can mean a variety of things, including “of” or “from,” and English has no exactly comparable word. Translators must choose one idea or the other when actually each of the ideas is both possible and necessary.
The fundamental idea is knowing Christ Himself, in precisely the sense of John 17:3, where Jesus prayed to the Father, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” This is a knowledge of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ which is salvation or eternal life.
From our text this week, what does the expression “weary and burdened” primarily refer to?
How does the context of Matthew 11 make that meaning of “weary and burdened” clear?
Who are the “little children” of Matthew 11:25-26?
How do we recognize true revival?
Reflection: In comparing Christianity to a school, how is Jesus both your subject matter and teacher?
1The New King James Version, revision of 1979, uses the NIV wording.