Learning of Jesus
February 26, 2023
Learning of Jesus
Matthew 11:28-30 (AMPC)
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
My focus today will be to demonstrate what it means when Jesus says “Learn of Me.”
We will discuss what it means to take Jesus’s yoke, the rest that comes from learning of Him, and the response it creates in and through us toward life circumstances and toward others.
1 – His Yoke
Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines a yoke as Fitted on the neck of oxen for the purpose of binding to them the traces by which they might draw the plough, etc. It was a curved piece of wood called an ‘ol.
Another way to describe this would be: “a yoke is a piece of equipment used on horses, oxen, beasts of burden to lighten the load for the whole.” When we talk about a yoke, we are talking about something that is in a position of servitude or submission that is required to take care of a task.
2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
Isaiah 58:6 (AMPC)
[Rather] is not this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every [enslaving] yoke?
Being yoked according to these passages of scripture is undesirable. Why would Jesus say to take His yoke, and that it is easy?
When we picture the oxen being yoked together, it was oftentimes that farmers would place a seasoned ox (older, experienced, perhaps stronger) with an ox that was not as experienced. This made the load more bearable.
If you can, think back to the first time you went to school, or when your children started school, and the feelings it brought up on the inside of you. My children all wanted me to walk them into school. I wanted to walk them in too! A new place, people they have never been with, the pressure of it is overwhelming. I knew that me being there would help them through this. The schools allowed it because they knew too, that it would help. This was me as a parent helping them to deal with their feelings of fright. It made it more bearable for them to go to school for the first time. I reassured them that all was well and that I would be there when they were through, that I knew the teacher and that the teacher knew that I was their mommy.
When we think about Jesus and Him telling us that His yoke is easy, it’s because He’s already been through what I am going through. Nothing is new to Him, and my life circumstances have already been through His hands. He has the wisdom I need, the strength that will pull me through, and His peace will become mine if I allow it to work in my life. He is meant to carry the load for me. The idea of the farmer using the ox that is more experienced with one that is not, is what we draw from this passage. Jesus is more experienced than we are.
Now the word “easy” in Matthew 11:30 is not the best use of this word in my humble opinion. Upon researching it, Strong’s concordance offers some insight into the word:
Strong G5543 fit, fit for use, useful (virtuous, good). Manageable – mild, pleasant (as opp. to harsh, hard sharp, bitter) – of things: more pleasant, of people, kind, benevolent.
I like how Matthew 11:30 reads in AMPC:
30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
He is saying here, when you are yoked with me, I am not bothered, I am gracious and pleasant, not stressed and wearied, I am peaceful. Doing life with others that are not crazy, when crazy happens, is reassuring. They just make the journey bearable and pleasant.
God does not desire that we lose it when life comes at us or when relationships bring troubles. He wants us to have His peace and His mind for all situations and in all trials.
His yoke is helpful to us.
2 – Learn Meekness ~Jesus is Meek
Cambridge English Dictionary – quiet, gentle, and not willing to argue or express your opinions in a forceful way
Merriam Webster – Mild – someone who can endure injury with patience and without resentment. Submissive – Someone that is deficient in spirit and courage. Moderate – someone that is not violent or strong.
Let’s look at the Word, the Bible.
Talking of who Jesus is:
Colossians 1:15-20 (AMPC)
[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation.16 For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.17 And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).18 He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]. 19 For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him permanently. 20 And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross.
According to these scriptures, Jesus is all powerful. There is no lack of strength or deficiency present in Him. All things were created in Him and through Him and for Him.
Meekness is not reactive:
Luke 23:35-36, 37, 41 (AMPC)
Now the people stood by calmly and leisurely] watching; but the rulers scoffed and sneered (turned up their noses) at Him, saying, He rescued others from death]; let Him now rescue Himself, if He is the Christ (the Messiah) of God, His Chosen One! 36 The soldiers also ridiculed and made sport of Him, coming up and offering Him vinegar (a sour wine mixed with water).
He was mocked, laughed at, tortured.
37 And saying, If you are the King of the Jews, save (rescue) Yourself from death].
They called Him a liar.
41 And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable].
He did nothing wrong.
We have all been in situations like this or in some similar situations – when we were lied about, misunderstood, rejected. Some of us may be going through this now. And it is far from easy; even with Jesus, it is painful.
Yet He is saying “Learn of Me, take my yoke, the way that I carry this, is easy (His cross).”
How is this easy?
We know He is all powerful. He could have called on the Father to provide more than 12 legions of angels ( more than 80,000) to come to His rescue. Matthew 26:51-53 (AMPC). One with him was reactionary with a sword. Jesus did not fight.
He is the depiction of what meekness truly is. He has perfect “strength under control.”
3 – Learn Humility ~ Jesus is Humble
Merriam Webster – not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission : ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : INSIGNIFICANT, UNPRETENTIOUS
Philippians 2:5-8 (MSG)
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
He had a right to defend Himself, yet He did not. He had a right to fight for His innocence, yet He did not.
Humility considers the end result by placing others first:
Hebrews 12:2 (AMPC)
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith Give and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
We must consider the end result of our present circumstances and respond in a way that Jesus would. He placed the Father’s desire for us to come into a relationship with Him as His children above His need to protect Himself from the pain of the cross.
Reacting to hurt is easier for us to do. You hurt me, and I hurt you back. At that moment I may feel better, but the weight of my bad behavior comes later on.
When we react/retaliate, it brings shame, it hurts others. Most reactionary people are angry in their moment of pain.
James 1:20 (TPT)
for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose.
We make a fool of ourselves when we choose to react to things.
Having to apologize for making a fool of ourselves is much more difficult than not saying anything and walking away. We may feel and think about all of the “I should have said this, I should have done that,” etc. When we have to apologize, the voices will arrive in our minds, “Now they think I am weak, I am a sissy, I am a sorry person, etc.”
Most of the challenges that we face that cause us the biggest hurt and shame are relational. If we truly stop to consider ourselves during these times, we will see that the need to defend ourselves comes from the need to self-protect, be heard, be acknowledged and be right.
We must do what Jesus tells us to do, “Learn of Me.” We will have no regrets over unkind words that can never be taken back, when we respond to others like He would. We have no shame over our actions when we behave like Him towards others. By no means is this easy. In every way, it is good, it is better.
Humility helps us to look at the bigger picture. It says that I give up my right to self-protect, my right to defend myself, my right to place myself first, and it says that we make room for others. It is the way of LOVE. It is all who Christ is!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (TPT)
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. 5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. 7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. 8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
1- Practice responding like Jesus – Ask yourself in every trying situation: Am I loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good towards others, faithful, am I gentle and am I living with self-control?
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
2- Practice thinking of the end result of your actions.
To every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Think past instant gratification and weigh out your choices before you respond.
When we are hurt or in a place of crushing, in the hard places in life and weary, a comforting word is almost impossible to find. In fact, we don’t want to hear it. Even when we are looking for answers, our souls are tired, aggravated, vexed, inconsolable. We simply are miserable, hurt, angry, whatever feelings we may experience can be placed here. God desires that we overcome these things in life.
Jesus tells us to learn of Him.