Lenten Season 2020
...You woke us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless, until it rests in You.
St. Augustine - Confessions
It's Time for you and I to be SPIRITUALLY YOKED. Being Spiritually YOKED however, always comes with a price tag - but it’s got to come. YOKED means it is time to be attached, tethered and connected, its time to be accountable to the teaching of Jesus – not just to a friend who reminds us in those spiritually correct tones of our flaws - the ones we already know exist. That’s all good and certainly ok – but, this YOKED, is not that yoked. This YOKED is a paradox. Why? Because it is both the gut-wrenching conviction of being tightly attached and fully countable to the God of our calling, yet being at complete peace for the first time in our life because we finally got to the place where we belong. This way it's not about how much He loves us – it’s about how much we love Him. This YOKED is more like finding the strength and resolve to get under the weight and embrace the grind where what is happening is happening in real-time. YOKED to the good of it and to the bad it – always harder before it gets any easier. That is why Jesus said come to Me - YOKED is His way. YOKED is His way to give us rest.
a pair of field animals (oxen or mule) joined together by a wooden device for pulling an iron farm plow or heavy-load cart/wagon, usually consisting of a crosspiece with two bow-shaped pieces, enclosing the head and restraining the shoulders of the animal;
to be or become joined, linked, or united together - as in partners, marriage, fellow-journeyman or following a common cause;
very strong, well built, muscular physique;
something of weight, concern or circumstance that is regarded as oppressive or burdensome;
to be under a frame fitting over the neck and shoulders of a person, for purpose of carrying pails or baskets.
to ascribe ones allegiance, obedience or loyalty to a certain teaching philosophy or to a particular teacher/mentor, sage, rabbi, guru etc.
[yoked - biblical context of matthew 11]
Jesus is in and around the city and region of Capernaum, speaking to a mixed crowd of disciples, curious Galileans, local Capernites, and of course as most always a group of Jewish leaders from the Sanhedrin. This exchange truly represents one of the greatest reveals about message and mission of Jesus as He teaches about His purpose place and identity in God's Kingdom and His Presence. To His point, Jesus revealing Himself as THE way to the Kingdom, and as the very Presence of God. Had I been there in person (not knowing what I know now), probably would've went right over my head as well. But now that we have two thousand years of hindsight, hundreds of thousands of hours in theological study and reasoning, and hundreds of thousands of words in written commentary available we have a good shot at understanding Jesus and the meaning of what He spoke that day. Believe me - this powerful. This will get you YOKED!!
So in "the real" Matthew 11:16-30, goes like this... What can I compare you to? Truth is you don't know what these people need - you only know you want from them. They are worn out and completely crushed under the stress and strain of trying to keep your laws, meet your expectations and feed your corruption. You don't really know anything about the God's Kingdom, or the true glory of His Presence - you haven't for long time. You tell them something different every day, what's wrong with you? These folks trusted you to teach them... but you don't know how to anymore - do you? You knowingly hid the truth from them - and now it's hidden from you. For people like you, that's how it's going to be - that was the Father's idea. I like it. So, from here on, I will invite everyone (literally everyone) who is worn out and crushed by what you are doing, to come to Me. From now on I will teach them My way - the Father's way. They will be YOKED with ME and learn from Me, but they certainly won't be worn out or crushed by it. Even as they are being YOKED, they will find rest in the Father's Presence and find their place in His Kingdom. They don't need you any more - they have Me.
I know You have entrusted EVERYTHING to me, and that no one truly knows ME except YOU, and no one truly knows YOU except ME and of course those that I have planned to reveal You to.” 28 Then Jesus looked at everyone gathered and said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
[one - come to me]
orig-grk; deute pros eme - The invite from Jesus in that moment was to move away from religion of Man and enter into relationship - it's personal - it is God's way. Jesus said, "Come to Me." It is meant to be taken literally... "Aren't you tired? Come over here - be with Me now" He has said this very thing to me. No one can take that away. And now - I'm YOKED to Him forever.
[two - take my yoke upon you]
orig-grk; airo zeugnumi mou epi humas - Take My yoke upon you" here literally means, "to serve as I teach." We are tied, tethered to Jesus. We trust Him and His teaching - not the religion and rebellion of man. We learn from Jesus how to live, love, and lead - we serve. We serve the way He serves - we love the way He loves. By YOKING to Him, we become true disciples of Jesus.
[three - you will find rest]
orig-grk; heuriskoanapausis humas- When Jesus said these words he was literally saying, "Yoked to Me, you will discover how to stop oppressive overload and the unnecessary demand." What Jesus knew was this - matter how hard the people tried "The Law" according to the Sanhedrin had become a religion of man and impossible to keep. Find Jesus - find rest - find rest - find rest - find Jesus - find Jesus - find hope. That is YOKED.
Jesus invites you and I to be YOKED to Him. - "Come to Me, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," By being YOKED to Christ we discover two things. First, that He has already removed our burden of sin - He carried that weight on the cross. And secondly, that he bids us to off-load or download (if you will) our burden of self. Self-serve, self-loath, self-taught, self-ish, self-made and self-medicated. We exchange self-stuff for the gentle weight of humility as God's creation and for service to God's kingdom. Being YOKED to Him is both our rest and reward.
YOKED to Christ also means being present in the presence of God. As we are YOKED to Him we see and experience the fullness His glory and the power of His presence. He calls us to Himself He calls us into His presence He calls us into His glory. There is no presence-power-glory, anymore or anywhere with anyone but in Christ Himself. That is precisely why He says - COME TO ME - BE YOKED TO ME. Walk away from what is powerless to save, dead in sin, still living off its former glory. To be YOKED Him is to be YOKED to His active presence - power - and glory. YOKED - we are now the habitation (dwelling place) for the presence and Spirit of God.
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