Two primary thoughts struck me this morning as I read Matthew 11. The first is that even the greatest person to be born of a woman can be perplexed and have doubts about God’s plan. John the Baptist, the first prophet to Israel in 400 years, and who came on the scene with the power of Elijah found himself in prison wondering, “where did I misunderstand God’s plan?”
In the midst of John’s uncertainty, Jesus mildly rebukes him and yet gives him great praise for his role in preparing the world for the coming King and His Kingdom. John had proclaimed a message of judgment and yet Jesus reminded him that the Kingdom was more than that. How easy it is to think we know what God is doing and yet God’s plan is often different than ours. God is in control even when my circumstances do not fit my understanding of His plan!
The second thing that stood out to me this morning is that I live a very privileged life. In fact, it is the best time to live since the Fall because I am living in the dawning of the Kingdom! The Kingdom is not yet fully realized, but in its present form, the best life possible is the one that is yoked to Jesus in discipleship. Jesus said,
“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
An alternate translation is “my yoke is pleasant and my burden is easy to carry.” A yoke was used in the culture to bind two oxen together as they plowed a field.
Why is being yoked to Jesus the best life possible? Because of the character of Jesus. I am not yoked to a tyrant or an unreasonable uncaring authority, but one whose character is marked by gentle humility. In fact, Jesus over time is carefully making me like Him as I am yoked to Him in discipleship.
Father, plowing a field and pulling a load is hard work! Nowhere did You promise soft ground for tilling or level paths for bearing my load. What You did promise is a relationship with You as I till and as I pull. The demands are great. In fact, You expect my very best, but my relationship with You in life makes the path pleasant and my burden easy to carry. Help me to learn from You and remain faithful. Thank you for wanting to disciple me!
Following Jesus with you!