January 15, 2022
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me because I am gentle and humble in heart...”
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“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
In the days of Jesus, rabbis were well respected. In many ways, rabbis were the central cohesive figure in day-to-day village life. They were funny, insightful, commanding, and entertaining. Jewish parents wanted their sons to be rabbis.
Each rabbi had their own method of adhering to the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament). Some taught that you had to memorize the Torah. Others would add discussing the Torah or praying a certain way. Each rabbi’s “course load” was a burden, hence the term “yoke.”
Every so often, a rabbi would come through town and choose the best young boys to be his Talmidim (students). They usually chose 12, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. There was a ceremony, customary to many rabbis, where the instructor would pour honey on a writing slate, then hold it over the boy’s mouth. The honey signified the sweetness of God’s Word. This would have been a treat for any boy and a proud day for the parents.
For those boys who were passed up, the rabbi would tell their parents the boys should find a trade. If they married a nice Jewish girl, maybe their son could be a rabbi, but as for them…no cigar.
This was the setting when Jesus traveled to Capernaum and called four young fishermen to be His disciples. See also Luke 5:1-11. Four rejects just got the call of their lives! Is it any wonder they left everything to follow Him? He was Messiah, yet His “yoke” (course load) could be summed up as “Love God, and love people.”
Are you tired? Do you need rest? Have so-called “church leaders” loaded you down with impossible burdens and senseless traditions? Come to Jesus. Learn from Him who is gentle and humble in heart, and find rest for yourself.
Listen to an audio recording of this daily devotional here: