John: 8:31: Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
John: 8:32: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John: 18:37: Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
1John: 1:5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
These verses signal the purpose of this paper, to shine some light. In particular, we deal with the subject of the ‘easy yoke’. To begin, we must start with the magnificent fact that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all! Possibly you believe that only as an abstract thought, but it is a fact nevertheless. These scriptures give a good place to start this study. According to Jesus, the purpose of him coming into the
world and the reason for his birth was so that he could bear witness unto the truth. Further he stated that if we continue in his word, then we are indeed his disciples and we shall know the truth. He further states that the truth shall make you free. Believing Jesus’ words is important. Consider:
John: 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
We are developing an important point from scripture and now refer to Malachi 3:6: Mal: 3:6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
This an elementary and essential truth about the Lord, "I change not!” We see this truth again in Hebrews 13:8: “ Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.”
This fact takes on new meaning if we are willing to comprehend John 10:30“I and my Father are one”.
In saying, “I and my Father are one,” Jesus forces us to reconsider our opinion of the Father. As it is true that God changes not, to see Jesus is to see what the Father is like. Also, since God changes not, Jesus shows us what the Father has always been like and will always be like.
John: 14:8: Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Joh: 14:9: Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Joh: 14:10: Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
John: 14:11: Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
Reader do you see how important it was to Jesus that his disciples understand that in seeing him they were seeing the Father? Since the Lord changes not, God has not reformed, or changed personalities. No, God has always been, is now, and always will be exactly as seen in the many words and acts that make up the life of Jesus. When Jesus said “hath seen me”, he was referring to our spiritual discernment of his total life of selfless love and service and not simply seeing his physical body. Over 2000 years since his arrival we can still see him and therefore can we see the Father in action. Mistake not, Jesus the Son of Man did not exhibit some love and gentleness which was foreign to God the Father, not at all. They were one, and according to Jesus, the Father said the words and did the works. Now, reader, when this paper begins its emphasis on doing the will of the Father perhaps it will be palatable and appealing to you. To treat my brother as Jesus would treat him is the same as treating him the way the Father would treat him, using the Father’s love which is in our souls if we have obtained it as a result of our sincere prayers and
soul longings. Attempting such love without the usage of the Father’s love would be only imitated behavior and prone to fall short. When one loves as Jesus loved, using the Father’s love a marvelous consistency of performance results. You have delighted to treat your brother as Jesus would. Enlarge your vision to understand that acting like Jesus is the same thing as acting like your heavenly Father. If you can understand this much then you are ready to proceed with the following study about Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden.
Mt: 11:28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mt: 11:29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Mt: 11:30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The Master never said, "Come to me all you who are indolent and all who are dreamers." But he did many times say, "Come to me all you who labor, and I will give you rest." The rest is the result of using the strength of the Father’s love instead of your own natural love, which is known to fluctuate all the time. The Master's yoke is, indeed, easy, but even so, he never imposes it; every individual must take this yoke of his own free will.
The purpose of this paper is to help those brethren who labor, to find this teaching as a truth. Those who do not labour, or who have no appetite for doing so will find this writing immaterial. These thoughts are for students who wish to follow the command, “Follow me”. Let’s get back to basics and sit at the Master’s feet, and learn from him. Like the Apostles, once the crowds have dispersed let us say, ‘but Master, we have not found it so, explain to us this teaching’.
Let’s begin with the proper posture. When Jesus was called ‘good master’, it meant professor, learned one, superior teacher and instructor. We must be willing to let Jesus occupy this position of teacher and instructor once again. We have been so dazzled by his miracles that only with effort can we go back and picture him sitting in a boat as teacher. Let us put both He and ourselves once again in this setting. He sits before us as Master Teacher, and we sit in front of him as students. He says...
“Come unto me all ye that labour and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Let’s begin with this portion. Many well-meaning evangelist and preachers do not give me rest. They are not content until I feel burdened. I want some rest, so I will bypass them and go to Jesus. I don’t mind labour; I am even accustomed to periodically being heavy laden, but what is he saying? Is he implying that his yoke is easy?..that under his yoke there is no situation of being heavy laden and no sense of heavy burden? If so, we ought to come to him. No substitute will do. I will interest myself with His instruction and His alone. He is the Master and teacher, and I am he who labours, and who wishes some rest. Let’s study his solution:
“Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart;
ye shall find rest unto your souls
my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
He tells us what to do, what to learn, and what to expect. Let’s slow down a bit. We too often have read this rapidly and gained only a wistful dream.
Take my yoke:
Notice that it is not forcibly, or automatically put upon you. You are not a beast of burden. The yoke is something, which you yourself voluntarily take. Jesus had a yoke. His yoke is found in the following verse:
John: 6:38: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
There! That was Jesus’ yoke. That was the role that he had voluntarily assumed. It is a yoke that you can take. To take His yoke means we also say:
“I live on earth, not to do mine own will, but the will of him who sent me.”
John: 20:21: Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Jesus has the yoke of being committed to doing not his own will, but the will of Him that sent him. Jesus told his disciples that as His Father had sent Him, even so, was He sending them…. also under the yoke of doing the Father’s will instead of their own. They would not have been able to do the will of the Father totally until they had received the Comforter into their souls. This is why Jesus had them wait until Pentacost when the Holy Spirit placed the Father’s love into their souls in abundance in answer to their souls’ sincere longings. If our mission were to imitate and practice Jesus’ teachings only, this would only be a new form of work. If we undertake our mission with the Father’s love in our souls, then the power and strength of that love exudes forth from us in words, deeds, and actions effortlessly. Therein is the rest for the laborer.
A. Take my yoke upon you:
The universal church can’t do this for you. This is a most personal thing. His yoke, to do you any good, must be upon you.
B. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me:
Okay, we have decided to not do our will but rather the will of Him that sent us, we have done this personally, now we are to learn of Him. How do you do that? Do you study Jesus’ teachings?
Yes and No. His teachings explain much, but his life as he lived it will tell you more. Always he did the will of the Father. Always He was not overcome with evil, but rather He overcame evil with good. At one point we hear him say:
John: 8:29: And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
This is the part of Jesus’ life we must study as we learn of Him. This paper is written to equip you to do the same thing. Notice that Jesus said, “He that sent me is with me.” He did not say, “He that sent me gave me detailed instruction in advance of my coming.” No, he said, “He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone.” So, as we ‘learn of him’ lets observe that the Father was with him and that he always did those things that please the Father whom was with Him. As Jesus’ soul was filled with the Father’s love, it displaced anything that might try to be of different substance. The pilot and co-pilot are in the same cockpit. This is the relationship...not simply a pilot and someone in a distant control tower.
C. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart:
Jesus, as Son of Man, a title by which Jesus referred to himself was undergoing the life of a creature. He was living His life as a Son of Man who always did the will of the Father. From the Greek, meek means gentle, and lowly means cast down in circumstances, lowly in condition or in spirit. Let us say that in his heart Jesus was gentle and of no esteem from the self evaluation point of view. Listen to Him say,
Mt: 19:17: And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Jesus was speaking the absolute truth from the meekness and lowliness in his heart. He was not particularly conscious of himself as an entity that possessed goodness as a possession of permanent quality for which he should take credit. From his vantage point, he regarded himself as a man who said and did good things at His Father’s suggestion! He hardly would attribute the good to himself. He had difficulty in accepting a compliment because he knew the damage to the one giving the compliment.
He disliked the idea of a man thinking that he could either possess or initiate goodness apart from God being the author of it. He quickly let it be known that he did nothing of himself. Well, reader, how about you? Are you greater than the master? Do you possess an innate goodness because you have by degrees become a ‘better person’? Let us hope you are not so self deceived. At best you can hope to imitate the master. Don’t hope to improve over him.
Most people spend a lifetime trying to be good. This is quite a burden to them. You know, you have heard it said that if you work at being happy that it will elude you, but that if you concern yourself with adding to the happiness of others, that happiness trails along and happens? The same principle applies here. If you try to be good, you will fail, but if you preoccupy yourself with doing the will of the Father, a good character will subsequently trail this endeavor and good habits will develop. Bad habits will get left behind from undernourishment and lack of attention.
Mt: 10:24: The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mt: 10:25: It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord……
If you want to enjoy the easy yoke and the light burden, you must content yourself with the fact that ‘God is good and his mercy endureth forever’. You must discontinue seeking reasons to be proud of yourself. Your concern should be simply to understand His will and do it. Always, always, He is the author of the desire, the impulse, and the thought to do good. At best you can simply agree and cooperate. Never should we permit someone to imagine that we did good in and of ourselves. Do you see the meek and lowly heart status Jesus walked in? Follow this advice:
Jesus, as a man, became a servant. He did it on purpose. He made himself of no reputation. He humbled himself. God did not do it; He did it to himself. He humbled himself and became obedient. When he did good, he well knew it was because he had humbled himself into obedience to doing the will of the Father. The good being performed was always the Father’s ideas, which the son carried out. Reader, this is the being meek and lowly in heart that we are to learn of him.
D. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls
Notice first of all what this doesn’t say. It doesn’t say that you will find leisure and physical rest. The rest is a spiritual one. In doing the Father’s will you will find yourself sometimes pushing your physical body to many extremes in extreme heat and cold and in unpleasant surroundings. The rest being referred to is the rest to the soul. No longer need you concern yourself with becoming a good or better person. God is good and you are his son. When He has something for you to do He will let you know. Otherwise, you can do as Jesus so often did, and take some time off and not worry about it! Imagine Jesus taking a nap or going fishing, or wandering off to get some rest and meditation. Good Grief, didn’t he know that on the other side of the lake there were thousands of sick people? Didn’t he know that multitudes hadn’t heard the gospel? Sure, He knew it, but he always followed the same pattern of not doing His will, but rather the will of the Father. If the pilot tells the co-pilot to go get some coffee and rest, the co-pilot is certainly free to do so.
Lets look again at John 8:29:
John: 8:29: And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Now we can see why he was so relaxed! He was here to do his Father’s will and not his own. Mind you, he could have driven himself to never ending exhaustion if he had attempted to do his Father’s will, his disciples will, his Mother’s will, the multitudes will, and his own will, etc. He was smarter than that. It would be wise for us to learn to at least imitate him in that regard.
Believe me, he had enough to do simply doing His Father’s will without adding to it. This way he got a great deal accomplished and also got some time off for relaxation. Did that please everyone? Of course it didn’t, so don’t think that you can either. It is sufficient that you do the Father’s will as it is given to you to do. The ultimate responsibility of the multiple millions of people was primarily his Father’s and his Father knew of his willingness to help. As his Father told him to do or say something he would do it, but there was not the exasperating relentless striving which so typifies our programs and goals. He was here to bear witness to the truth, to be obedient to the Father, and to be a living revelation of the Father. Since his Father was with Him, he was content to let his Father take the initiative.
I could hire a man and tell him, “Here is my 7 acre farm. Keep it tidy and productive at all times. See to it.” Then if I took a two-month journey, that poor hired man would be exhausted when I returned. There is no such thing as ever being caught up with that type of instruction. If, on the other hand, I hire a man and say, “Show up every day for work. I will be here. Each day, as I have something specific for you to do, I’ll let you know.” The worker can relax. He does not have any specific on-going responsibility. He is only to work at specific tasks that are assigned from time to time.
We must learn what Jesus meant by his saying:
John: 17:26: And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Let us examine the love wherewith that hast loved me for a moment. Look at the situation. We have a son who has humbled himself and taken on the role of a servant. Now we can see the relationship between God the Father in charge of a mission and Jesus as servant. Notice that the Father lives on the premises. He lives within Jesus insofar as His love was in Jesus’ soul in abundance. Jesus had prayed sincerely for the Father’s love to fill his soul. His prayer request had been honored. His soul was filled with the Father’s love and as Jesus went about loving people, he did so using the Father’s love. The main thing to notice in this study is the absence of desperation, and the casual nature of Jesus doing good as he passed by. Always there was time to stop all of the serious business at hand and play with children. Goal setting and tabulation of victories is conspicuously absent. There is a casual and easy going start and stop to his efforts. Mainly, his Father was not unmindful that the body of Jesus was flesh and was not a slave driver. Also, notice that Jesus wasn’t kept in the dark about what was going on. Later Jesus told his disciples that they were his friends and he gave as proof that he told them all that he knew. Jesus’ Father treated him as a friend and kept him informed and His love stayed within him. This was a noticeable part of the love wherewith thou has loved me. Jesus remained committed to doing the Father’s will as it was given to him at any moment, and when that will had not been expressed, he could tarry. He simply did as he was told and the consequences were his Father’s. The Father always directed his steps because His ways were committed to Him, the Father.
E. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest
unto your souls for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light:
Well, we have seen why Jesus was relaxed, but can we hope for the same? At the close of this passage He concludes by telling us why we should take his yoke and learn of him…because his yoke is easy and his burden is light. A natural question could be, “Easy and light compared to what?” To start with we can say that trying to be or become righteous cannot compare with simply accepting sonship and a declared state of righteousness. Secondly, trying to be good is an uphill climb, and trying to be better is even more difficult. We can enjoy our sonship status and simply be willing to do His will as He lets it be known. His yoke is easy and his burden is light because it does not involve anything that necessarily resembles a non-stop continuous program. Remember that you took your yoke from Jesus personally, and although many endeavors are always underway in his name, you are not necessarily obligated to be a participant in them. Perhaps it periodically is his will that you do so, but always; you have the first obligation to do the will of the Father whose Divine love is in your soul if you have requested it through sincere prayer and soul longing. It is okay to participate only if your Father says so. God forbid, however, that you permit your time and money to become so pre-committed that when your Father has a will for you to carry out that you have to tell Him, “I would like to, but my time and money are already spoken for.” When the Father is busy in an activity, He signals the opportunity to join Him and you should. Always remember that you have the heavenly Father with you in the form of His love and the Comforter that He promised.
As you love Jesus and keep his words, the Father loves you and makes His love to fill your soul if you have requested it. As you earnestly desire and request that God’s love enter and fill your soul, your prayerful request is honored. How about that ?!!
You are given on the spot directions about many matters just as Jesus was and by the same Father that guided Jesus. Now you see what he meant by “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. Consider:
John: 14:31: But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
John: 12:49: For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
John: 12:50: And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
Jesus was relaxed because he did not have to be concerned about the day or the morrow. What to do and what to say was imparted to him as His Father willed and otherwise he could devote his time to prayer, fishing, and waiting for further directions from His Father. His endeavor was to so stay in tune with the Father that he could detect the direction, but the decision making process was only secondarily his.
In the case of miracles, we should know that the Father enabled Jesus to see that He, the Father, willed it. It is the Father that doeth the works or it doesn’t take place. So student, do not attempt to be greater than the Master who could do nothing of his own self. Be willing to say, “I do nothing of myself”. It would seem sufficient that we follow Jesus’ method and attempt nothing without the Father. Jesus’ method was to give utterance and action to His Father’s thoughts and actions. Having done that, he could be content. This is a portion of the peace he left us. Believe me, this yoke is not only easy and light, it is fun and produces a joy that the world will not understand. I did not say that it is void of labor…it isn’t. This method, however, does free you from permitting mere men the option of declaring God’s will to you. This in itself is a great freedom. Years ago I was impressed with the following passage:
Jas: 1:16: Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Jas: 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Upon several occasions the Lord has directed my paths into some courses of action, which were so out of character with my carnal mind that I was startled. By His grace, however, I was given a grand discovery…I was the recipient of the loving thought and not the author of it!!! This discovery enabled me to begin to learn. Gradually I learned to distinguish the difference between my thoughts and those of my Father. A spiritually proud man cannot do this. He is too reluctant to admit that the thoughts do not have their origin in his improved nature. He is unwilling to share credit with God. He does not want to admit, “I of myself can do nothing.” I have learned that every genuinely loving act ever performed by me to aid any person was simply me saying yes to one of my Father’s fine ideas. In truth, by my permission, He then did the work.
I was the glove on the hand. He and I jointly used the body in which I reside. We must understand the love that Jesus shed about was Him being the responsive vehicle through whom the Father both spoke and acted. The Father wished to flash a loving smile, he wished to give a loving embrace, he wished to wash the disciples feet, he wished to pardon the adulteress, he wished to restore sight to the blind, and he entered these thought-options into the mind and spirit of Jesus. Jesus recognized the desire impulses and agreed with them. Then He and the Father both did their respective parts of the action involved. Mind you, even the love which Jesus had for his disciples was Him loving them and all men by following the thought-impulses of his Father who was with him. We must properly use the word ‘as’ to mean ‘by the same method and procedure.’
John: 13:34: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
The loving is to be us saying “yes!” to the Father’s thoughts of loving action toward our brethren. Whenever your Father suggests a course of action to benefit or love your brother, if it is your will to do the will of the Father the action will soon be forthcoming at your hand because you are a ‘colaborer’ together with God. The Father is the author of the idea. You are the recipient of the idea and chosen, if you so will, to be a co-laborer with God the Father as He aids and loves your brother through you.
In the passage to follow, notice the usage of the word friends.
John: 15:14: Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
John: 15:15: Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Jesus’ commandment is that we love one another as, that is, in the same manner and method in which he loved us. As your Father wishes to somehow aid or refresh you, he might suggest a method to me. Utilizing his suggestion and agreeing with it, I move into action aware all the time that I am merely a co-laborer with God in His loving and aiding you. As we go into all nations teaching them to observe all things whatsoever He has commanded us, let us not fail to teach that they are to love one another as Jesus loved his disciples. We are to love one another as a co-labourer with God at His suggestion.
The life dedicated to doing the will of the Father is the most exciting and varied imaginable. As your Father’s love dwells in your soul and you keep your spiritual eyes and ears open there is no telling what He may will, and what is more, you are committed in advance to do whatever it is. He will speak to you using none other than than the inaudible voice of your own mind through the impressions that are sensed. He has done so before and He is so non-intruding that you might not have known that the desire to aid a fellow mortal was authored by Him. Concerning one of your brethren you might find your thoughts or your words beginning:
I wish someone would………. Somebody ought to………… There must be some way to……… I would like to…………. You know, I’ve a good mind to……….. That ought to not be left like that……..
Listen to the balance of what you are thinking and sometimes you mind will cause you to picture you as the man doing the thing you considered. Many times it will be your Father letting you envision you and He as co-workers producing the needed aid or assistance. Quite possibly your Father’s will has just been shown to you through this process. If so, it would be the Father's will as pertains to you only and possibly for that occasion only, unless He directs otherwise. Jesus having done the Father’s will in one instance did not therefore act as though the Father’s will had been universally established by precedent. Each individual case of good resulted from the Father’s will being made known to Him in that individual instance. If your brother has discovered ‘God’s Will’, he can only speak with authority as pertains to himself and his individual experience. It is not likely that your Father and his Father told him to dominate you with what he was led to do. He may suggest, but also you may say, “I’ll counsel with my Father to see if it is His will for me also at this time.”
Someone may protest, “But God has expressed his will in scripture and commandments!” Well, surely in a general sense He has, but to love as Jesus loved means to love on the spot, in any situation, as the Father directs regardless of codified laws in scripture. Never fear, if you are following the royal law and loving as Jesus loved, God will not be angered thereby.
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan addresses the issue of following codified commands versus the Father’s love in one’s soul. hose who refused to help the man in the ditch no doubt were following some written order of instructions, but they were wrong in so doing even if technically they may have been right. The man who responded to God’s will as he sensed it in his heart did the will of God even if possibly he violated some Sabbath day law in so doing…or some other such law which restrained the others. Always you must get the will of the Father directly from the Father himself even if He suggests it through other people. This is no problem.
The Father’s love in your soul will enable you to know the correct course of action in any particular situation. Seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Proverb: 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Proverb: 3:6: In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
As you genuinely determine, “It is my will to do your will”, He will direct you, but mind you experience has taught that he will guide you one step at a time. This is a life lived in faith and trust in His presence and His leadership. Faith is required. The exercise of faith empowers you to do His will:
In actuality, our will is the only thing that we personally own which the Father does not already own. Our will is always ours to use as we see fit, or to devote to Him. To benefit from Jesus’ yoke, we must, as an act of our own will say, “I live on earth, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.”
Jesus wants us to take His yoke upon us. He yoke is “It is my will to do Your will…moment by moment. Whatever you indicate…. I will not permit others to program me, or shout to me your will, for Your love is in my soul and will moment by moment let me know what is your good pleasure"” He knows that when we have His yoke upon us, we will receive the same Master, the same tugging, and the same Masters' care. Taking His yoke upon us makes that possible as we become co-laborers with God, our Father.
Eph: 4:6: One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all,
and in you all.
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