“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS” Matthew 11:29
From – Don’t read this too quickly! You might see the King James Version instead. That version says “learn of me.” The implication is that the more we know about Jesus, the more we will find rest. But that’s not what the Greek text says. The preposition is apo. In Greek, this preposition usually means movement from the edge of something as opposed to movement within something. So, if I went from Jerusalem to Samaria, I would use apo, but if I went from inside the house to outside the house, I would use ek. Now, let’s apply this and see what Jesus really means.
To learn from Jesus is simply to see what Jesus does and copy it. It is to observe the movement of Jesus (His actions and words), not to examine His inner motivation or intention. That makes perfect sense. I really can’t see someone’s intentions or motivations, can I? But I can certainly see how someone behaves. So Jesus says, “Watch Me, and do as I do.” In other words, I don’t have to have Jesus’ theological expertise or mental acumen. All I have to do is copy the Master.
Isn’t that easier? Imagine how difficult it would be if the only way that I could enter into rest was to have all the same mental, emotional and intentional capacity of Jesus. It would be hopeless. I can never be exactly like Him. But, if entering into rest simply means copying what He does, then I have a chance. I can do what Jesus does because He is human, just like me. I can minister to the sick, pray to God, worship on the Sabbath, spend time mentoring and consoling, ask the Father for guidance, listen to instruction and carry out commands. I can do all these things, especially since Jesus promises to be yoked to me and help pull the load. He is my living model for behavior that will produce rest.
Of course, that means when I act in ways that are not consistent with His role model actions, I won’t find rest. Do you believe that? Do you really believe that insofar as you do things that do not model Jesus’ actions, you are bound to dissatisfaction and stress? If you really believe that the only way to find refreshing work is to model Jesus, then seeing His actions clearly is the most important thing you can do. You have to cut through the familiar and see how Jesus really behaved. You have to understand how He responded to a wide variety of situations, just like the circumstances that you face. You have to know what He did when faced with accusation, betrayal, rejection, demands, loss, fear and temptation as well as victory, validation, joy, comfort and friendship. If you don’t know what Jesus did, you can’t know the rest He offers.
Most of us think we can find our own way to the Promised Land. But we end up slaves in Egypt. If you want what Jesus offers, you will have to follow by doing what He does.
Topical Index: Rest