“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
Learn – This Greek verb manthano is not the same as the word used in the Great Commission passage. The verb in Matthew 29:18 is matheteuo (see February 16). The Great Commission is about discipling others. That means mentoring them in a way that attaches them to the rabbi. That means creating an apprentice relationship. But that is not what Jesus says here. Right here Jesus doesn’t ask for discipleship. He asks for observation that results in moral responsibility and action. Do you see the difference?
To make someone my disciple is to choose someone to follow me. The teacher is the active agent, not the pupil. That’s why the Great Commission is not focused on the results but rather, on the method. But in this verse, Jesus changes the focus. Here the emphasis on is the student, not the teacher. It is the student’s responsibility to carefully observe and copy the teacher. No intimate apprenticeship is required. No “teacher choice” is necessary. All that matters is that the student understand fully the obligation, the responsibility and the action. Manthano is a verb that says, “Just do exactly what I do.”
Why does Jesus use a verb that doesn’t seem to require discipleship? The answer is buried in the structure of the universe. It’s profound – and simple (most profound things really are simple). If I do exactly what Jesus does, I will soon discover that my actions reshape my attitudes and emotions – and I will become His follower because I will discover the refreshment I long to have. I will experience something God built into creation – rest! When I do what Jesus does, I discover my real purpose. I am satisfied at last. I am in-tune with the symphony of creation, in harmony with God’s design within me. My life becomes a stanza in the poetry of the universe. I can never go back. I make myself a disciple.
It’s such a subtle approach. Jesus is so brilliant. Don’t worry about getting all the facts right or having deep insights. Don’t fret over theological puzzles or moral dilemmas. Don’t be discouraged that you won’t be chosen as an apprentice. Just copy Him. Just examine ever so carefully how He acts, and then do it too. And things will change. The more you do what Jesus does, the more you will enter into the eternal flow of the Father’s purposes. And things will change. Life will be much less burdensome – much more joyful. You will find the second wind.
Discipling might be up to the teacher, but learning (examining carefully in order to copy) is up to the student. Either way produces the same result. Pretty clever.
Topical Index: Rest