The Mystery of the Easy Yoke
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: As he is sending out his disciples, Jesus warns them about the suffering they will certainly experience: they will be hated, disowned, and persecuted because of him. Not long before that, Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, wherein he called for the strictest form of obedience. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,” Jesus says, “you will never see the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). Given such incredible demands, in what possible sense could Jesus now tell his followers that his burden is light and his yoke easy?
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. For what does Jesus thank God in verse 25? Is he grateful that some folks, i.e., “the wise and understanding” will not receive him?
2. Who are the “wise” of this present day? Who are the “little children”?
3. How would you explain the sovereignty of God?
4. “In Jesus God gets a face.” What does this mean? What are some specific things that you have learned about God through Jesus’ words and works in Matthew?
5. What is a “yoke”? What is implied by this imagery?
6. How specifically has Jesus lightened your burden and allowed you to experience freedom?
1. Read Matthew 11:25-20.
2. “Israel did not like the austere message of John, with its call to repentance, and they did not like the sweet message of Jesus, with its offer of grace. Nothing satisfied them.” – Daniel Doriani
3. 01. Behind and above a discouraging world is a gracious Father who is neither frustrated nor lacking control, but is revealing himself to the ones he chooses.
4. “The church needs her Master’s acquiescence in the sovereignty of God if she is to have Jesus’ poise in ministry. Excessive attention to an unresponsive world and insufficient appreciation of the relaxing reality of God’s sovereignty can drive Christians into the slough of despond.”
5. Read Matthew 10:27.
6. 02. God is understandable only as a gift of the Son, but the Son reveals to us everything we need to know about the Father.
7. “Stop speculating about the Godhead and climbing into heaven to see who or what or how God is; hold on to this man Jesus.” – Martin Luther
8. Read Matthew 10:28-30.
9. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36
10. “Not, ‘I will save you’ only, but what is much greater, ‘I will refresh you,’ that is, I will set you in all quietness.” – John Chrysostom
11. 03. Those who “come to Jesus,” as the Savior invites, find an end to their striving to be good enough and relief from the burden to prove their worth.