“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
~Matthew 11.28-30, NRSV
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
~Matthew 16.24-28, NRSV
We have not spent enough time with Jesus Christ. We have not walked with him, listened to him, talked to him long enough to know him. We claim to know what he looks like and what groups he stands with and against. But, many of us do not know his voice.
We believe that we understand him because we have read all of the gospels, the letters of Luke, Paul, James and John. We have memorized his prayer. We have walked the “Roman Road.” But, is this all there is to knowing Christ? What have we learned from him in these actions?
And what do we know of his yoke? It seems that we are more familiar with our burdens and will spend much of our spiritual lives talking to Christ about them. Instead of taking on the yoke of Christ, we will attempt to get Christ to take on our burdens, our causes. Jesus becomes the Son of the gods we’ve created, the Son of Social Justice, the Son of Poverty, the Son of Abortion, the Son of Race and so on. We want Jesus to learn of us. We don’t want to learn of Christ, to follow him because then we would have to deny ourselves. And in our ignorance and fear, we have added much to our identity and ability that is neither credible, purposeful or possible.
We believe that the burden is lighter than the yoke of Christ. Yet, we say that we know ourselves. But, if we have not discovered the depth of Christ’s character, the richness of his wisdom then we are without much of who we are and will be. This is why our souls cannot rest and they will not so long as we attempt to know Christ a part from his yoke and his teachings.