Matthew 11 provides an interesting example of Christ's thankfulness and praise. The context begins with the disappointing breakdown of John the Baptist's faith (verses 2-3) and the people's discontent with both John's solemn message and Christ's more joyous one (verses 16-19). Then follows the stubborn resistance to Christ's preaching in cities highly favored to receive His attention (verses 20-24). It seems as though everything is working against Him, but what is His reaction?
At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." (Matthew 11:25-26; Luke 10:21)
Jesus rejoiced in a thankful spirit even though, from a human point of view, it did not seem logical and right. In Jesus, God presents submission to us in its purist form. Even though "He made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:2), He thankfully and joyously bowed to the will of the Lord of heaven and earth.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Sovereignty and Its Fruit: Part Ten
Our Savior Jesus Christ understands perfectly the burdens of this world. He understands perfectly the burden of sin and the devastation it causes. Sin has the power to destroy what God is creating, His Family, but Christ has already defeated sin. We do not have to carry that burden. He did it fully and completely, for when God does something, we do not have to redo it!
When we think of a yoke, we often think of bondage, servitude, or grueling work that will drive us into the ground. Some may recall the movie in which Samson, blind and bald, struggles to push a huge grindstone, and every step of the way is painful. In reality, however, a yoke is nothing more than a tool to do a job, and a well-designed yoke allows the user to work at maximum capacity and efficiency. Most importantly, our Savior has offered us His yoke. Would any other yoke fit us more perfectly?
Just as two oxen may work together in the yoke, Jesus is also closely working with each of us. We need to picture ourselves sharing the same yoke as Jesus, like a couple of oxen with a load to pull. We should also add to this scene God the Father as the teamster, just as we saw in verse 27 that He has given Christ "all things" needed to get the job done. Jesus is right beside us in the yoke, working diligently to guide us and pull His share of the load to ensure that we finish the job.
What is our reward? Verse 28 says that He will give us rest, "rest for your souls," as verse 29 adds. Jesus' yoke is one of rest, the same rest that is discussed in Hebrews 3-4—the rest of God in His Kingdom!
Then, in verse 30 appears Jesus' heartening proclamation, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Jesus has already cut the road, so all we have to do is to follow His lead, and we will find rest from all of our burdens.
Ronny H. Graham
Take My Yoke Upon You
Jesus shows us that meekness is not a mere contemplative virtue; it is maintaining peace and patience in the midst of pelting provocations. In II Corinthians Paul realizes that the meek and gentle approach can easily appear as weakness to those unfamiliar with Jesus' example, so he calls it "the meekness . . . of Christ." True meekness is always measured by Christ's meekness. His humility, patience, and total submission of His own will to the will of the Father exemplifies meekness.
Martin G. Collins
Moses asked to see the visible glory of God, and He proclaimed His name verbally. Jesus is saying, "If you want to see the mind and nature of God, if you want to see His attitudes, look at Me." God reveals Himself and declares His glory to us through the life, works, and words of Jesus of Nazareth as He opens our minds by His Holy Spirit.
Jesus is "the way" because of all mankind, only He, unmarred by sin, has intimate knowledge of God. Knowing God depends on our knowledge of the truth about Jesus. He shows the way we must walk, the direction and manner of living and relating to others. This is precisely the knowledge Jesus gives. Many times when we ask directions in a strange city, the response confuses us because we are unfamiliar with the town. But when we ask directions of Jesus, He says, "Come, follow Me, and I will take you there."
Some people may teach truth, but He embodies truth; He is "the truth." A man may teach geometry, and his character may not affect his teaching. But if one teaches moral truth, character is paramount. Keeping the third commandment properly revolves around knowing the truth about God and His way.
Colossians 1:15; 2:9 are among the strongest statements in the Bible about the divine nature of Jesus: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. . . . For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." He not only is equal to and reflects God, but He also reveals God to us because He is God. He is completely holy and has authority to judge the world.
We can have no clearer view of God than by looking at Christ. He is the full revelation of God to man. He is the complete expression of God in a human body. He is unique: God became a man, imposing upon Himself the same time-space limitations as other men.
He had every opportunity to waste time, get sick, eat gluttonously and become overweight, drink and experience a hangover, "fly off the handle" in anger, or attack others when someone pricked His vanity. He could have become bitter from rejection or depressed when things did not go His way. He could have worked or played with intense competitiveness to "win at all costs." He had to face death, His own as well as of loved ones. He could have felt "the deck was stacked" against Him.
The gospels show God coping with life on the same terms as men. Now we can really see what kind of character God possesses. Jesus' life gives us firsthand knowledge of what the true way of life is, allowing us to cooperate with Him in His purpose. Among many other things, we see God teaching, healing, sacrificing His life, correcting in love, guarding His flock, and patiently counseling.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)