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- Crying LukePerhaps this is you recently, your joy has changed into frustration, fear or even rage.One of my favorite verses is30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Yet in 2020 perhaps your burden doesn’t feel light at all.The Lord’s easy yoke has been replacedreplaced with the fear of the virusreplaced with the fear of the otherreplaced with the fear of political powerHow can I experience a lightened burden in a miserable 2020?To remind yourself of how miserable it is and how people are handling it just open up your Facebook feed, or if you don’t do facebook turn on the news.There are those that say these problems don’t exist, you are being controlledAnd yet others say, these problems are sever and systemic, you who ignore are the problemIN the midst of this is the need to get on with life but some of us can’t go back to work, others of us can’t stop working, and even more have to work i a completely different way soreplaced what we think our life is supposed to be aboutSo what are we going to do?We could protest, we could continue to post and share what we agree with on social media, we can boycott, we can invest in those who agree with us, we can call out and face up to anyone who tells. We could avoid all division, refuse to allow ...Wait? Don’t we follow Jesus?As I said last week 2020 seems to be the year that everyone is telling us how we should live and this time it comes with consequences but our focus is to be on following Jesus.This is key isn’t it. I have heard from a news source which I went back to footnote but had trouble finding it but perhaps you will see this as true in your own life: the determing factor for wearing a face covering.not politicsnot racenot genderwho you are surrounded byAnd since we are surrounded by so many voices telling us what do, fictional characters on our shows, polticians, supervisors, family, friends, it’s no wonder, we can often look on our backs and realize we forgot to follow Jesus.Your not alone, lets go back in time, back to when Jesus said these words30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”So when Jesus told us that his yoke was easy and his burden light what was happening right before?The verse comes in the book of the Bible called Matthew, in chapter 11.Jesus had formed the 12 disciples, called them all out. Jesus went out teaching, healing all around his home area of Galillee and people were starting to follow.Then his cousin, John the Baptist, the guy named the Baptist because he Baptized people as a symbol of their repentance and God’s forgiveness. He told people that judgment was coming. But in the time since Jesus Baptism John had been arrested and He sent a note to him, John the Baptist was in jail and was asking about was He really the one. This is what Jesus answered:4 Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, 6 and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me.”All these awesome things are happening - incredible stuff! Only God could do this.But there is so much more that is happening, you see many were seeking God to give them political power, to rid their world of a fake Jewish ruler, who was over them Herod Anitpas, who currently had Jesus cousin, John the Baptist arrested. Including perhaps John the Baptist, who most likely wanted out of his life situation. Many wanted real Jews to once again rule from Jerusalem. They desired a Messiah that would take over the world.They wanted the power thinking it would make life easy again*I put the star by again because throughout history people’s having imagined a time when things were better. Forgetting that when they had power life was full of hardship and struggle because political power doesn’t spur ease.Yet the Old Testament and even some of the people of Jesus day new that God would come righting the wrongs of the poor and the ill. Healing and deliveringIN one Dead Sea Scroll it is written by Jews looking for the messiah, who were not connected to writing the Bible but writing their thoughts that they got from reading the prophet Isaiah
Will you not find the Lord in this, all ye who wait [for Him] with hope in your hearts?
5 Surely the Lord will seek out the pious, and will call the righteous by name.
6 His spirit will hover over the poor, by His might will He restore the faithful.
7 He will glorify the pious on the throne of the eternal kingdom.
8 He will release the captives, make the blind see, raise up the do[wntrodden.] 9 For[ev]er I will cleave [to Him aga]inst the [po]werful, and [I will trust] in his lovingkindness.You see even though John the Baptist was the last prophet, the one who foretold that Jesus was coming, even he wondered why Jesus was doing what He is doing.Perhaps you do today.As you work hard in this weird world of an epidemic, conspiracy theories, and incredible political pressure everything can be so loud, so confusing, and people can make their cause seem so important!Everyone wanting you to take a side, to be on the side of right, to do what they are influencing you to do.Same thing happened to Jesus and John the Baptist:Jesus said,18 John came fasting and they called him crazy. 19 I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”See John the Baptist was so weird, he ate locuts and wild honey and hung out by the Jordan River and people from all over came to him but those in charge who could not control him and whose power was threatened by his message called him a crazy man.Jesus was the exact opposite, with the people , his first miracle done at a wedding, but he wasn’t part of the politics, no Roman Emperor ever said the name of Jesus in the first 100 years.Many want to be impressed with the outside.People have always, will always, try to use the organizing power of faith to get power for politics, get people to spend money, and try to get importance for themselves.In the midst of all this politics and controversy, Jesus stands before them and says,25 Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. 26 Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”I kind of wonder if the disciples got that Jesus just called them not that important of people.My friends, this is to say don’t worry about knowing it all, just be amazed that the one who knows it all knows you, because He likes to reveal Himself to people who can only give credit to God for anything they are able to do.Jesus is all about taking people who have small qualifications or none and using them to change the world.Jesus looked at all the people as He looks at all of you today and says,28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Those of you that find yourself as pushed around, motivated by the concerns of a world that is quickly fading, wondering why your side isn’t winning or how can so many be so stupid,looking down and feeling torn up about the cares of this world, can you take a moment towonder why you think that yoke is worthy of your effort?See a yoke is a big thing you put around an ox that allows them to pull a plow, its what they work at, its what they do for the farmer that allows them to be so valuable.But I got to tell you all the things that different groups try to do to give us a yoke, they certainly don’t feel so light do they?What is the yoke of Jesus? To learn from Him, to follow Him, to love Him above all others which changes our lives so that the highlight of our month this month might be helping the poor next Saturday, or learning what it means to repent and be delivered from addiction in the coming weeks.It might be blessing our children in their distance learning or taking the time to call someone from our church family.It is for certain that it means asking the Lord and the Lord only what is His cause for you today. What is the part He wants you to play.This means purposefully and with effort reminding ourselves of who Jesus is and what He means in our life.For me that’s become Biblical mediation through a website calledEncounteringpeace.comI also begin the day usually with our Bible study through the appyouversionIt’s a radical shift in my heart and thinking. I find myself not so quick to show others how smart I am or how right my politics are.I begin to ask how can I encourage others and bring healing to their lives?How can I bring joy?I begin to ask through my day how can this Corona time be a blessing for others and not my frustration?Its a radical shift as I approach responsibilities asking not why do I suck so much but what will God do with this?You see your invited to get involved in the important things of this world, in bringing healing to others, in taking down horrible problems but not because those are what hold meaning, but because you are going to join God and see Him do it before your very eyes starting with the crazy crap that keeps pulling you around in your life. Today, take off the yoke of impressing anyone else and take on the calling of Christ.Walking with Christ means you don’t have to fix the world’s problems, Jesus will, you just get to be a part.Walking with Christ means governments are just tools not the power that determines the worldWalking with Christ means that no matter how abled, young, attractive, or intelligent you are God has a purpose for you.His purpose is awesome and its also easy30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- We Will Glorify
1 John 3.16NRSV
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