03.01.2020 | GOD, PART 2 | Wk 5: “A New Rest”
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What is your favorite thing to do to relax? Where do you go? What do you do? Why do you find it restful?
Read Matthew 11:25-30. This prayer by Jesus is preceded by his teachings & healings.
Begin by reflecting on Jesus’ metaphor – his yoke. A yoke is a tool of labor used to bind two oxen together so they can more easily pull a heavy load. In the Jewish context, a yoke was used to describe the teachings, lifestyle, & actions of a Rabbi – the things passed down by a teacher that a student was expected to copy, carry, & live out as a follower.
With this in mind, reflect on the metaphor itself. In practice, a yoke does not lessen the weight of a load. In fact, it adds to the weight. However, it does make it easier to carry the burden of it.
How does this impact how you understand the metaphor?
Why does Jesus connect his teachings to an extra weight that his disciples will have to carry?
To be clear, Jesus believes that his teachings & lifestyle will not lessen the weight of the hardships of life – but they will make them easier to carry.
Why doesn’t Jesus tell us that his rest will come from removing our hardships & burdens? Is this how you normally have understood Jesus’ offer of rest for the weary?
Reflect on some of life’s most common hardships: conflict, hard relationships, finding meaning & purpose, vocation & work, navigating the complexity of our world, living in community with flawed people, & many more.
Do any of these feel burdensome to you in this season? Do any of them feel like crushing weight? If not, what does?
Now, reflect on a few key teachings:
- Forgiving instead of retaliating in conflict
- Releasing anger instead of feeling contempt in hard relationships
- Giving grace instead of judging other people
- Finding our belovedness in God, first and foremost
- Seeking reconciliation instead of resentment
How might Jesus’ teachings feel like an extra burden in your hardships at first – but end up making your burden feel easier to carry?
How might adopting one of Jesus’ teachings in this area of your life bring about rest even if it doesn’t remove the challenge of that circumstance?
Close by reflecting on where this prayer falls in Jesus’ ongoing ministry – after his teaching, healing, & offer of liberation.
What is the connection between Jesus’ teachings & finding rest for the weary?
What is the connection between healing & finding rest for the weary?
What is the connection between Jesus’ Exodus liberation & finding rest?
What might it look like for you to take up Jesus’ yoke in this season of your life?
Getting Out of the Hole
Take time this week to reflect on Jesus’ offer of rest.
- Where are you feeling burdened?
- Why does that circumstance feel so heavy?
- How might Jesus’ teaching lessen the weight of that burden & make it easier to carry in this season?
Journal about your answers to these questions & pray for insights. Share your experience with the group next week!
Matthew Commentary by Stanley Hauerwas
Simply Jesus by NT Wright
Jesus and the Victory of God by NT Wright
Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament by Chris Wright
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, March 8: Join us for the sixth week of our series GOD PT 2, where we will be looking at how Jesus acts as a new teacher for those looking to find themselves in God’s Kingdom.
* Please see mye3.org for details.