Summary: The walk with the Master requires great effort on our part. However, the load we bear is made easy by the one we serve.
Robert Kirkpatrick had some good news and some bad news. The good news: he had been extended a written invitation to a dinner with President Bush in Washington, DC. The invite and letter were signed by Vice President Cheney himself. It is not every day you receive an invitation like that. On the other hand, it was a fund-raising dinner and cost would be $2500 a plate. You might think that was the bad news. Not in this case.
The bad news: When Kirkpatrick received the invitation in 2001, he was just beginning a three year stint at the Belmont Correctional Institution eastern Ohio. He was serving time for drug possession and attempted escape. In the day of computer generated mailing lists, such mistakes happen all the time.
Kirkpatrick was philosophical about the invitation. He told reporters, "I’m going to tell him that I’d be happy to attend, but he’s going to have to pull some strings to get me there." John Bacon (from staff and wire reports), "Guess Who’s Not Coming to a Bush Dinner," USA Today (6-5-02) p. 3A)
Yeshua (Jesus) gives us a special invitation but it is no mistake:
Similar to words in Hebrew Apocryphal writings which Yeshua (Jesus) was familiar with:
23 Draw near unto me, ye unlearned, and dwell in the house of learning. 24 Wherefore are ye slow, and what say ye to these things, seeing your souls are very thirsty? 25 I opened my mouth, and said, Buy her [i.e., wisdom] for yourselves without money. 26 Put your neck under the yoke, and let your soul receive instruction: she is hard at hand to find. 27 Behold with your eyes, how that I have but little labor, and have gotten unto me much rest. Ben Sira (or “Ecclesiasticus”) 51.23-27 (ca. 200 years BC)
• Draw Near for Instruction
• Take Yoke/Burden
• Labor of Learning brings rest
I. There is an Invitation to be Heard
A. Given to the Laden Laborers (weary and burdened)
For 75 years a missing persons case in NYC has remained unsolved. One evening in August of 1930 Joe Crater, a successful Supreme Court Judge for New York, waved goodbye to some friends after dinner at a restaurant, got in a taxi, and disappeared. Nothing in his past or present could explain his strange disappearance except possibly a note he left with a check for his wife. The note simply said, “I am very weary, love Joe”
Was that note an indication of his plans? Was it simply an expression of his feeling tired? Was it a note from a despairing man? We’ll never know.
Causes for weariness:
More than being tired – there is a “good” tired
This is fatigue when what you do doesn’t matter
Fatigue of despair – burdens of the leaders – Matthew 23.1-4
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
Fatigue of sins
Don’t be weary when doing right (Galatians 6.10)
B. Given by the Lowly One
Learn FROM Me – more than learn about me
Meek and Humble (Lowly/could include oppressed and poor)
Moses – (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) Numbers 12.2
Prophet like Moses – 15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. Deuteronomy 18.15, 18
Prediction of the Messiah – Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9.9
Imagine two oxen yoked together. We know the oxen are strong. We hope they are also meek (strength under control). If one or both are out of control, there is little work that will be accomplished and a lot of turmoil.
The same thing was true for a Jewish boy who took the Yoke of a Rabbi. In Jesus’ day, many Rabbis were anything BUT humble and gentle. You have to pity an unsuspecting Jewish boy who found himself Yoked for life to a pride-filled, legalistic Rabbi who was impossible to please. There’s no REST to be found there!