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Discipleship and Rest

November 11, 2004
28Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
                                                                      Matthew 11:28-30

This passage reveals three of the most basic principles of biblical discipleship that Jesus modeled for us.

1. Discipleship is about coming to Jesus.
Jesus told His disciples to come to Him. As we make disciples, we do not teach people to come to human leaders or church programs with their burdens, rather we teach them to go to Jesus. Some people feel they can only get close to God when they are experiencing victory in all areas of life. However, Jesus told His followers to come to Him, not only when things were going great, but when they were burdened and weary. In discipleship, we are to teach people to go to Jesus no matter what the situation, especially during tough times.

2. Discipleship is rest.
Twice in this passage Jesus promises rest for those who would come to Him and learn from Him. This is not the kind of rest we get from taking a day off. Jesus promises rest for the soul, not necessarily physical rest. Sometimes the most restful thing we can do is the will of God, no matter how much hard work that requires. On the other hand, it is common for spiritually weary people to get more and more involved in endless church activities without ever going to Jesus. This results in burnout rather than rest. If we connect with Jesus we will have rest, no matter how busy we may be.

3. Discipleship is an easy yoke and a light burden.
If what we are experiencing is a hard yoke or a heavy burden, then either it is not biblical discipleship or we are not going to Jesus. In discipleship there is a yoke and there is a burden, but it is supposed to be easy and light.

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