Jesus is a liar!
I can distinctly recall sitting at my desk during my Freshman year at IWU and while reading Matthew 11, I said to myself “Jesus clearly has no idea what the burden of life is like. His burden is not light! His burden is heavy and borderline cruel!”
Matthew 11:30 enraged me. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I mean come on. Seriously? After ch. 11 vv. 1-19 Jesus tells John, “Yes I am the messiah and you will die in prison.” And then 20-24 he chews out unrepentant cities. Then is vs. 30 he has the audacity to say that His burden is light?
Utter foolishness. He clearly is not in touch with reality.
Not only was I dissatisfied with the way this text sat in the pericope but I did not see this text speaking to any sort of real reality. Why? Because I was fighting sin so frieken hard and I was exhausted.
Months prior I had gotten caught by my parents for viewing pornography (an eighteen year old’s worst nightmare). Therefore I cleaned up my behavior. I vowed never to do it again and while I was on my self-prescribed self-help plan I was going to fix my other behavior as well.
So I became very regimented, disciplined, I gathered friends for “accountability” and decided that I would be rid of my bad behavior. I also started a bible study on my floor, read theology, and even raised my hands in worship. Why? Because I wanted to show that I was a true Christian. I reveled in the passages that told me to “make every effort” and make my life “worthy” of the gospel.
Fundamentally I believed that while God may have saved me, it was up to my determination and tenacity to grow into Christ likeness to show my commitment to Jesus, to others, and myself.
I had no framework for rest. True rest. Jesus’ rest.
Rest? Yes rest. Wait, do you really mean rest? Surely you must mean temporary rest, like watching an episode of 24 after a long day of exertion. Surely you must mean taking a quick break. Surely you must mean the musical worship time when you’re caught up in the music and are not thinking about sin or mission. No, I mean rest.
Jesus does NOT call the believer to a life of toil and strife but to a life of rest. Why? Because Jesus toiled and strived perfectly for us.
The focus of (gospel centered-) Christianity totally removes the focus off of myself and places the focus on Christ. This is especially true in sanctification. When I trusted Christ (or I should say when Christ trusted perfectly for me) I was brought into Christ’s very being. My whole being was joined with Him.
Therefore my (good or bad) behavior is not the primary focus because Christ’s perfect behavior stands as mine. This did not just apply when I was first saved but every day, minute, second.
To affirm that it is your job to mortify sin, to put sin to death, to cease negative behavior, is to simultaneously affirm that God has abandoned you, you are an old creation, Christ’s sin bearing is insufficient. When you/we believe that on us sits the weight of making ourselves like Christ we call Jesus a liar and deny the essence of the gospel. (And by the way, I believe this lie every day.)
But what about my part? You’re “part” is to rest and grasp Christ.
Jesus is no liar. Sit. Rest. Be. Take your eyes off of yourself and rest them on Christ. That’s the work you’re called to. In that work, in Christ, is the freedom the gospel promises. Jesus frees you from looking at yourself.
So was Jesus a liar when he said that His yoke would be light? No. I am the liar when I profess that I believe into Christ and then try to maintain/improve my good behavior.
I encourage you to read this post by Tullian.