Being serious about life is hard work and soul-wearying. Have you ever asked yourself if the entity you name as God truly wants life to be a burden? Just look at Jesus, the one Christians revere as Savior. Regardless of his divinity or not, regardless of his virgin birth or not, regardless of his bodily resurrection or not, he was presented as a portrait of compassionate and joyful fulfillment by the ancient writers. He enjoyed a good wedding celebration with friends, he ate foods forbidden by his Judaic upbringing, he did not wash his hands ceremoniously before breaking bread, he counseled and healed lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors and others considered unclean and immoral by his contemporaries. He exhorted his friends and disciples to follow his example.
The Book of John, chapter 14, says that Jesus responded to his disciples, who were dismayed by his pending departure, saying, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” I have never been able to believe that he was telling his disciples to establish a new religious cult or that church fathers centuries later should create a revolutionary theology and call it Christianity. No, Jesus was teaching them how to live a contented and peaceful life in a cruel and savage 1st century, Roman occupied culture. Very simply the Way, the Truth, and the Life was his path of spiritual enlightenment shared with fellow Jews within the parameters of Judaism.
Through parables and stories he provided an ageless example for all of us to practice in pursuit of a meaningful existence in this life’s experience. It has nothing to do with religion or correct theology or a list of “thou shalt and thou shalt not.” Jesus was Jewish yet he rebelled at the litany of doctrines and laws which Judaism embraced. He knew the penalty for his heresy would be death yet refused to denounce his truth within his own heart, an indwelling God. That’s the example passed on to us – know the heart’s truth and live by it even unto death.
“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I put upon you is light.” MATTHEW 11:28-30
I have been struggling recently – with personal issues, with faith, with the horrific injustices of government and institutions. My answers were not forthcoming because I had chosen to take my own yoke upon me. It’s a yoke of concern and worry, of control and judgement. I failed to remember that there is only one who can fix my crazy world. His yoke is easy, his load is light. He showed me how to do this with the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Lord, here’s my yoke; I want yours instead. Lay it on me.