WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 24, 2010
AN INVITATION TO THE WEARY
(Share your burdens with JESUS)
The Jewish religious leaders of the first century felt that everyone who wished to remain in a right relationship with GOD had to adhere strictly to the laws of Moses without fail. All Jews had to conform to their stern, sometimes legalistically ridiculous, interpretation of GOD’s word. Over the years, they imposed many added-on oral rules and regulations that were not at all biblical in their origins.
For the orthodox Jew, the Law meant two things. First of all, it meant the “The Ten Commandments”. Secondly, it meant “The Pentateuch”, the first five books of the bible, more commonly known to them as “The Law of Moses”. From these two documents, the Pharisees and Scribes formed a very complex, self-made, spoken set of rules and regulations that came to be known as “Oral Law”, or, “The Traditions of the Elders”. It was not until roughly 300 years after JESUS’ crucifixion that these oral laws were written down to form what we know today as the “Mishnah”.
In JESUS’ day, these scribal rules and regulations placed a heavy burden on the believer who wished to please GOD in their everyday living. Sometimes the burden became so heavy on some, that they became discouraged and left the Faith. It also deterred many, who were considering joining the Faith, from doing so. They considered that the weight of the world was a lighter burden than that of trying to carry the weight and restrictions of a believer.
To the prideful Scribes and Pharisees, these unwritten rules and regulations made up the very essence of their religion. In their minds, to observe them, was to please GOD. In the religious sense, the religious leaders and JESUS were miles apart in their thinking. In fact, we see quite vividly, throughout JESUS’ three-year ministry, a basic and fundamental contrast between those who see religion as ritual, and the MAN JESUS, WHO sees in religion, loving GOD, and also, loving HIS fellowman.
JESUS was constantly accusing the religious hierarchy of Israel of substituting the Laws of GOD with “human ingenuity”, through their own man-made laws. It is now a proven fact, that, the cleverness of man can never be the basis of true religion, and true religion can never be produced in the impure recesses of a man’s mind. That is why Christianity is the only true religion, and it is quite simply because, it is the only religion that is a product of the mind of GOD. It is based simply upon listening to, and accepting the word of GOD, on faith.
Man must forever be cognizant of the fact that, any rule that prevents us from helping our fellowman can never be a rule of GOD’s. And remember, GOD hid the truth from the cleaver Scribes and Pharisees, and HE reveals it only to those who are willing to humble themselves down to a childlike state, and be willing to start all over, in the newness of life, that is CHRIST JESUS.
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “promise” is “epaggelia” (ep-ang-el-ee-ah), and it is “an announcement of divine assurance of good”. Here in this passage, Matthew 11:25-30, JESUS announces a promise of divine assurance that anyone who chooses to come to HIM, from out of the world, will experience a lightening of their load, by way of the forgiveness of their sins, and the offering of eternal rest in HIS FATHER’s Kingdom. HE offers us to take HIS yoke instead, by receiving HIS humble and gentle teachings, which fits us perfectly, and is far lighter than the encumbrances of our own iniquities.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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