“Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”
Jesus spoke to many who were desperately trying to do what was lawful but who were “loaded down” because the Jewish leaders made religion a burdensome thing. (Matthew 23:4) They focused on endless rules for virtually all aspects of life. Would you not find it stressful to keep hearing “you must not” do this or that? In contrast, Jesus’ invitation was to truth, to righteousness, to a better life by listening to him.
Back then, a laborer toiled 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, usually for just one denarius for the whole day. (Matthew 20:2-10) How does that compare with your wages or those of your friends? It can be challenging to compare ancient wages with those of modern times. One way is to consider purchasing power, what money can buy. One scholar says that in Jesus’ day a loaf of bread made with four cups of wheat flour cost about one hour’s pay. Another scholar says that a cup of good wine cost about two hour’s pay. You can see from such details that people at that time toiled long and hard to keep living. They needed relief and refreshment, as we do.
Back then, a common man might have felt as though he were working under a yoke. From ancient times, the yoke had been illustrative of slavery or servitude. (Genesis 27:40; Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48) Many of the day laborers whom Jesus met worked with an actual yoke on their shoulders, carrying heavy burdens. Depending on how a yoke was fashioned, it could be easy on the neck and shoulders or it could chafe. As a carpenter, Jesus may have made yokes, and he would have known how to shape one that was “kindly.” Perhaps he lined the contact points with leather or cloth to make the yoke as comfortable as possible.
When Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you,” he could have been likening himself to one who provided well-made yokes that would be “kindly” to a workman’s neck and shoulders. Thus, Jesus added: “My load is light.” This signified that the yoke bar was not unpleasant to use, and the work was not slavish either. Granted, by inviting his listeners to accept his yoke, Jesus was not offering immediate relief from all oppressive conditions then current. Still, the change of viewpoint he presented would bring considerable refreshment. Adjustments in their life-style and way of doing things would relieve them too. More to the point, a clear and solid hope would help them find life less stressful.
Jesus was not saying that people would trade one yoke for another. Rome would still be in control of the land, just as today’s governments are in control where Christians live. First-century Roman taxation would not go away. Health and economic problems would remain.[…] Still, refreshment could be theirs by adopting Jesus’ teaching, as it can be ours today. […]one who wants to learn Jesus’ teachings today needs to remember that there is a difference between agreeing with them and actively embracing them, thus reducing stress.
Who teaches “Happiness”? (Somebody Happy??) To teach happiness, does the teacher need to be living happiness? Are there any students anywhere that could say: my teacher inspires happiness or makes me happy? Or what my teacher teaches–when applied–the results are happiness? To teach anything–would You need to know about the topic? Is an extensive education in happiness a requirement? Ancients or moderns alike–a common desire/need/want of all humanity past and present…is it happiness?! (am i happy?)
“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.
“Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted.
“Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.
“Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.
“Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.
“Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.
“Happy are the peacemakers, since they will be called sons of God.
Teachers lecture…and IF effective/helpful/inspiring…students remember, huh?
In the spring of 31 C.E., Jesus gave a lecture that is world-renowned to this day. It is usually called the Sermon on the Mount. It is recorded in Matthew chapters 5 through 7 and Luke chapter 6, and it summarizes many of his teachings. […] Much of what he said is self-explanatory, though putting it into practice can be challenging.
If you truly want to overcome the effect of too much stress in your life, what is going to help? How can you be affected for the better if you increase your attention to spiritual matters, letting such occupy more of your thoughts? Is there some concern in your life that you need to attach less importance to, allowing for greater attention to spiritual issues? If you do so, it will add to your happiness now. (Excerpts from: Relief From Stress–A Practical Remedy w2001)
Jesus’ interactions intrigue me…(i.e. his relationships with those around him). Being a Mother of 4–it’s noteworthy to me the following response: a woman from a crowd listening to one of his lectures..is emotionally moved to scream out loudly: “Happy is the womb that carried you and the breasts that you sucked!”
If Jesus wanted his mother to be revered, he had here a golden opportunity to recommend that form of devotion. Instead, he replied: “No, rather, Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!”—Luke 11:27, 28.
Jesus did not single out his mother for any special honors; nor did he ever tell his followers to do so. (excerpted Mary’s Role in God’s Purpose W 09)
What women thought mattered to Jesus. At that time, most Jewish women believed that the key to happiness was to have a worthy son, if possible one who was a prophet.
By indicating that spirituality was more important, Jesus pointed her to something more than the traditional role imposed upon women.—John 8:32.
Jesus did not consider them to be mere sexual objects. In the view of some Jewish religious leaders, contact with the opposite sex could lead only to lust. Since women were feared as a source of temptation, they were not allowed to talk to men in public or to go out without wearing a veil. On the other hand, Jesus advised men to control their own fleshly desires and treat women with dignity instead of cutting them off from social relations.
Jesus also said: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” (Mark 10:11, 12) He thus rejected the prevailing rabbinic teaching that allowed men to divorce their wives “on every sort of ground.” (Matthew 19:3, 9) The concept of committing adultery against his wife was alien to most Jews. Their rabbis taught that a husband could never commit adultery against his wife—only a woman could be unfaithful! As one Bible commentary puts it, “Jesus, by putting the husband under the same moral obligation as the wife, raised the status and dignity of women.”
Jesus took time to teach women. In contrast with the prevalent rabbinic view that kept women in ignorance, Jesus taught them and encouraged them to express themselves. By refusing to deprive Mary (One of Lazarus’ sisters) of the joy of being taught, Jesus showed that a woman’s place is not only in the kitchen. (Luke 10:38-42) Mary’s sister, Martha, also benefited from his teaching, as shown by her intelligent answers to Jesus after Lazarus’ death.—John 11:21-27. What women thought mattered to Jesus.
Jesus cared for women. In Bible times, daughters were not valued as much as sons. The Talmud reflects this view, saying: “Happy is he whose children are males, and woe to him whose children are females.” Some parents regarded a girl as a greater burden—they would have to find her a mate and give a dowry, and they would not be able to depend on her for support in their old age.
Jesus showed that a little girl’s life is as important as a boy’s—he resurrected Jairus’ daughter, as he did the son of the widow at Nain. (Mark 5:35, 41, 42; Luke 7:11-15) After healing a woman troubled by “a spirit of weakness for eighteen years,” Jesus called her “a daughter of Abraham,” an expression almost unknown in Jewish writings. (Luke 13:10-16) By using this respectful and kind expression, he not only regarded her as a full-fledged member of society but also recognized her great faith.—Luke 19:9; Galatians 3:7.
Jesus trusted women. In the Jewish courts, the testimony of a woman was considered equal only to that of a slave. Josephus, a first-century historian, advised: “From women let no evidence be accepted, because of the levity and temerity of their sex.”
In sharp contrast, Jesus chose to have women bear witness to his resurrection. (Matthew 28:1, 8-10) Though these faithful women had been eyewitnesses of the execution and burial of their Lord, to the apostles, the women’s words were hard to believe. (Matthew 27:55, 56, 61; Luke 24:10, 11) However, by appearing first to women, […] regarded them as worthy of bearing witness as his other disciples were.—Acts 1:8, 14.
When men imitate Jesus, women are given the respect and freedom that God originally purposed for them. (Genesis 1:27, 28) Instead of supporting male chauvinism, Christian husbands let themselves be guided by Bible principles, which contribute to their mate’s happiness.—Ephesians 5:28, 29. (Excerpted: Respect And Dignity Under God’s Care W 2012)
Jesus was “mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:29) He was also a man of action. Never did he abdicate his responsibilities. (Mark 6:34; John 2:14-17) He kindly gave counsel to his disciples, even repeatedly when necessary. (Matt. 20:21-28; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 22:24-27) Still, Jesus did not berate or humiliate them, nor did he make them feel unloved or incapable of carrying out what he was teaching them to do. Instead, he praised and encouraged his disciples. (Luke 10:17-21) No wonder Jesus gained the respect of his disciples by his loving and compassionate treatment of them!During his earthly ministry, Jesus emphasized that marriage was intended to be permanent. He taught principles that when applied would help family members to avoid attitudes and conduct that threatened their marriage or the happiness of their family. (Matt. 5:27-37; 7:12) (Excerpted: Christian Families—Follow Jesus’ Example! w09)
THE Law given through Moses contained some 600 requirements and regulations. Although discharging the obligations of the Mosaic Law was necessary, the showing of mercy was also of major importance. Consider what Jesus said to the Pharisees, who manifested an unmerciful attitude. On two occasions he rebuked them, pointing out that God had decreed: “I want mercy, and not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:10-13; 12:1-7; Hosea 6:6) Toward the end of his ministry, Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness.”—Matthew 23:23.
Undeniably, Jesus placed a high value on mercy. He told his followers: “Continue becoming merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)[…]Mercy is a blend of many good qualities. It involves graciousness, love, kindness, and goodness. Tender feelings of compassion or sympathy are at the root of acts of mercy. (Excerpted Your Father is Merciful w07)
The Pharisees showed an unmerciful attitude toward others and were rebuked by Jesus with the words: “Go, then, and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’” (Mt 9:10-13; 12:1-7; compare Ho 6:6.) He placed mercy among the weightier matters of the Law. (Mt 23:23) As noted, while such mercy could embrace judicial clemency, such as the Pharisees might have opportunity to show, perhaps as members of the Sanhedrin, it was not limited to this. More basically it referred to active manifestation of pity or compassion, deeds of mercy.—Compare De 15:7-11.
This mercy might be expressed in material giving. But to count with God, it must be properly motivated, not be mere ‘enlightened selfishness.’ (Mt 6:1-4)
Jesus said the failure of the Pharisees was in not giving “as gifts of mercy the things that are inside.” (Lu 11:41) Thus true mercy must proceed from the heart.
Jesus and his disciples were notable especially for their merciful giving of spiritual gifts of far greater value than material things. (Compare Joh 6:35; Ac 3:1-8.) (Excerpts Insight on Scriptures Vol. 2 Mercy)
This (writing/posting) is an enormous (project) undertaking, which makes me painfully aware of my-limiting-inadequacies, to collage/collate pieces together (aka cut-n-paste: glue/staple various readings, etc.) to form a valid/authentic glimpse/look at the figure Jesus…(it’s interesting, to me, that the Bible does not give any concrete-physical details/specifics of his looks, his height, his weight, his stature, his build…He is called a “perfect” man…is a perfect man good looking?! hmmmmm:) i like that!, this “specific” appearance information, is NOT recorded–by his close friends in the Gospels…Jesus didn’t care about outer appearances whatsoever (evidenced in his dealings with a wide-range of people/young and old and usually those rejected by the popular/powerful classes of the day). He cared about the “inner” person much…not only their physical/material/health needs, but more importantly–their unseen-by-eyes-needs…emotional, mental and spiritual well-being/health! Obviously, his heritage is Jewish, his genealogy/lineage is the “son of David”. David is described as/served as…at times…the pictorial-type of Jesus.
“Accordingly [Jesse] sent and had [David] come. Now he was ruddy, a young man with beautiful eyes and handsome in appearance.” (1Samuel 16:12)
i think most Bible scholars..(many, that i’ve read anyway, who have studied/researched, at exhaustive length, both Jesus & David, individually)–find it rather difficult NOT to notice similarities/parallels or make comparisons between David and Jesus. Jesus has been called the “Greater” David (and “Greater” Solomon aka David’s wise son). Jesus’ gene pool is one of great beauty and great wisdom (as well great humility despite such)!
Jesus, like David, was born in Bethlehem, some 1,100 years after David’s time. In the eyes of many, Jesus too did not look like a king. That is, he was not the kind of king that many in Israel hoped for. […]Like King David, the man Jesus was fearless.
The parallels between the two continue. For instance, David was betrayed by his counselor Ahithophel, and Jesus was betrayed by his apostle Judas Iscariot. (Ps. 41:9; John 13:18) Both David and Jesus had a consuming zeal for Jehovah’s (Yahweh’s/God’s) place of worship. (Ps. 27:4; 69:9; John 2:17) (excerpts: Appreciating Jesus—The Greater David and the Greater Solomon W09)
“Jesus Christ, son of David,” was both the legal and the natural heir to the throne of David. (Mt 1:1, 17; Lu 3:23-31) Paul said that Jesus was the offspring of David according to the flesh. (Ro 1:3; 2Ti 2:8) The common people also identified Jesus as the “Son of David.” (Mt 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 21:9, 15; Mr 10:47, 48; Lu 18:38, 39) It was important to establish this, for, as the Pharisees admitted, Messiah would be David’s son. (Mt 22:42) (excerpted: David, Insight on Scriptures, Vol. 1)
Tidbits about David…that help us understand Jesus a bit:
Jesus is also a shepherd. What are the characteristics of a good shepherd? He is someone who faithfully and courageously tends, feeds, and guards his flock. (Ps. 23:2-4) As a youth, David was a shepherd, and he took very good care of his father’s sheep. He was courageous when the flock was threatened and risked his life to protect the sheep from a lion and a bear.—1 Sam. 17:34, 35.
The years David spent in fields and on hills tending sheep prepared him for the demanding duties and responsibilities of shepherding the nation of Israel. (Ps. 78:70, 71) Jesus too has proved to be a model shepherd. (excerpted: Appreciating Jesus—The Greater David and the Greater Solomon W09)
David was remarkable in that he was both a musician and a poet. Over half of the psalms are attributed to him. While a boy, he was a shepherd, and his sensitive and perceptive mind was nourished with the pastoral scenes of Bethlehem. He had known the simple joys of listening to babbling brooks and the bleating of lambs responding to his voice. Touched by the beauty of this “music” in the world around him, he took up his harp and raised his voice in praise to God. What a moving experience it must have been to hear the music that David composed to Psalm 23!
As a young man, David played the harp so beautifully that he was recommended to Saul, the king, who took him into his service. When Saul was seized with anguish and mental agitation, David came to him and produced on his harp the melodious and restful refrains that calmed the heart of the king. The dark thoughts that haunted Saul vanished, and his agitation left him.—1 Samuel 16:16.
With his exuberant personality, David loved joyful, lively music that was highly rhythmic. David also distinguished himself by developing new musical instruments. (2 Chronicles 7:6) Overall, David seems to have been an exceptionally gifted artist, being an instrument maker, a poet, a composer, and a performer. (excerpted: King David and Music, W09/December)
Jesus was a skilled-carpenter with an exuberant-personality as well as a compassionately-caring-spiritual-shepherd… (remarkably reminiscent of his ancestor David).
[…] Jesus […], who described himself as “something more than Solomon.” (Matt. 12:42) Jesus spoke “sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:68) For example, the Sermon on the Mount expands on the principles of some of Solomon’s proverbs. Solomon described a number of things that bring happiness […]. (Prov. 3:13; 8:32, 33; 14:21; 16:20) (excerpted: Appreciating Jesus—The Greater David and the Greater Solomon W09)
Part 3 is complete i think (for now)…yet, this mosaic work, remains incomplete/unfinished/ and requiring SO MUCH MORE!:)..more to explore, cut n’ paste, switch to other sources: including a favorite book: “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived.”
Jesus is/was sooooo much more than (these) 2996 words on a page.
Since today is April 3rd, 2015 and corresponds, after sundown, to a significant event regarding Jesus: Nisan 14th: perhaps, You will enJOY the following reading, in the mean time, until Part 4 is ready for reading…
(published 4/3/15 @ 12:41 a.m.)