Friday 4 July 2014

Pentecost 4 Matthew 11:16-30 Luke 10v12-15, My yoke is easy and my burden is light

John the Baptist has sent his disciples to ask Jesus whether he is the expected Messiah. Jesus has invited John to decide for himself: does he not do deeds of healing as foretold of the Messiah in Isaiah? John, Jesus has said, is indeed a prophet, the messenger sent to prepare for the Messiah, foretold in Malachi,and there called Elijah. 
This passage is made up of two themes, the condemned and the little ones. There is the condemnation of the unrepentant cities and the call to of the weary. Jesus has warned his disciples of the troubles they will face and this seems to be standard in Israel at that time reflected in the judgement on the unrepentant cities.
This part of the passage is also in Luke 10:12-15.

The source of the passage may be three sayings;
Condemnation of Israel
Description of the rejected Messiah and his authority
A call to the little ones

Most of  Jesus' signs and wonders happened in the cities he denounces. They did not repent and believe, an important couplet. Korazin is mentioned only here and in Luke 10. It was a village 2 miles from Capernaum
and thought to be the present town of Khibet-Keraseh. Tyre and Sidon were important coastal cities north of Israel, cities which traded with Israel.

The kingdom is like setting a riddle which the intellectuals would miss, but which little children would workout.The little children, little ones are the humble, those who rely on God's grace rather than their own 
status or just their Jewish birth rite Jesus says that to all those who are weary and suffering, oppressed and with heavy burdens I will give rest you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly at heart and I will give you rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden light. 

This is the key text. Jesus is alluding to the double yoke of cattle in Palestine, still used in many countries which joined too beasts together and so made the work easier.  A deceased Anglican priest called Gordon Barker who was a great healer used this text for healing-leaning on God, 
remembering that God is with you and so giving an inner peace and a platform for healing.



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