The religious legalists
tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.Mathew 23:4 NIV
But Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28, 30 NIV
The religious leaders put rules upon rules around the Ten Commandments in an attempt to guard against breaking them. Kind of like totally forbidding dancing to avoid lusting. Not drinking a drop for fear of getting drunk. Covering every inch of one’s body so as not to be immoral.
I wonder if their goal was to avoid sinning entirely in order to not have to seek forgiveness from God? Which is not only a total burden but completely impossible. It made them look more religious, but it enslaved all who followed their lead.
Jesus shares our yoke and carries our loads. Loving him back (for he loved us first) is an invitation to freedom, not the burden of rule following.
How can we be a genuine reflection of Christ?
Are we placing unnecessary burdens on others?
Do we teach people merely to obey God or to respond to his love?
Do we invite them into the complete freedom of loving others?
Precious Savior, thank you that I am not weighed down by the unnecessary burden of keeping rules and making animal sacrifices in order to gain forgiveness. I’m especially grateful that I don’t have to observe a set of secondary rules in order to safeguard the big ones. You gave me freedom, the freedom to love you back and to love others without encumbersome regulations. Thank you for bearing my burdens and lightening my load.