The Great Invitation
Today’s BIG IDEA: We are powerfully shaped over time as we learn in close proximity to others.
Examples: The disciples (Mark 3:13-14, Acts 4:13)
KEY QUESTION: How we are changed by Jesus?
The CONTEXT for Jesus’ Great Invitation
The TEXT: Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Six key words / phrases in Jesus’ Great Invitation
“weary and heavy-laden” (compare Luke 5:5, Luke 11:46)
“rest” -- a place to sooth, refresh, be grounded (compare Mark 6:31)
“take my yoke” understand this compelling metaphor! (Luke 6:39-40)
“learn from Me” – what Jesus invited his twelve disciples to do (apprentices)
“My yoke is easy” (compare Romans 2:4, Ephesians 4:32, I Peter 2:3)
“My burden is light” (compare II Corinthians 4:17)
- Tim used the poem, “Touch of the Master’s Hand,” to set up the message of how we are “tuned up” as we learn in the Master Jesus’ hands in a lifelong apprenticeship of companionship and learning. Do you think this accurately illustrates what the New Testament teaches about how we grow? Explain why or why not, using a personal illustration if you feel comfortable sharing that.
- The big idea of this message was “We are powerfully shaped over time as we learn in close proximity to others.” Give an example of someone who shaped you deeply, for better or worse, perhaps even without you realizing it at the time.
- In Jesus’ culture, as Brian pointed out last week, religious seekers were weighed down by oppressive rule-keeping (Jesus states this in Luke 11, and especially vs. 46). How does the modern Christian culture, at least in some denominations, slip into this same trap?
- Jesus’ audience in Matthew 11:28-30 vividly understood what a yoke was and how it was used. It was a custom-made harness where two cows, a trainer and a trainee, would, over time, become a valuable tandem team (a tractor). Tim suggested that the older and stronger cow, the trainer, provided all the direction and most of the power. The assignment of the younger cow, the trainee, was to follow the direction (rather than chafe in the yoke) and do his part. Now that you understand the yoke, does it make any difference in the way you understand learning as a Christian? How so?
- Many people say that they are “followers of Jesus.” The illustration of the yoke would suggest we should be side-by-side with Jesus in the yoke. Is this just semantics, or is there something more powerful about moving from the “following Jesus” to the image of learning from Jesus side-by-side in an apprenticeship as He provides the direction and most of the power and we follow that direction and do our part? How so?
- The disciples had Jesus there to walk beside in a yoke of daily apprenticeship for about three years. Jesus is not physically here now with us. How is a disciple of Jesus to walk beside Jesus in a yoke of daily apprenticeship today? What makes it harder for us, and what in fact makes it easier?
- We think Jesus’ Great Invitation is to each of us individually as Christians. But could this apply to local clumps of Christians in local churches? Could Jesus have a custom yoke for Calvary as a church body, inviting us as a collective group beside Him in an intimate apprenticeship? Your thoughts?
- Jesus said that being in the yoke beside Him, the yoke would be “easy” (kind and fitting), and the burden would be light (still work, but workable and not crushing). How, if at all, does this change your view of how you are living out your faith in Jesus?
- Many have accepted Jesus’ invitation to come to Him by all-in faith as their sin-bearing substitute. How many do you think are stuck there and have not heard, understood, or accepted Jesus’ invitation to come beside Him and learn from Him in a daily, intimate apprenticeship?
- If you were to accept Jesus’ invitation to join Him daily in the yoke as His intimate apprentice, and if you were to live your life this way for the next decade, what kind of impact do you think it might have on your attitudes and actions?