The yoke is easy: Just give up everything, leave behind your family if necessary, and follow Me!

One of the more fascinating passages in the Gospels is Matthew 11: 28-30:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”

This is an especially puzzling passage when taken together with this one:

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

So: Jesus’s yoke is easy and His burden is light, but if you don’t hate your family and yourself and carry your cross then you can’t be His disciple. Sound easy to you?

I guess the best question to ask is this:

Compared to what?

No specific answers forthcoming. Just something to think about.

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2 Responses to The yoke is easy: Just give up everything, leave behind your family if necessary, and follow Me!

  1. Res says:

    The yoke is light, it’s basically just Jesus’ polemic against much of Protestantism on the question of Christian perfectionism. You’ve pretty much got the image down on a basic level, accepting that one should go to Christ for instruction and take up any yoke that he offers, given that, as Kierkegaard put it, “This poor and lowly man, then, with twelve poor fellows as his disciples, all from the lowest class of society […] one risked honor, life, and property, or at any rate (and that we know for sure) exclusion from the synagogue, by even letting one’s self be helped by him—come hither now,all ye that labour and are heavy laden!” is difficult, and a fairly extreme difference, but the yoke itself is light and this allows for the kingdom of heaven to exist. Hence, “it was the godly care for their souls entertained by the existing order and by public opinion, lest any one should be led astray: it was this godly care that led them to persecute him in this fashion.” And this is a transhistorical identification which nonetheless has analogues. Of course, other than this, the direct reference is to Genesis’ account of paradise being lost (s/o Phil Robertson, he gets Eve’s name), and hence is a basic reference to reversing the fall and the statement about serpents and bruising one’s heel. Kierkegaard was also fond of this passage because he was a docetic, but that’s alright. This is one of the basic referents of Romans 7, as an account of the Jewish law and its forward-looking nature. For the circumcision in the spirit has become profitable, etc., which is similarly an inversion. As in his later indictment of decent fatherhood, Jesus is also drawing on a play on dust to condemn his audience as evil, in a boastful manner which has no place within the church and is rightly deemed an embarrassment by people who would rather vote for Christie. But where were the snakes before the fall?

    (And how does this relate to John 3:8 and what does the following paragraph imply about prelapsarian existence, and why does Jesus advocate giving all alms to rocks/the church. The point is that Jesus advocated people going their own way and not where everybody else is.)

    Other than that, ‘come hither now, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,’ has another implication, which Richard Dawkins might pick up on in between corpses, but can be slightly elusive. The term ‘culture of death’ should really be taken more as a challenge, the problem is that Ratzinger generally had an issue with actually rejecting an argument, and is fortunate that he went through priestschool. But on the seventh day, he rested. By working, of course, but it’s all good because the New Testament offers a workaround for that anyway, and in any case he’s a cool bloke so anything else would be somewhat wasteful. Evidently, the secret is to bruise the serpent’s heel while still having one’s head untouched, somebody said that somewhere.

    Of course, it’s somewhat hard for all humans to extrapolate these kinds of things, having somewhat skipped the 1st Century AD.

  2. Drew says:

    One common explanation is that it is possible to find rest in Christ without being a full-fledged disciple. Don’t know how a Catholic would feel about that distinction, though.

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