By Colleen Donahue

Nothing makes us more tired than religion. "Do this." "Don't do that." "Come here." "Don't go there." If you are among those caught in an exhausting web of do's and don'ts then this study will be freeing for you. Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus Christ and there is only one law that is needful. When you live by the one law all others are fulfilled.


Rest for Weary Souls

Studies continued from Matthew 11 & 12


Rest For Weary Souls in Legalistic Times - Matthew 11:28-30

Day 1- While many of the Jewish authorities were closed to further truth about God we need to remember that there were many other Jews desperately trying to find the truth. Jesus is speaking to these men and women. The Jewish laws were full of demands for every area of life. Men and women worked hard at being good enough for God but it was an impossible struggle leaving them weary -- even in despair. Where does the search for God end?
Matthew 11:28 / Romans 5:1 / Ephesians 2:13 / Colossians 1:20

Day 2- The way to know God is by giving attention to His Son Jesus Christ -- NOT by mental search. In Jesus we find out what God is like.
John 10:30, 38 / John 14: 7-10

Day 3- Jesus as a carpenter made yokes which were tailor made for the oxen a farmer brought to him. Planning and accurate measurement made the yoke so that it fit the beast without digging into his neck and shoulders and thereby chaffing the animal. In fact the word "easy" used in Matthew 11:30 means "well fitting" in Greek. The life that God gives to us is tailor made for our needs and abilities. Notice whose yoke we are to take upon us. God has a purpose for each of us and it's "made to measure".
Matthew 11:29

Day 4- Our burden may not be easy to carry but it is given to us in love. When it is carried in love it becomes light.
Matthew 11:30

Day 5- A yoke was made to fit a team of oxen. We are meant to be teamed up with Jesus throughout our life, and when we are, we realize that he has already carried our infirmities and sorrows and taken the crushing load so that we will not be crushed beneath it.
Isaiah 53:4-5 / Matthew 8:17

Legalism - Matthew 12:1-8

Day 6- Here is the situation: Read Matthew 12:1-8

If it seems strange to be walking through grain fields on the Sabbath, it was not in Palestine. The rows of fields were actually "right of way" public pathways. And here we have the picture of some hungry men that took a few handfuls of grain to eat. They weren't stealing because Deuteronomy 23:25 made a provision for gathering some with your hands.

The Pharisees were looking for something to accuse Jesus and his disciples. The accusation was not in the eating of the grain but picking it on the Sabbath. Jewish leaders had made so many rules and regulations regarding what consisted of work on the Sabbath that by picking the grain they were guilty of reaping, by rubbing it with their hands they were threshing, by separating the grain from the chaff they were guilty of winnowing and thus in the whole process they were preparing a meal on the Sabbath! So the disciples were caught with four violations and Jesus was allowing it all! Therefore all were guilty!

Day 7- To these legalistic accusations Jesus responds with three arguments:

#1 - He quoted 1 Samuel 21: 1-6 where David and his band were very hungry and ate the 12 loaves of show bread in the tabernacle which only the priests were allowed to eat. Human hunger and need took precedence over ritual practice.
Matthew 12: 3-4

#2 - He quoted the sabbath work that went on in the temple by the priests. On the sabbath a priest's work was actually doubled as animals had to be slaughtered, fires lit, and sacrifices lifted to the altar. The priests were not guilty of breaking all the sabbath work rules because worship of God took precedence over rules and regulations.
Matthew 12: 5

#3 - In the third argument Jesus claims outright that he is greater than the temple and then quotes God's word from Hosea.
Hosea 6:6 / Matthew 12: 6-8

Day 8- In all these arguments the truth Jesus points out clearly is that human need takes priority over ritual serving including the most sacred at that time which were animal sacrifices. When we separate ourselves from those that need our help because we are too busy with "religion" what will be God's attitude towards us?
Isaiah 1:13 / Isaiah 29:13-14 / Isaiah 65:5

Day 9- What is God looking for that means more to him than any service, ritual, or sacrifice?
1 Samuel 15:22 / Psalm 51: 16-17 / Hosea 6:6 / Romans 14:17

Day 10- In fact, what is the only religion that God accepts?
Micah 6:8 / Mark 12:33 / James 1:27

Day 11- The Jewish leaders in setting up a complex web of rules, regulations and rituals caught those at fault and therefore proved their own righteousness. They missed completely what they were trying to achieve - i.e. a life devoted and in love with God.
Matthew 7:3 / Luke 6:46 / Titus 1:16

The Law of Love - Matthew 12: 9-14

Day 12 - Can deliberately breaking a law make a point? Yes. During crucial times in history brave men and women went against established law when a higher principle was at stake. This is the situation when Christ heals a man with a shriveled hand on the sabbath AND does it in the synagogue!
Matthew 12: 9-13

Note: Doing no work on the Sabbath in order to keep it holy was so important to the Jew that in history there are examples of Jewish massacres because an enemy opposed them on the Sabbath and they wouldn't lift their weapons to defend themselves, preferring death to the breaking of Sabbath law.

Day 13 - Jesus was not against keeping the Sabbath holy but there were inconsistences in their laws and he needed to make a point we must not miss. There is no time or place so sacred that it can't be used to show love to a fellow man that is in need.
Matthew 12: 11-12 / John 7:23-24

Day 14- The Jewish leaders had lost sight (with all their rules and regulations) of how precious every person was to God and the place of honor that God had given to man.
Genesis 1:26 / Psalm 8:4-6

Day 15- Healing this man's withered hand was not an emergency. It could have been done the next day and outside of the synagogue. But Christ looked past the withered hand to a man that had probably lost his work and with it his self respect. In healing his hand, the man's health, livelihood, and self respect were all restored. Love is the preeminent law of all life.
1 Corinthians 13:3 , 15 / Galatians 5:6 / 1 John 4:16

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