I wonder if Jesus is still with the same crowd we left Him with yesterday or if this is a new group. Luke has Jesus with the 72 disciples He sent out when He thanks God with this statement. Luke’s gospel also leads me to believe yesterday’s message was delivered to the 72 just before they left (Luke 10:12-15) on His mission and today’s message was right after their return (Luke 10:21-22).
Using Luke’s setting, Jesus is talking to His larger group of laborers who have just returned from the field victoriously! They are excited about all that happened during their time of ministry. Why did they all come back at this time? Was this a prearranged meeting place? Were they given a time frame for their first trip into the field? They all came back together and met Jesus in this place to debrief.
Jesus has prayed in front of them so many times. They were used to it by now and knew to listen closely to His prayers. Jesus is pleased with His disciples and their enthusiasm for the work. In Luke 10:20 Jesus tells them that even though they have experienced great miracles because of the authority He gave them, that the greatest joy is that they have their place secured in Heaven with Him. That is the everlasting gift/reward He has bestowed on them.
This group has just returned from taking, not only miracles, but Jesus’ message out to the people of Israel. These men had no formal religious training for their job. They were not scholars. They were ordinary men who found an extraordinary truth. To the religious elite they were little children. To the religious community, they had no value. But to Jesus, they were priceless! These were the people God would use in His Kingdom. This was His plan all along. To bypass those who were so full of “knowledge” that there was no room for His Spirit and His work. To choose instead those who were as teachable as children and hungry for His truths.
Jesus statement about no one knowing Him except the Father speaks so clearly to me of the Trinity. Because Jesus knows the Father so intimately, He knows what characteristics God is looking for in Kingdom workers. Jesus also knows the whole plan of salvation. They share Their battle strategy completely so there is no chance of one making a move that will jeopardize the final outcome.
Jesus plays His cards very close to the vest. He freely shares the love He and the Father have for the people, but He holds back information that could be used by His enemy, Satan. Jesus even shut the mouths of demons who spoke about Him. Why? Would the “learned” have changed their tactics if they had known that their drive to stop Jesus by killing Him, was actually integral to God’s plan? Would Satan have changed his tactics if he had understood?
Jesus’ own people were only given glimpses of the whole plan. Was this to give them something to hold onto in their darkest hours, or to protect them and the plan from “loose lips?” If they would have known how would it have impacted their behavior? The best kept secret of all time!
When it came to working out God’s plan, Jesus was doing the “heavy lifting.” The disciples’ work was important but they got all their supplies and training from Him. He still provides the same job share options for us. He promises His disciples, and us, an easy yoke and a light burden when we share His “yoke.” He doesn’t promise and easy path but that He will share it every step of the way with us, taking on the majority of the burden on Himself. When we share His yoke, He walks beside us every step of the way. He trains us in gait and terrain choice. He brings His strength to our tasks. He introduces us to the Greatest Task Master. And He brings us safely into the barn. He can only do this though when we willingly step up beside Him and allow Him to place us where we need to be.
Father God, thank You for choosing the simple man as Your tool. No degree necessary to be used by You. I know I don’t make it easy when it comes to training me in the yoke. The chaffing I feel is not from the yoke or Jesus but from my behavior while in it. I can just picture the two of us “working” together in the yoke. Jesus keeping up a steady pace while I stop and try to nip a patch of grass beside the road. A little further on I develop an itch and refuse to move any further until I scratch it. Me bumping into Him as I lose my balance from looking at the clouds while walking. Me trying to move faster to get to the new bale before it is all gone. Me trying to drink from the muddy puddles instead of waiting for the clean stream. All of these things I do in abundance! Why would You want to even offer Your yoke to me? Maybe because that is the surest way to train me properly. Without it I would REALLY be all over the place! Thanks for putting up with me.