WHAT IS A DISCIPLE – continued
So far we have learned that a disciple is primarily a follower of Jesus. He sticks close to Him, learns from Him, imitates Him and becomes like Him.
Today we are going to talk about wearing the Rabbi’s yoke. Being a disciple of a rabbi (or teacher) meant being yoked with him. In a previous blog I explained what it meant to “wear the rabbi’s yoke.” His yoke was his understanding and interpretation of the Torah. The rest of the Bible, including the New Testament, is a commentary on the Torah and the way he lived it out in his everyday life.
The other rabbis in Jesus’ day interpreted the Torah from a legalistic perspective. That was why the Pharisees were always in conflict with Jesus. He applied the Torah from the point of view of God’s love and mercy which they did not like because it made God too “nice”. Jesus even went as far as telling His disciples that it was His yoke that would change the lives of wicked and depraved people, like those they saw at Caesarea Philippi where people were worshipping a god who was half man, half goat, by having sex with goats!
By being yoked to Jesus who was the older and more experienced “ox”, they would learn from Him to be gentle and humble in heart, not like the Pharisees who were followers of other rabbis and were proud and unteachable. Jesus’ yoke would bring them rest from the demands and results of religion; guilt, fear, shame, anxiety, burdens and hard work.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11;28-30.
Wearing Jesus yoke also brings responsibilities:
- The responsibility of relying on and learning from Him alone. Jesus said, “Apart me you can do nothing.” John 15:6. It is the disciple’s task to remain in Him, to stay connected to Him by spending time with Him and by obeying His instructions.
- The responsibility of interpreting His yoke according to His disposition and His way. That means that a disciple cannot interpret Jesus’ teaching according to his own ideas. He must always stay true to who Jesus is and what He teaches.
- The responsibility of “binding” His yoke on others and “loosing” them from other yokes. When a disciple of Jesus binds His yoke on others without adding to it, subtracting from it or changing it in any way, they are “loosed” from other yokes which bring them into bondage and they become truly free.
Jesus gave His disciples only one mandate – to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20). He did not tell them to build the church – He said He would do that (Matthew 16:18). They were to make disciples by teaching people to obey everything He taught them.
“Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32.
Free from what? Free from every yoke of religion, legalism, ritual, self-help or any other obligation or requirement to make ourselves acceptable to God apart from what Jesus did for us. Jesus did it all for us and He calls us into His rest.
So, to summarise:
A disciple is a follower of Jesus.
A disciple wears Jesus’ yoke and is set free from all other yokes, including the yokes that church or denomination binds on him or her that are not in line with Jesus’ yoke.
A disciple is one who correctly understands, interprets and binds Jesus’ yoke on others, making disciples by teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded.
To be continued…
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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