This is part 7 of a 14 part piece. Start here to read it through:
Take My Yoke — Matthew 11:29 — The 'Yoke' was the requirements placed by any rabbi on those who wanted to be proven as worthy to be his disciple. Jesus offers the command to bear his yoke as the antithesis of the yoke's of the religious experts and pharisees. The best, brightest, and most disciplined would take on an extra measure of purity and study to prove themselves worthy of their masters yoke. Jesus does no offer his yoke based on purity, study, or worth. Instead Jesus offer his yoke to the weary, the burdened, and the childlike. Jesus promises a new kind of yoke, one that is good and brings rest.
Stretch Out Your Hand — Matthew 12:13, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 6:10 — Although not considered a general command being it was given literally to a man with a crippled hand, who received a literal healing of his crippledness. The command stands to reinforce that Jesus' kingdom is built on the rejected things of this kingdom, and it is marked by new creation in those things.
Honor Your Parents — Matthew 15:1-6, Mark 7:8-12 — In some ways it would be easy to look at this command and leave it as self explanatory, but contextually there is much more going on here than just a reminder on parent child relations. This command orders us not to be blind to God's work of mercy and justice in the world because of our religious traditions. When religion precludes us from practicing love it is not rooted in the Spirit of God.
Don't Let Your Mouth Defile You — Matthew 15:10-18, Mark 7:14-23 — Here Jesus warns that it is not failure to comply with moral purity of the religious elite that lead a person in a spiritually unhealthy direction. Instead it is the thoughts which become words that show the fruit of heart that is not seeking selflessness or emptiness.
Beware of Leaven — Matthew 16:6, Mark 8:15, Luke 12:1 — In ancient times leaven did not come in convenient easy open packages. Leaven was made by allowing bread from a previous batch to mold, and then adding the molded breaded in the fresh dough. Leaven was therefore associated with uncleaness. Metaphorically speaking, leaven had come to represent sin and evil. Jesus warns that those who seek his way must be intent to discern the evil that comes with spiritual elitism, because that evil separates one's heart far from God.
Continue Reading Part 8 of 14
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