NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 10
Matthew 11:28-30; 12:1-13; Luke 7:36-50; 13:10-17
- Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon us and learn of him.
- Jesus declares that he is Lord of the Sabbath.
- Jesus forgives a woman in house of Simon the Pharisee.
A study of this lesson will help us better understand that as we take
the Savior's yoke upon us and do his will, we will find the peace and joy
that he has promised.
Take My Yoke Upon You
- READ MATTHEW 11:28-30. Come unto the Lord and
he will give you rest.
PLAY FIRST PORTION OF VIDEO: "Come Unto Me."
WHAT IS A YOKE?
- The Lord has issued an invitation to those who labor and carrying great
- WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE THE LORD HAS ISSUED AN INVITATION TO?
- Once again the Lord has painted a mental image for those he is teaching.
Many years ago I worked for a large grocery store that had a huge 4th of
July sale. I worked in the produce department at that time. Among the fantastic
bargains were two cent per pound watermelons. The store owner brought in
3 semi-trailers full of watermelons. During the weeklong sale, I worked
double shifts and spent much of that time hauling watermelons from the
trailer to the store. At times, I wondered if those trailers would ever
be empty. I longed for the end of the sale and a resumption of normal hours.
It was a difficult week. In a physical sense, I was "heavy laden"
and "labored" hard during that week. I longed for rest.
- As we go back to ancient times, I visualize those who were required
to physically labor to survive and feed their families. My six day challenge
pales in comparison to these ancient souls. There were farmers who worked
hard, scratching and existence from the soil, without the benefit of modern
machinery. The stone masons who chisled stone for years. Even those who
had to haul water from wells far from their homes. I am sure these people
could see no end to their labor. I wonder if they ever gave up hope for
a more restful existence. So when they heard the Savior speak of rest,
I am sure that the working people listened. It may explain why the scribes
and Pharisees were not as attentive to the Savior's messages. They did
not comprehend, as did the working person.
- Since none of us are perfect, we go through life making mistakes. The
burden of sin often becomes heavy and to carry this load becomes great.
At times there seems to be no hope. We have other burdens in this life.
The loss of loved ones. The challenges of family. The many worries we face
during a life time.
- WHAT KIND OF REST IS THE LORD PREACHING ABOUT?
- It is clear that the Lord is not talking about rest from hauling watermelons
or working the soil or any other kind of physical labor. So what is this
- Joseph F. Smith: "The ancient prophets speak of 'entering into
God's rest'; what does it mean? To my mind, it means entering into the
knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan,
to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting
for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or
by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive."
(Gospel Doctrine, p58)
- HOW DOES THIS "REST" AFFECT THE BURDENS WE CARRY IN THIS
WHAT DOES THE SAVIOR MEAN WHEN HE ASKS US TO TAKE HIS YOKE UPON US?
- Dictionary definitions:
- "a device for joining together a pair of draft animals, esp.
oxen, usu. consisting of a crosspiece with two bow-shaped pieces, each
enclosing the head of an animal" (Random House Webster's College
Dictionary 1996, p1547)
- "a frame fitting a person's neck and shoulders, for carrying
a pair of buckets or the like, one at each end" (Random House
Webster's College Dictionary 1996, p1547)
- I have recently been reading Volume 9 of the Brother Lund's Work &
Glory series. This volume deals with the Saints move west, including the
Mormon Battalion. Brother Lund also brings the story of the ill fated Donner
party into this volume. These pioneers mostly used a yoke of oxen to pull
their wagons west. When crossing streams or difficult passes, the burden
was so great at times that several yoke of oxen were required to pull the
wagon past the obstacle. But even more than these great obstacles was the
daily, ongoing toil of pulling the wagons across the plains.
IN WHAT WAY IS THE SAVIOR'S YOKE EASY AND HIS BURDEN LIGHT? WHY DO
SOME PEOPLE THINK THE LORD'S TEACHINGS ARE TOO RESTRICTIVE? HOW DOES OBEYING
AND SERVING THE LORD MAKE OUR BURDENS LIGHT?
- This is a challenging comparison. The ancients understood the great
burden that was undertaken when one harnessed his animals to a yoke. Why
would the Savior suggest such a comparison?
- When we are baptized, we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We
covenant that we will keep his commandments. We promise that we will always
remember him. This is the "yoke" of the Lord. President Joseph
Fielding Smith said, "Membership in the Church is not for the idler.
He who seeks an easy road to salvation must go elsewhere, it is not to
be obtained in the Church" (The Way to Perfection, p149).
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "When a man confesses that it is hard
to keep the commandments of the Lord, he is making a sad confession—that
he is a violator of the Gospel law. Habits are easily formed. It is just
as easy to form good habits as it is to form evil ones. Of course it is
not easy to tell the truth, if you have been a confirmed liar. It is not
easy to be honest, if you have formed habits of dishonesty. A man finds
it very difficult to pray, if he has never prayed. On the other side, when
a man has always been truthful, it is a hard thing for him to lie. If he
has always been honest and he does some dishonest thing, his conscience
protests very loudly. He will find no peace, except in repentance. If a
man has the spirit of prayer, he delights in prayer. It is easy for him
to approach the Lord with assurance that his petition will be answered.
The paying of tithing is not hard for the man, fully converted to the Gospel,
who pays his tenth on all that he receives. So we see the Lord has given
us a great truth—his yoke is easy, his burden is light if we love to do
his will!" (The Way to Perfection, p150)
Jesus Declares That He Is Lord Of The Sabbath
- Matthew 12:1-2: "At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day
through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck
the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said
unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon
the sabbath day."
HOW DID JESUS RESPOND TO THIS ACCUSATION?
- WHAT DID THE PHARISEES DO WHEN THEY SAW JESUS' DISCIPLES PICK CORN
ON THE SABBATH?
- They accused his disciples of breaking the law of Moses. They were
focused on the letter of the law and ignored the true spirit and purpose
of the Sabbath.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "By this one Sabbath-performed act, our
Lord's fellow travelers were guilty of two violations, not of biblical,
but of Rabbinic law. They had both reaped and harvested. The plucking of
the ears of corn constituted reaping, and the rubbing off of the husks
fell under the sabbatical prohibition against sifting in a sieve, threshing,
sifting out fruit, grinding, or fanning. Each of these sins merited punishment
and required a sin offering on the great altar in the house of the Lord
in Jerusalem." (Mortal Messiah, 2:84)
READ MATTHEW 12:9-13. Jesus restores a withered
hand on the Sabbath.
- READ MATTHEW 12:3-8. The Son of man is Lord of
- Alfred Edersheim is quoted by Elder McConkie: "The priests
worked on the Sabbath, because this service was the object of the Sabbath;
and David was allowed to eat of the shewbread, not because there was danger
to life from starvation, but because he pleaded that he was on the service
of the Lord and needed this provision. The disciples, when following the
Lord, were similarly on the service of the Lord; ministering to Him was
more than ministering in the Temple, for He was greater than the Temple."
(Mortal Messiah, 2:87)
- The Sabbath is a day to serve God, not to be caught up in some ritualistic,
legal observance of this day. Said Elder McConkie: "We have seen
how they turned a day of freedom and worship and rejoicing into one of
Rabbinical rules and restrictions. No longer were the Jews free to worship
the Lord their God with a clear conscience on this holy day. Rather, the
restrictions were so rigid, the controls so complete, the prohibitions
so profuse, that it was as though man had been made for the Sabbath. Their
failures on that day—for no man could keep all of the restrictions involved—created
a great guilt complex over the whole nation." (Mortal Messiah,
- READ LUKE 13:10-17. A woman healed of her infirmity.
- WHAT DID JESUS TEACH ABOUT THE PURPOSE OF THE SABBATH IN THESE TWO
- The following statement by the Savior sums up proper observance of
the Sabbath: "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath
days" (Matthew 12:12).
- CAN WE, LIKE THE PHARISEES, GET SO CAUGHT UP IN LIVING THE LETTER OF
THE LAW THAT WE LOSE THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THIS HOLY DAY? HOW?
- Consider the story of the Martin handcart company. As they approached
Salt Lake City late in November, after their tragic incident in Wyoming,
Brigham Young was preaching in the "Old Tabernacle". It was the
Sabbath. When he learned of their approach, President Young said: "When
those persons arrive I do not want to see them put into houses by themselves.
I want to have them distributed in this city among the families that have
good, comfortable houses; and I wish the sisters now before me, and all
who know how and can, to nurse and wait upon the newcomers, and prudently
administer medicine and food to them. * * * The afternoon meeting will
be omitted, for I wish the sisters to go home and prepare to give those
who have just arrived a mouthful of something to eat, and to wash them,
and nurse them up. * * * Prayer is good, but when (as on this occasion)
baked potatoes, and pudding, and milk are needed, prayer will not supply
their place. Give every duty its proper time and place." (Comprehensive
History of the Church, 4:100-101)
- If President Young had continued to abide by the Pharisaic law of the
Sabbath, the Saints would have continued with their normal Sabbath duties
and would have taken care of the Martin company on the following day. This
is not what the Savior taught and this is not what his prophet taught.
- JST Mark 2:26: "Wherefore the Sabbath was given unto man for
a day of rest; and also that man should glorify God, and not that man should
- WHAT CAN WE DO ON THE SABBATH DAY TO GLORIFY GOD? WHAT IS PROPER SABBATH
- In 1980, when the Church made the change to the consolidated meeting
schedule, the First Presidency stated, "A greater responsibility
will be placed upon the individual members and families for properly observing
the Sabbath day." They suggested that each family participate
in a Sunday gospel study hour and in "other appropriate Sabbath
activities, such as strengthening family ties, visiting the sick and homebound,
giving service to others, writing personal and family histories, genealogical
work, and missionary work." (see Church News, Feb 2, 1980, p3)
Jesus Forgives A Woman In The House Of Simon The Pharisee
- It is autumn and Jesus has been ministering for nearly two years.
Jesus invited to eat at the home of Simon the Pharisee.
- Only a year and a half remains in his ministry.
- There is a rising tide of opposition.
Show second part of video, "Come Unto Me."
"And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when
she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster
box of ointment" (Luke 7:37).
- Guests entering Palestinian homes often removed their sandals, lest
the pollutions of the street contaminate the mats and rugs on which family
prayers were offered.
- At the dining table they reclined on couches with their feet outward
from the table.
- Evidently the dining hall was accessible to others than those bidden
to partake of the meal. According to the social customs of the day one
could speak to the guests without being bidden to depart by the master
of the house.
- My kids would love this. They could relax at the table and their friends
could come wandering in and chat with them.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE WOMAN FELT WHEN THE SAVIOR SAID, "THY
FAITH HATH SAVED THEE; GO IN PEACE"?
- This women carried a heavy burden of sin.
- WHAT DID SHE DO THAT ALLOWED JESUS TO TAKE AWAY HER BURDEN?
- She approached the Master in faith and humility.
- WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO SO THAT THE SAVIOR WILL REMOVE THE BURDEN OF
SIN IN OUR LIVES?
- The Savior has taught all of us, through this incident, what needs
to be done on our part in order to receive this great blessing. We must
approach the Lord in an attitude of humility and faith.
- Consider again the actions of the Nephites after having heard the stirring
word of King Benjamin:
"And they had
viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of
the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have
mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness
of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we
believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and
earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
"And it came to pass that after
they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and
they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and
having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had
in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin
had spoken unto them" (Mosiah 4:2-3).
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ATTITUDES OF THE SINFUL WOMAN AND
SIMON THE PHARISEE?
The Sinful Woman
Simon the Pharisee
No desire to change
Lack of courtesy
- HOW DO THE QUALITIES THAT SIMON POSSESSED KEEP US FROM REPENTING?
- HOW WOULD SIMON'S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE WOMAN HAVE MADE HER BURDEN SEEM
- HOW MIGHT WE MAKE ANOTHER PERSON'S BURDEN OF SIN SEEM HEAVIER?
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE SAVIOR'S RESPONSE TO THE WOMAN?
- The woman risked mistreatment by coming into the home of Simon, a Pharisee.
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE WOMAN ABOUT OVERCOMING OBSTACLES THAT MAY
KEEP US FROM REPENTING?
- WHAT OBSTACLES MIGHT KEEP US FROM REPENTING AND COMING UNTO CHIRST?
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME THEM?
- She learned in reality what the Master previously taught in Matthew
11:28. She was laden with a heavy burden, the burden of sin. She had labored
with the consequences of that sin. I am sure her soul had been dark. Her
reputation was common knowledge throughout the village. She came to the
Master in humility and faith. She found the "rest" of which he
had spoken. Like Alma, she probably felt to exclaim, "Yea, I say
unto you...that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were
my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you...that on the other hand, there
can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy" (Alma 36:21).
- We, too, no matter the size of our sins, can feel this joy if we will
humble ourselves and come to the Lord in a spirit of sincere repentance.
We have a choice: We may carry the burdens of the world or we can take
upon us the yoke of Christ. Will we be like Simon and remain under the
heavy burden of sin or will we be like the sinful woman and repent of our
sins and take on the yoke of Christ? How we choose determines our happiness
in this life and our destiny in the next.
Lesson 11: Matthew 13
Additional Reading: Mark 4:1-34; Luke 8:4-18; 13:18-21; D&C
86:1-7; Bible Dictionary, "Gospels, Harmony of," 689; "Parables,"
740-41; and "Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God," 721.
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