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Edward F. Markquart

Series A
Come Unto Me All That Are Heavy Laden

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Pastor Edward F. Markquart
Grace Lutheran Church
Des Moines, Washington 98198

The following Bible study is from a larger course entitled, THE LIFE OF CHRIST: A Study in the Four Gospels. This 54 week course for the laity will be available for congregations in 2006.

Basic text for the course: SYNOPSIS OF THE FOUR GOSPELS, Kurt Aland, English Edition, P. 99-101. 

The Matthean text for Pentecost 7A is part of a larger unit, Matthew 11:7-19. In preparation for the gospel lesson Pentecost 7A, it is wise to examine the verses immediately prior to the text for today.

#107  JOHN’S WITNESS CONCERNING JESUS     Matthew 11:7-19, Luke 7:24-35 

Notice the exact linguistic parallels in the English language (and in the Greek text) of Matthew 11:7, 8 and Luke 7:24.  Notice the other words which are nearly identical in this section. When there exact linguistic parallels between Matthew and Luke but those same words are not found in the Gospel of Mark, we know that both Matthew and Luke are quoting an earlier common resource that we call Q.

-As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: In this chapter, Jesus began talking with the crowds about John the Baptist. In the prior chapter, Matthew 10, Jesus had summarized many of his teachings about discipleship. In Chapter 10, Jesus gave his first instructions to the twelve disciples on what it would mean for them to be disciples.

Chapter 11 begins a new unit in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus begins to address questions about the Baptist. John the Baptist was enormously popular in this section of the world. The people in Israel knew about John the Baptist and were flocking out into the wilderness to see and hear him.

-What did you go out into the wilderness to see? Why then did you go out? Why then did you go out?  This question is persistently asked three times in this short text. Underline this question in your SYNOPSIS. It is an enormously important question. “Why? Why were people attracted to John the Baptist?” I would like to suggest that people are always (or almost always) attracted to genuine righteousness and holiness. We are drawn to such people such as Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Why? Because we sense that she embodied the truth of God, more so than the rest of us. Similarly, with John the Baptist. People were attracted to him because he was the first authentic voice or prophet of God for more than four hundred years. That is, Israel had not seen or heard a genuine prophet of God for four centuries and they were ripe and ready to see and hear an authentic man of God. We search today for that Voice of God that seems to stand apart from the domination and permeation of a hedonistic world that has slipped into our souls. John the Baptist stood apart from the idolatrous culture of his day, and the purity of the wilderness was in his inner heart and mind. We are attracted today to a person who is able to withstand the slippery inroads of our materialistic culture into our inner selves, values and souls.

-A reed shaken in the wind?  The answer? “Heavens no.” The crowds from Jerusalem would see millions of reeds in the desert, but this quotation seems to mean something more. That is, why did the people come out from their comfortable lifestyles of Jerusalem and the luxuries of their culture? To see the simplicity of a life lived in the desert! Some Biblical scholars suggest that “reed shaken by the wind” signifies a “vacillating double mindedness, a wavering personality, moving with the currents of the wind of opinion.” John the Baptist was just the opposite. Jesus knew that. The people in Jerusalem were attracted to John precisely because he was not a vacillating person who straddled safely on the middle of the fence. The next verse also reveals this parody.

-To see a man in soft raiment, gorgeously appareled, living in the luxury of a king’s house? The answer? “Heavens no.” Like the previous statement about a “reed shaken in the wind,” it’s meaning is just the opposite of the literal words. John was not a reed shaking in the wind nor was he gorgeously appareled and living a life of luxury. We know that John ate locusts, wild honey, and wore an animal skin.

-To see a prophet. Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. The people were attracted to John because he was a prophet. As it has been said, John was the first prophet in Israel in four hundred years. But the gospels are unanimous in their claim that John was more than a prophet. He was the “forerunner” of the Messiah. That is, John was more than the great prophets of the Old Testament because he was the prophet who was to appear prior to the Messiah’s arrival here on earth.

-This is he of whom it is written. John was the messenger that was to prepare the way for the Messiah.

-I will send my messenger before your face who shall prepare the way before you. This is a quotation from Malachi 3:1. John was clearly not the Messiah. John was clearly the forerunner, the messenger who prepared the way before the arrival of the Messiah. Notice Jesus’ use of the book of Malachi because Jesus will again quote Malachi in a few verses.

-Among those born of women, there is no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Jesus said that John was the greatest of all human beings having been born in human history. That was an enormously positive assessment of John by Jesus. But that enormously positive assessment of John is contrasted to the next statement. A person who is least in the kingdom of God/heaven is even greater than John the Baptist. What was Jesus saying? John was the last of the Old Covenant, of the Old Religion, of the Old Testament; whereas Jesus was the first of the New Covenant, the New Religion, the New Testament. John the Baptist knew nothing of the grace of God, the mercy of God, the forgiveness of God. John knew nothing about Jesus dying on the cross so that the sins of the whole world would be forgiven.  John knew nothing about the resurrection, the gift of eternal life. John knew nothing about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor as yourself. In other words, John the Baptist knew nothing of what was to come, the New Covenant, the New Testament, the New Religion. And so Jesus rightly said the person who is least in God’s reign (permeated by grace, love, forgiveness, sacrificial death, resurrection) is greater than John the Baptist. If Jesus’ assessment of John the Baptist was so great, Jesus’ assessment of those who are part of his kingdom is even greater.

We momentarily move away from the common source, Q. Notice that Matthew 11:12-15 has no exact parallels in Luke. That is, a similar teaching can be found in Luke 16:16, but this verse is not from Q. Luke’s parallel is handled differently than Matthew. Notice also that we pick up Q again in the parallels of Matthew 11:16 and Luke 7:31 (“To what shall I compare this generation?”)

-The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force. Mathew 11:12. After studying the commentaries on this text, I have discovered no one knows what this text means. Occasionally, the meaning of a text is lost in obscurity and we just do not know its meaning nor do we have a reasonable guess. So it is with this text.

-The law and the prophets were until John. Since then, the good news of the kingdom is preached and every one enters it violently. Luke 16:16. Notice that this verse comes from Luke 16 and not from Luke 7. In other words, this sequence is not following Q.

This teaching is clear and makes sense to us. That is, the Law equals the first five books of the Old Testament and the Prophets equals the former and latter prophets of the Old Testament. “The law and the prophets” is a name for the Old Testament. The Old Testament was valid until the time of John the Baptist. Since then, the good news is preached. That is, the good news about Christ replaces the Old Testament. Everyone who enters the kingdom enters it violently = passionately = grabs hold of it firmly or intensely. As Christians then and now, we grab hold of the good news of the kingdom, the values of the kingdom, the Christ of the kingdom, the ways of the kingdom. We will hear parables about the kingdom e.g. the priceless pearl of the kingdom and we cling passionately to the priceless pearls of the kingdom. In a confirmation sermon, I preached on the theme of “white knuckled Christians.” “White knuckled Christians” are those Christians whose fingers are white because of the tightness of their grip on Christ, the ways of Christ, the cross of Christ, the wisdom of Christ. You do not let go what you hold tightly. You hold it passionately. That is what it means to enter the kingdom violently = passionately.

-For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Matthew 11:13, 14. Matthew is quoting from Malachi 4:5, “I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.” (For the Old Testament prophets, the coming day of the Lord was going to be terrible.) Matthew, as has been said repeatedly, is a very Jewish book and it appealed to a Jewish audience who appreciated Jewish logic and Jewish argumentation. The Jews of that century believed that Elijah was to appear before coming of the Messianic age, and John the Baptist was none other than Elijah. Notice that Luke (and his logic which appeals to his audience of non-Jews) does not include this passage. This passage about John being Elijah appealed to a Jewish audience and would further convince them that Jesus was the Messiah. Even today, at Passover dinners, there is often an empty chair at a Jewish seder feast, that is called the Elijah chair. The empty Elijah chair symbolizes that the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah.

-When they heard all of this (about John the Baptist), all the people and tax collectors justified before God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. Luke 7:29-30. Matthew has a parallel teaching but located near the close of his gospel, in  chapter 21. Luke uniquely inserts this story here because Luke knows that the Pharisees and lawyers are becoming symbols of people who reject the purposes of God for themselves. That was true in Luke’s day and in our day as well. That is, there are always people who reject the kingdom, the rule of God in their lives, the gospel and its power for themselves. In Luke, chapter 7, in a few verses, we are going to be introduced to THE woman, the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. We are going to discover that in Luke’s telling of this story, this sinful woman washed the feet of Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee. In other words, the Pharisees are those religious people (from all time) who reject the reign of God in their lives. By inserting this verse here about the rejection by the Pharisees and lawyers, Luke is laying the groundwork for his “anti-Pharisee” section.

The text for Pentecost 7A begins with the following teachings.

-To which shall I compare this generation? Notice the parallels. We are back to Q again. Circle the pronoun, “I” and write down the word, “Jesus.” We remember that Jesus was addressing the crowds about John the Baptist.

-They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to their playmates. In other words, children are often fickle and often immediately reject what is offered to them.  In the next phrases, Jesus will offer two alternatives to the crowds: the authentic asceticism of John the Baptist and the authentic life-affirmation of Jesus of Nazareth. The people of this generation, like fickle children, will reject them both.


-We piped and you did not dance. Write the word, “Jesus.” This verse is symbolic of the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus is the Lord of the dance, but the people/crowds did not dance the dance of Jesus. In the next verses, we will notice that the people did not dance to the spirit of the gospel, when Jesus came eating bread and drinking wine. Piping and dancing refers to Jewish weddings where there were flutes and dancing. For Jesus, the mood of discipleship was like the mood of a wedding celebration.

-We wailed and you did not mourn. Write the words, “John the Baptist.”  This verse is symbolic of the life and ministry of John the Baptist and his strict asceticism.  In the next verses, we will notice that the people did not wail and mourn to the stricter spirit of John the Baptist, when John refrained from eating bread and drinking wine but led a life of simplicity and poverty. Wailing and mourning refers to Jewish wakes and funerals where there were professional mourners. For John the Baptist, the mood of his ascetic discipleship was like the mood of a funeral.

The crowds (and children) said “no” to both the dance of Jesus and the dirge of John the Baptist.

-John came neither eating no bread and drinking no wine and you say he has a demon. The crowds rejected the asceticism of the prophet John and said he had a demon.

-The Son of man came eating and drinking and they say, “look, a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” But the crowds also rejected the life affirming ways of Jesus, saying that Jesus was a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and obvious sinners. The life that Jesus offered to his disciples (and his disciples today) was very different than the asceticism of John the Baptist. Jesus ate food and drank wine. To be with Jesus was like celebrating at a wedding party. Equally important, Jesus was a friend of sinners and tax collectors. John the Baptist was not. To be with John the Baptist was like mourning at a funeral.

So the fickle and childish generation of Jesus’ day (and today) rejected both Jesus and John. Two forms of authentic spirituality were offered to the crowds and they rejected them both.

-Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds. Luke writes “by her children” instead of “by her deeds.” How profound. Talk is cheap. Words flow easily. Promises are made. Wise words and wise wisdom need to follow with actions or deeds, because the actions or deeds verify the truth of what was said. A promise to help a friend in need is different than following through on that promise.

This is one of the few places in the four gospels where the word, “wisdom,” is used. Wise words and wise wisdom are to be followed by deeds and actions, otherwise the words and wisdom are not worth much.



#110. WOES PRONOUNCED ON GALILEAN CITIES   Matthew 11:20-24, Luke 10:12-15

This section is omitted in the gospel text for Pentecost 7A.

This section is from Q again.

Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you."


#109. JESUS’ THANKSGIVING TO THE FATHER     Matthew 11:25-27, Luke 10:21-22

This section is from Q again.

-In the same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. (only Luke) As we have seen before, Luke emphasizes the Holy Spirit. We find people in the Jesus birth- stories who were filled with the Holy Spirit. Mary, in the Magnficat, “magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Jesus was full of the Spirit. Once again, Luke slightly alters Q and writes: “He (Jesus) rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.” Joy is associated with the Spirit in Luke. Luke wants us to rejoice in the Holy Spirit as well. When an author like Luke slightly alters Q, a student becomes aware of Luke’s particular biases and notices Luke’s particular emphases e.g. joy in the Holy Spirit.

-I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Both Matthew and Luke exactly repeat the words of Q. Jesus addresses God as his Father, as we have seen many times previously, especially when we studied the Sermon on the Mount. God, the Father, is called “Lord of heaven and earth.” This is reminiscent of the Lord’s Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount in which we pray that God’s will be done in heaven and in earth. We know that God’s will is done in heaven and it is our prayer that the will of God will permeate and surround this globe called Earth. God is the ruler of both heaven and earth. God is Lord of both.

-That you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding. “These things” refers to the kingdom and to the way of the cross. The crowds in Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin didn’t “get it.” We also find that the Pharisees and their crowd also did not comprehend the kingdom and the cross. “They didn’t get it.” On the other hand, Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a poor maiden, did. (Luke 1:48) “God regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.” So did the tax collectors and their friends. As we will discover more clearly in the next few passages, the Pharisees won’t get it, nor will their lawyer-friends. The educated and religious elite will not “get” what it means to be part of the kingdom of God and followers of the way of the cross.

Barclay reminds us that Jesus was “not condemning intellectual power but intellectual pride.” It is intellectual pride that often gets in the way of believing in the Christ, the cross and the kingdom.  The Pharisees, for all of their deeply held religious traditions, could not or would not believe in either the message of John the Baptist or Jesus. Their intellectual pride got in the way.

The kingdom of God and the “foolishness of the cross” (I Corinthians 1:18) is “hidden” and needs to be discovered. The Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 19:14 when he says in I Corinthians 1:19ff, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 

-And revealed them to babes. “Babes” refers to people who are “babies in faith,” people who are new to the Christian faith, people who are beginning to learn to walk in the Spirit. “Babes” also refers to small or little people e.g. the common people, the poor, maimed, blind, lame, deaf and dumb, demon possessed, and all the other people whose lives were healed and transformed by Jesus. Children are often “babes” with their eyes of simple and childlike faith. People who have true faith have an inner trust in God, just as infants simply trust a mother or father.

-All things have been delivered to me by my Father. Jesus is building are argument that moves forward in his next statements. Note the parallels in John’s gospel: “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands.” Or, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God…”  Jesus is moving into revealing a new dimension in his relationship with God the Father.

Circle the words, “my Father.” Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, we repeatedly heard that Jesus called God “my Father.”

-No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son. Clearly, for the first time in the gospels, Jesus is making such a clear statement about himself and his relationship to God. Only Jesus knows the Father. No one else does. This statement does not come from the Gospel of John which was written years later in about 90 CE. Rather, this statement comes from Q and is from the earliest strata of the New Testament that perhaps was written in about 40 CE. In the earliest layers of the Christian faith and teaching, we hear that Jesus has an incredible relationship and intimacy with God the Father. “No one knows the Son except the Father; no one knows the Father except the Son.” In other words, Jesus is the perfect revelation of the Father. We listen to the words of Jesus because he, more than any other human being, knows the heart and mind and spirit of God. We listen to the words of Jesus because we are listening to the words of the Father. John’s Gospel says in 14:9, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” If you want to see the heart, mind and spirit of God, look at me, his Son, who is a perfect personification of the Father. Jesus is God in human flesh.

-And anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. That includes you and me, but is not exclusive within you and me. Jesus unveils the Father to the world. Jesus reveals the Father to his disciples. Jesus discloses the Father. It is our prayer that Jesus reveals the Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to us.

#110. COME ONTO ME…     Matthew 11:28-30

This next saying feels almost like an independent teaching and is not clearly connected with the previous teachings in Chapter 11. If anything, this teaching feels like a transition verse to the next chapter, to Matthew 12. In Matthew 12:1-14, there are two consecutive stories about the petty legalism of the Pharisees. In the first story, Jesus’ disciples were plucking grain on the Sabbath because they were hungry and needed to eat but the Pharisees objected. In the second story, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath but the Pharisees again objected. It was against the Pharisees’ religious rules for Jesus to heal a person on the Sabbath or to do good on the Sabbath. Both incidents are example of the petty burdens and interpretations that the Pharisees were putting on the common and ordinary people. After the second incident, the gospels tell us that the Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus.

Knowing that chapters were inserted in the Bible in 1205 CE by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, a person unconsciously concludes that this teaching in Matthew 11:28-30 belongs with Chapter 11. In reality, the theme of the legalistic yoke of the Pharisees seems to be better connected to the first two stories in Chapter 12. If Archbishop Langton were redoing his chapters, perhaps these verses should have been included as the first verses of Chapter 12.

The lectionary also connects Matthew 11:28-30 with previous verses in Matthew 11 rather than the next chapter, Chapter 12.

Matthew 12 is an anti-Pharisee section of the Gospel of Matthew. We find that the Pharisees came to symbolize attitudes which were hostile to Jesus and his teachings.

There are five consecutive sections in Chapter 12 that speak against the Pharisees.

12:2, “But when the Pharisees saw it.”

12:14, “The Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him.”

12:24, “When the Pharisees heard it, they said that it is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that he is able to cast out demons.”

12:34, “You brood of vipers” (Jesus was addressing the Pharisees with this harsh saying.)

12:38, “Some of the scribes and Pharisees said that they wanted to see a sign from you.”

The following teaching about “take my yoke upon you and learn from me” needs to be contrasted with the legalism of the Pharisees in Matthew 12.

The meaning of a Bible verse is often illuminated by the context, and the context for Matthew 11:28-30 appears to be linked to Matthew 12 rather than to earlier verses in Matthew 11. Matthew 11:28-30 appears to be an introduction to Chapter 12.

-Come onto me, all who are weary and are heavy laden. This section is purely from Matthew. There are no other parallels. All of us human beings carry enormous burdens in our lives, and we all know that sometimes those burdens are a lot heavier than at other times.

This is the primary invitation of life: Jesus asks us to come to him.

We recall Matthew 23:4, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.”  

 -Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were trying to impose religious burdens. In Matthew23:4, we hear that the scribes and Pharisees “bind heavy burdens and place grievous weights on peoples’ shoulders.” The religion of the Pharisees was a religion of rules and regulations. They wanted to impose their religious rules and regulations (600 of them) on others. Religion then became a weight and burden to be loaded onto one’s shoulders.  Jesus’ yoke was entirely different. It is as if Jesus is saying: “Take my teachings, take my life, take my spirit, take my way of life and learn from me instead of learning from the Pharisees and their religious interpretations and religious legalisms.”

There is an implied contrast between the yoke of Jesus and the yoke of the Pharisees.

We love the line: “Learn from me.” We constantly are learning from Jesus, learning how to love our heavenly Father and also learning how to love our neighbor as ourselves.

What is Jesus’ yoke?

The word, “yoke,” symbolizes religion. The religion of the Pharisees was a thousand rules and regulations which essentially said, “No, no, no, no, no” to everything. Negative, negative, negative, negative, negative.

Whereas the religion of Jesus was simple and positive. To love God and love neighbor. To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself. To be merciful, loving and kind. To have faith that moved mountains and carried momentous burdens. To worship God and love one’s neighbor. Jesus’ religion were simple positives like worshipping God and practicing mercy. The mood of his religion was that of a wedding feast.

We all need to wear the yoke of Jesus. We all need to wear the religion of Jesus. Love of God. Love of neighbor. Mercy, love, and kindness. A faith that moves mountains and carries momentous burdens.

We are all to learn from Jesus. Jesus is our teacher and we are his students or disciples. We are to learn gentleness and humility, love and forgiveness, faith and trust in the goodness of God. We are to have faith that moves mountains and carries momentous burdens. 

This religion, Jesus’ yoke, is easy compared to the Pharisees with all their harsh, negative rules.

-For I am gentle and lowly of heart. Jesus will soon quote Isaiah 42:1-4 in Matthew 12: “He will not wrangle or cry aloud nor will anyone hear his voice on the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick.” There is this spirit of gentleness and humility in Jesus that appeals to all of us.

The servant and Jesus (and his disciples of today) possess this gentleness of spirit and lowliness of heart. We think of the new contemporary hymn, SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS and its mood and spirit.

-You will find rest for your souls. In the storms of life that are part and parcel of our daily lives, we sense that we can find rest in the Spirit of God, in the Presence of our heavenly Father. All of us need rest, the place where we can go to recuperate and gain strength for the next day’s battle. Jesus invites us to find rest, calm and healing in him. We need that place for inner healing.

-For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Many Biblical scholars remind us that Jesus was a carpenter, and we often assume that Jesus was a master carpenter in his day. One of the primary jobs that Jesus would have done for others was to craft yoke for their oxen. Jesus would design and craft personally tailored yokes that would be a “perfect fit” for the shoulders of a particular oxen. The yoke wore easily, like a fine fitting pair of shoes or a fine fitting dress or suit. Because Jesus’ yoke was well fitting, it was both easy and light. To pull a plow with ill-fitting yoke created unnecessary burdens for the oxen. And the Pharisees created unnecessary burdens for other people to carry.

This verse is an invitation to come to the Lord in prayer and unburden our souls to God.

Record Matthew 11:28-30 on page 362. This page is entitled, “My Spiritual Diary: Bible Verses to be Memorized.”

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  JESUS TAUGHT, “COME TO ME ALL WHO ARE HEAVY LADEN AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.” WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN FOR YOU IN TODAY’S WORLD? (A person from the group keeps a record of the responses and turns them in after the class so that the responses can be included in  this lecture.)

Some of the responses from one class were:

-“When my husband was killed in an industrial accident, it was as heavy a burden as I ever carried, and in that process, God did give me rest. God carried my load and also gave me the strength to carry my load.

-“When my husband died much too young, I could not pray because I was numb. I was incapable of praying but my friends lifted me up in prayer, upheld me in prayer, and I knew that I was being lifted up and supported.”

-“It seems that we work like crazy in carrying our loads in life, but Jesus is offering a tool to do the job more effectively. Jesus was creating a picture that people could understand. People could understand that he would fashion the well-fitting yoke that would make it easier to carry the loads of life.”

-“The story that God will give us rest reminds me of the contemporary parable about the footprints in the sand. Two pairs of footprints were in the sand, walking side by side. Suddenly, there was one pair of footprints. God said, ‘That is when I picked you up and carried you.’ God lifts us up and carries us when the burdens of our lives are difficult.”

-“When our daughter was murdered, we could not have coped without the Lord and the love of friends and pastors.”

-“This means, no matter what happens, God will be with me.”

-“This means never having to feel alone.”

-“This means having a sense of peace when carrying the small and large burdens of every day.”

-“This means that God is waiting to carry our burdens.”

-“This means that if we stop, look, listen and turn over our load to God, God will help us carry our burdens and solve our problems.”

-“This means that in times of trauma, friends lift us up. Friends are the hands of God.”

-“I have learned to pray before the burdens get so heavy and that helps me.”

-“Don’t wait for the big crisis to finally go to God.”

-“When the stress of everyday life becomes too much, coming to God in prayer is a great relief.”

-“When all things seem impossible, I think of this verse. When I do this, I find an inner peace, and the problems eventually get solved.”

-“After eleven years of battling drinking, I prayed to the God for help and eventually God lifted that burden from me.”

-“We have been praying that our brother, with his diabetic seizures, will take good care of himself.”

-“When the doctor told me that I had three years to live, the prayers that I prayed made me feel a huge burden was lifted off my back. That was eleven years ago.”

-“If you don’t have a belief in God, it is hard to get through the major problems of life.”

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