SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)

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Chapter 11

12 (Genesis 32:26). Spiritual Violence Brings Reward—With the great truth we have been privileged to receive, we should, and under the Holy Spirit's power we could, become living channels of light. We could then approach the mercy seat; and seeing the bow of promise, kneel with contrite hearts, and seek the kingdom of heaven with a spiritual violence that would bring its own reward. We would take it by force, as did Jacob. Then our message would be the power of God unto salvation. Our supplications would be full of earnestness, full of a sense of our great need; and we would not be denied. The truth would be expressed by life and character, and by lips touched with the living coal from off God's altar. When this experience is ours, we shall be lifted out of our poor, cheap selves, that we have cherished so tenderly. We shall empty our hearts of the corroding power of selfishness, and shall be filled with praise and gratitude to God. We shall magnify the Lord, the God of all grace, who has magnified Christ. And He will reveal His power through us, making us as sharp sickles in the harvest field (The Review and Herald, February 14, 1899). 5BC 1089.6

14 (Malachi 4:5; Luke 1:17). The Spirit and Power of Elijah—In the spirit and with the power of Elijah, John denounced the corruptions of the Jews, and raised his voice in reproving their prevailing sins. His discourses were plain, pointed, and convincing. Many were brought to repentance of their sins, and, as evidence of their repentance, were baptized of him in Jordan. This was the preparatory work for the ministry of Christ. Many were convicted because of the plain truths uttered by this faithful prophet; but, by rejecting the light, they became enshrouded in deeper darkness, so that they were fully prepared to turn from the evidences attending Jesus, that He was the true Messiah (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:48, 49). 5BC 1089.7

20-24 (Luke 10:13-15). Witness Rejected—The deeds of love and compassion performed by Jesus in the cities of Judea, were regarded with wonder by the angels of heaven; and yet multitudes in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum looked on with indifference, and in their hardness of heart they acted as though time or eternity was scarcely worth their attention. The majority of the inhabitants of these cities spent their time in caviling over themes of little importance, and but a few took the position that the Saviour of mankind was the Christ. 5BC 1090.1

The prophecies of the Scriptures were plain, and gave clear predictions of His life, character, and work; and from the testimony of men who had spoken as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, evidence was sufficient to prove that Jesus was all He claimed to be—the Son of God, the Messiah of whom Moses and the prophets did write, the Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel. But it was in vain that He sought to convince the priests and rulers, and to draw the hearts of common people to His light. Priests and rulers, scribes and Pharisees, clung to their traditions, their ceremonies, customs, and theories, and suffered not their hearts to be touched and cleansed and sanctified by divine grace. The few who did follow Christ came from among the lowly and unlearned (The Review and Herald, June 2, 1896). 5BC 1090.2

28-30. The Yoke of Restraint and Obedience—Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you”—the yoke of restraint and obedience—“and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” We are to find rest by wearing His yoke and bearing His burdens. In being co-workers with Christ in the great work for which He gave His life, we shall find true rest. When we were sinners, He gave His life for us. He wants us to come to Him and learn of Him. Thus we are to find rest. He says He will give us rest. “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” In doing this you will find in your own experience the rest that Christ gives, the rest that comes from wearing His yoke and lifting His burdens (The General Conference Bulletin, April 4, 1901). 5BC 1090.3

In accepting Christ's yoke of restraint and obedience, you will find that it is of the greatest help to you. Wearing this yoke keeps you near the side of Christ, and He bears the heaviest part of the load. 5BC 1090.4

“Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” To learn the lessons Christ teaches is the greatest treasure students can find. Rest comes to them in the consciousness that they are trying to please the Lord (Letter 144, 1901). 5BC 1090.5

Help to Bear Every Burden—There is a condition to the rest and peace here offered us by Christ. It is that of yoking up with Him. All who will accept the condition will find that the yoke of Christ will help them to bear every burden needful for them to carry. Without Christ at our side to bear the heaviest part of the load, we must indeed say that it is heavy. But yoked with Him to the car of duty, the burdens of life may all be lightly carried. And just as a man acts in willing obedience to the requirements of God, will come his peace of mind.... 5BC 1090.6

Meekness and humility will characterize all who are obedient to the law of God, all who will wear the yoke of Christ with submission. And these graces will bring the desirable result of peace in the service of Christ (The Signs of the Times, April 16, 1912, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, July 22, 1897). 5BC 1090.7

(Ch. 16:24; Luke 9:23.) Symbol of Submission to God's Will—We are to bear the yoke of Christ that we may be placed in complete union with Him. “Take my yoke upon you,” He says. Obey My requirements. But these requirements may be in direct opposition to the will and purposes of the human agent. What then is to be done? Hear what God says: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing,—the giving up of the will to God. Wearing the yoke unites finite man in companionship with the dearly beloved Son of God. Lifting the cross cuts away self from the soul, and places man where he learns how to bear Christ's burdens. We cannot follow Christ without wearing His yoke, without lifting the cross and bearing it after Him. If our will is not in accord with the divine requirements, we are to deny our inclinations, give up our darling desires, and step in Christ's footsteps.... 5BC 1090.8

Men frame for their own necks yokes that seem light and pleasant to wear, but they prove galling in the extreme. Christ sees this, and He says, “Take My yoke upon you. The yoke you would place upon your own neck, thinking it a precise fit, will not fit at all. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me the lessons essential for you to learn; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” The Lord never makes a false estimate concerning His heritage. He measures the men with whom He is working. When they submit to His yoke, when they give up the struggle that has been unprofitable for themselves and for the cause of God, they will find peace and rest. When they become sensible of their own weakness, their own deficiencies, they will delight to do God's will. They will submit to the yoke of Christ. Then God can work in them to will and to do of His good pleasure, which is often entirely contrary to the plans of the human mind. When the heavenly anointing comes to us, we shall learn the lesson of meekness and lowliness, which always brings rest to the soul (The Review and Herald, October 23, 1900). 5BC 1091.1

Christ's Yoke Never Galling—Your work is not to gather up burdens of your own. As you take the burdens that Christ would have you, then you can realize what burdens He carried. Let us study the Bible, and find out what kind of yoke He bore. He was a help to those around Him. He says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” You see there is a yoke to bear. Now this is the very faith that we want—a faith that will grasp the promises of God, one that will take the yoke of Christ and bear the burdens that He would have us. We often think we are having a hard time in bearing burdens, and it is too often the case, because God has not made any provision for us to carry these burdens; but when we bear His yoke and carry His burdens, we can testify that the yoke of Christ is easy and His burdens are light, because He has made provision for these. But when you feel depressed and discouraged, do not give up the battle; you have a living Saviour that will help you, and you will have rest in Him. You must not put your neck under the yoke of fashion, and yokes that God has never designed that you should bear. It is not our work to study how to meet the world's standard, but the great question with each one should be, How can I meet God's standard? Then it is that you will find rest to the soul; for Christ has said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 5BC 1091.2

When you have a yoke that is galling to the neck, you may know it is not Christ's yoke; for He says His yoke is easy. What God wants of us is to be learning every day of our lives how to build our characters for time and for eternity. He does not want us to get into one channel and never turn out of that; to have fixed ideas, and hold them fast, whether they are right or wrong. He will place us amid trials and difficulties, and when we have learned to overcome obstacles in a right spirit, with high and holy purpose, He will give us another lesson. And if we have not the meekness of Christ to be constantly learning of Jesus in His school, then we must know that we have not the yoke of Christ (The Review and Herald, May 10, 1887). 5BC 1091.3

29 (John 15:4, 5). Hard to Give Up Own Will and Way—If you are willing to learn meekness and lowliness of heart in Christ's school, He will surely give you rest and peace. It is a terribly hard struggle to give up your own will and your own way. But this lesson learned, you will find rest and peace. Pride, selfishness, and ambition must be overcome; your will must be swallowed up in the will of Christ. The whole life may become one constant love sacrifice, every action a manifestation, and every word an utterance of love. As the life of the vine circulates through stem and cluster, descends into the lower fibers, and reaches to the topmost leaf, so will the grace and love of Christ burn and abound in the soul, sending its virtues to every part of the being, and pervading every exercise of body and mind (Letter 14, 1887). 5BC 1091.4

How to Wear the Yoke—Take hold of the arm of God, and say, “I am nothing, and Thou art everything. Thou hast said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ Now, Lord, I must have Thee abiding in me, that I may abide in Thee.” Then advance step by step, by living faith abiding in Jesus Christ. This is wearing His yoke, the yoke of obedience (Manuscript 85, 1901). 5BC 1092.1

Wearing the yoke with Christ, means to work in His lines, to be a copartner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity. It means to be a wise instructor of souls. We shall be what we are willing to be made by Christ in these precious hours of probation. We shall be the sort of a vessel that we allow ourselves to be molded into. We must unite with God in the molding and fashioning work, having our wills submitted to the divine will (Letter 71, 1895). 5BC 1092.2

30. Easy Yoke Does Not Give Life of Ease—The Lord calls His yoke easy, and His burden light. Yet that yoke will not give us a life of ease and freedom and selfish indulgence. The life of Christ was one of self-sacrifice and self-denial at every step; and with consistent, Christlike tenderness and love, His true follower will walk in the footsteps of the Master; and as he advances in this life, he will become more and more inspired with the spirit and life of Christ (The Signs of the Times, April 16, 1912, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, July 22, 1897). 5BC 1092.3