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"Take My Yoke Upon Thee and Learn of Me"

*** I typically post these lessons on the Saturday before I teach.  I wasn’t feeling well enough on Saturday to do much more than prepare my lesson.  So rather than skipping it, I am posting it a couple of days late.  Hopefully some will still find the information beneficial and maybe you are a week behind.   It has been a struggle for me over the past year on whether or not I should post my lesson plans.  At this moment, I feel as if I should.  But, who knows, maybe in time that will change.  Anyway, thank you for joining me for a virtual Sunday School Lesson.

Lesson 10 – “Take My Yoke upon You, and Learn of Me”

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Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 7:36-50

Additional Resource:  Beardall 2000

In 2000- 2001, the following scripture was the theme for the seminary program.  These 3 verses are so important, the whole year of seminary was designed to strengthen and emphasize the youth’s testimonies.

SCRIPTURE #1

Matthew 11:28-30

28  Come unto me, all ye that  labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29  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.

30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28 invites us to…

28  Come unto me, all ye that  labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Who is this invitation extended to?

If you think about who responded to this invitation, you might notice that it was not the lazy or the once who sat on their pedestal and watched others do all of their work.

What does it mean to be “heavy laden”?

Heavy laden could mean physically burdened down or emotionally burdened.

What are some things that each of you is burdened with today or have been in the past?

Work, sin, family, health, loss, and finances to name a few burdens that weighs us down.

Imagine that each of those burdens is a rock that is about 6 inches in diameter.

How long could you carry them only around this room before you would have to stop and readjust or rest?

How can the Savior give us rest from our burdens?

President Joseph F Smith shares with us a form of rest….

QUOTE #1

“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.”

How can the “rest” that President Smith described help us with our burdens?

Next in Matthew 11:29 we are told

29  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.

What is a yoke?

When I think of a yoke, I think of a pair of oxen with the wide wooden frame between them that helped the pioneers cross the plains.  Then I remember that a yoke can also be worn by one person.  For example, if someone needs to carry water from a well, they may use a yoke on their shoulders that is balanced by the two pails of water hanging to the person’s side.  This yoke requires one person to continue doing the heavy lifting but with the assistance of the yoke, they are able to carry on much farther before they have to stop.

What does it mean to take the Lord’s yoke upon us?

By taking His yoke upon us we promise to do His will and allow Him to guide and direct our lives.

Why does that promise sound so familiar?

It is the same promise, basically, that we make when we decide to follow His example and be baptized.

By promising to take His yoke upon us, He too gives us a promise.  That promise is found in Matthew 11:30.

30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

How is Christ’s yoke “easy”?

When I think about how it is easier, one of the things that comes to my mind is that I have few decisions to make.  If I have made the decision to follow his commandments then I won’t have to spend the time worrying about a choice that has an obvious right or wrong.  And I know that if the decision has two “good” options, that I can pray for help making the decision and just might find out that neither choice is wrong and it truly is up to me.

If it is easy, why do some people think that the Lord’s teachings are too restrictive?

Taking upon us the yoke of Christ is an active commitment.  It is not something to just say “I’m doing the Lord’s will because I have accepted Him as my Savior.”  There is so much more to it than that.  It reminds me of the belief by some that by grace alone we are saved.

It breaks my heart when people say that it is just too hard to live the Word of Wisdom.  Or the resistance to three hours of church each week because is just too much to commit to.  Or the lack of willingness to go without their vice, of some sort, so that they can take a step towards following our Savior.

If they would just agree to these commitments or restrictions, their lives would be so much more blessed.  I am not perfect and at times I lean to heavily on my own strength and struggle with pride.  When I begin to recognize each of my weaknesses, I am reminded to share my burden and lean on the Lord – while still doing all that I have the power to do.

Some of you may know that I am currently going through a bit of a trial.  This trial has already strengthened my testimony of just how the Lord is making my burden lighter and making it easier to get through.  I realize I am not through it yet and I don’t know the final outcome.  But, I do know that the Lord is helping me carry this burden.  I know that He is definitely making it easier.

How has obeying this promise made your burdens lighter?

Now let’s take a look into another story of Christ and how He showed that taking his yoke will lighten our burdens.

SCRIPTURE #2

Luke 7:36-50

36  And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.

37  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,

38  And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

39  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

40  And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

41  There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

42  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.  Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

43  Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

44  And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

45  Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

46  My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

47  Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

48  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

49  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

50  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Let’s break it down.

Verse 36 tells us the setting.

Imagine for a moment that you are a guest at a prominent member of society’s house.  Would you be sitting at a fancy table?  Would there be strangers walking in and out of the room where you are dining (that aren’t servers)?  Where would your feet be placed?

In verses 37 and 38 we read…

SCRIPTURE #3

37  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,

38  And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

What would happen if that were to occur at your fancy dinner?

With our feet being on the floor, how on earth could this woman wash our feet?

What does that tell us about the customs of the time?

Can you imagine the scene?

If this woman was allowed into your dinner, what would that chatter in the room be while she is crying and wiping her tears with her hair?

What wonderful things does this situation say about this woman who was known as a sinner?

She was humble.  She was willing and eager to repent of her sins.  She didn’t care what others thought of her.  She knew that Christ could forgive her.

How can we be more like her?

When you find yourself acting like Simon, how do you feel?

Let’s reread his response to the situation…

SCRIPTURE #4

39  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

How can we be less like him?

The Lord responded to him with a parable.  As is the case with each of His parables, this one holds a valuable lesson.

40  And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

41  There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

42  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.  Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

What can we learn from this parable?

If we remember this parable, how can we be less like Simon?

I loved this next interaction, but before we reread it, I would like us to read a little about the history of the times so that the next few verses have even more impact.  This quote is by Elder James E Talmage from Jesus the Christ…

QUOTE #2

“It was a custom of the times to treat a distinguished guest with marked attention; to receive him with a kiss of welcome, to provide water for washing the dust from his feet, and oil for anointing the hair of the head and the beard. All these courteous attentions were omitted by Simon” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 261).

So now let’s we reread verses 44-46

44  And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

45  Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

46  My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

What more does this tell us about the differences between Simon and the woman?

She respected who Christ was while the Pharisee didn’t.  I also think that it showed that she was willing to do all that was necessary to be cleansed.

What might keep us from coming to the Savior as this woman did?

How can we overcome these obstacles?

In the end, Christ forgave her and said that “thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

What a wonderful way to end today’s lesson.  Thy faith hath or can save thee as well.  But we must remember to push through those obstacles, humble ourselves and always take the yoke of Christ upon us.

Testimony

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