Daily Radio Bible Podcast
I Will Give You Rest
Leviticus 7 - 9 and Acts 15
Did you feel the weight of it, the heavy yoke of Leviticus?
Did you feel the weight of it – the heavy yoke of Leviticus? The requirements of the law were elaborate, and complex. The details were exacting, right down to putting blood on the right ear, thumb and right big toe of the priest. It was a heavy yoke with staggering specificity. They put themselves in peril if they got it wrong.
Yet in Acts today, Paul and Barnabas are preaching a different message – a Gospel of Good News, not a heavy yoke. All the demands of the law of Moses are fulfilled in Jesus. He is the Sacrificial Lamb, the High Priest, our Advocate, and our Temple. Jesus is the reality behind all the shadow play of the law of Moses. The pressures of the law are lethal if they are misunderstood or misapplied. Trusting in Jesus is what makes us right with God, not the heavy yoke of the book of Leviticus, and not all our attempts at fulfilling the law’s demands. This heavy yoke was more than anyone could carry, then or now.
Essentially, Peter says in Acts, let’s not put the book of Leviticus on the backs of these Gentile converts, and tell them to fulfill it, when neither we, nor our ancestors, could carry it. We know that the only one who has ever been able to bear the weight of it is the Lord Jesus himself. Salvation and being made right with God, comes only by grace, through faith. Jesus, alone, carried that heavy yoke. He meets us at our darkest, at our worst, there he meets us, he picks us up and carries us. God has bestowed the easy yoke, upon the whole world. Jew, and Gentile alike. It’s not Jesus plus circumcision, Jesus plus Levitical law, or Jesus plus Moses. It’s just JESUS. His undeserved grace is it! That’s how we are made right with God. By walking in his Spirit, we participate in the goodness of this new life we have in him.
You and I may not have the Levitical laws around our neck. In fact most of us, When we read Leviticus, we think it’s weird. Levitical laws might not be a barrier for us to feel right with God. But we do create our own morally-equivalent barriers, that make it hard to live and experience God’s grace and strength. We come up with things like, if I were just a better mom, made more money, got my temper under control, read my Bible more, went to church more, gave more, – then I’m sure God would love me more. It’s not the book of Leviticus you are trying to carry. It’s the book of Steve or Carol or Andrew, or Hunter. Just insert your name. We create our own barriers that make it hard for us to receive the Good News of the Gospel.
When the church of Antioch got the letter delivered by Barsabbas and Silas, it brought the believers great joy as they read it. It basically said, Take off your yoke! That’s why they were joyous. They were freed from that burden that they could not carry.
You don’t have to shoulder the book of Leviticus or the barriers you have made for yourself. You can rejoice because Christ Jesus has a very simple message for you today. “Take off your yoke.” You are right with God, there is nothing you can do that will change God’s opinion of you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”(Matt 11:28 – 30 NLT)
Live with his easy, humble, gentle, light yoke, and no other.