Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” Luke 11:46 NIV
Jesus tells us his yoke is easy and his burden is light, so when people who claim to follow him are not teaching the easy yoke and light burden, needless to say his heart is concerned (Matthew 11). In today’s passage, Jesus confronts the experts in the law because they are adding to the words of scripture. They are not teaching about finding rest for their soul in relationship with a loving God but about being a better religious person.
Unfortunately, that’s the trap of religion without finding rest in Jesus. Many religious leaders and so-called biblical scholars in our day are also guilty of implementing a heavy yoke by adding additional shame-inducing religious burdens. Religious marketing schemes encourage weekly attendance, plus participation in all programming, plus giving, plus volunteering, etc. – all of which can be beneficial. But when they become a burden, these good things are detrimental to our formation.
Some leaders make their message extra alluring with teachings of prosperity comparative to one’s faithfulness within the church. Some teach a way of deconstructing the faith but leave people under the burden of confusion. Still others teach self-actualizing as a way to transformation. Additionally, all of us can add our own measures of intensity to our walk with Jesus when we have an intense growth mindset or severe critical voices. But, that is not the way of Jesus. He does not come to condemn the world but to save and to set us free (John 3:17, Galatians 5:1).
In what ways are you adding burdens to your walk with Jesus- burdens he never asked you to carry? Confess these burdens and ask Jesus to help you lay them down.
By Yvonne Biel