Matt 11:2-3 John...sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come?
At this time, John is in Herod's prison. His mortal ministry is over and yet his disciples keep hanging around. While he must have appreciated the visits, it seems his disciples had not caught the vision of his message. If they had, they would have been following that individual whose shoe latchet John was not worthy to unloose.
Bruce R. McConkie
"Why did John send two of his disciples to Jesus to ask if he were the promised Messiah? Any inference that the Baptist was uncertain or doubtful in his own mind, as to the identity and mission of the Master, is totally unwarranted. In reality, the imprisoned Elias and forerunner of our Lord was using this means to persuade his disciples to forsake him and follow Jesus.
"John knew who Jesus was; the Baptist was not wavering as a reed in the wind. While in Herod's prison, angels sent by Jesus had ministered comfort and assurance to John, and immediately after John's disciples left to report back to the Baptist, the Lord was to speak eloquently of the integrity and stability of the one who had baptized him. This act of sending his disciples to Jesus was in effect a final great testimony on John's part that Jesus was the Lamb of God, for the Baptist knew that his disciples, seeing the Master personally and hearing his teachings, could not help but follow the greater light." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1: 261.)
Matt 11:6 blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me
The story is repeated all to often. Why doesn't Brother So-and-so come to Church anymore? The answer: he was offended by a rude comment, a counseling bishop, a generalized indifference, or a perception of hypocrisy. When invited to return, he is no longer able to step over the molehill, for it has become a mountain of his own making. His inactivity seems to be designed to punish the offender, but sadly, only punishes himself. Hence, the Lord counseled, 'blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.'
The quality of being not easily offended is highly underrated. It is a quality of godliness which puts at ease all those around you. No longer must they tread lightly, walking all the time on unnecessary eggshells. The principle has eternal application, for if we are not offended at our family, friends, and ward members, we will not be offended at the Lord's servants or the Savior himself.
Neal A. Maxwell
"Meekness can also help us in coping with the injustices of life-of which there are quite a few...Furthermore, not only are the meek less easily offended, but they are less likely to give offense to others. In contrast, there are some in life who seem, perpetually, to be waiting to be offended. Their pride covers them like boils which will inevitably be bumped." ("Meekness-A Dimension of True Discipleship," Ensign, Mar. 1983, 70)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Jesus foresaw how and why He and His prophets would, in His mortal Messiahship, be rejected by so many. What He did, what He said, and what He was, offended many. The pattern is there, as well, with regard to the prophets sent by Jesus. The same meekness needed to accept Him is needed to accept His emissaries. Perhaps more is needed, the latter being good but imperfect. Without humbleness of mind, we are apt to reject those whom He has sent. There can be many excuses for rejecting the prophets. When meek enough, we know a prophet is a prophet." (Meek and Lowly, 103.)
Matt 11:7 What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
Elder Alma Sonne
"They went out to see a man who had been true to his calling, a spiritual giant, a great prophet.
"You may rest assured that no worldly allurements could swerve him from his sacred calling. When you find a man who discharges his obligations to God, first and foremost, you will find a strong man, an unconquerable spirit, not a reed shaken by the wind. He is not swayed by popular motives nor by passing currents. He stands on a foundation that will never give way." (Conference Report, October 1958, Afternoon Meeting 25.)
Matt 11:9 What went ye out for to see?
Any question the Lord asks three times must be significant (see Jn 21:15-17). Were the people looking for a prophet? One greater than a prophet was in front of their eyes. Each question seems to underscore that they were looking for truth, searching for a prophet to guide them, a teacher to instruct them. And if John was so great that no greater prophet had before been born, how significant was the immediate presence of the Messiah, the Creator of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
Christ's meekness prevented him from asking the more key question, "What think ye of Christ?" He could have asked, "What came ye out here to see, a carpenter from Nazareth? What came ye out here to see, a magician and his miraculous tricks? What came ye out here to see, a winebibber and friend to publicans and sinners?" But they didn't understand who he was, nor did they understand his meek declaration, 'he (Jesus) that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he (John).'
Matt 11:11 Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist
"How is it John was considered one of the greatest of prophets? Three things:
"First, he was trusted with a divine mission of preparing the way before the face of the Lord. [Who ever received such] trust, before or since? No man. Second, He was trusted, and it was required at his hands, to baptize the Son of Man. Who ever did that? Who had so great a privilege and glory [to lead the] Son of God into the waters of baptism, beholding the Holy Ghost in the sign of a dove? . . . Third, John at that time was the only legal administrator, holding the keys of power, there was on earth. The keys, the kingdom, the power, and the glory [had gone] from the Jews [to the] son of Zacharias, by the holy anointing [and] decree of heaven. These three constituted him the greatest born of woman." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 87-88.)
Matt 11:11 he that is least in the kingdom of heaven in greater than he
"[How is it that] he that is least in the kingdom is greater than he? Who did Jesus have reference to? Jesus was looked upon as having the least claim in all God's kingdom. 'He that is considered the least among you is greater than John, that is, myself.'" (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 88.)
Matt 11:12 the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force
B. H. Roberts
"Shortly afterwards John the Baptist was beheaded for his rebuke of a king. The kingdom of heaven as represented in the faithfulness of the Baptist, suffered violence and the violent took it by force. And from this example we may conclude that wicked violence is to be a force to be reckoned with in the contest for the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth. The Christ clearly understood the force of violence that the kingdom of heaven struggling for a place in the earth would have to meet. This especially is made apparent when he said to the Pharisees near the close of his mortal life: 'Behold I send unto you prophets and wise men and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city. That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation' (Matthew 23:34-36). Another instance in which the kingdom of heaven would 'suffer violence' and the violent would 'take it by force'." (B. H. Roberts, Falling Away, Discourse VI)
Matt 11:14 if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come
The doctrine of Elias can be very difficult to understand, especially without the aid of latter-day revelation. Even then, the subject requires considerable discussion. In the New Testament, the term "Elias" can refer to three different things:
- Elijah the Tishbite (The New Testament was translated from Greek and the Greek form of Elijah is Elias).
- Elias as a title for a Forerunner, or one who prepares the way for something greater.
- Elias as a title for a Restorer, a prophet who returns as part of the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21).
Here, Christ declares that John was Elias; whereas the gospel of John records that John the Baptist denied that he was Elias, 'And they asked him, What then? Art thou 'Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.' (Jn 1:21) However, the Joseph Smith Translation corrects this to read, 'the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem, to ask him; Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not that he was Elias; but confessed, saying; I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying; How then art thou Elias? And he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things; And they asked him, saying, Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.' (JST Jn 1:20-22) The Joseph Smith translation indicates that John admitted to being a Forerunner Elias but denied being a Restorer Elias.
In conclusion, when Christ declares to the people, 'if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come,' he was declaring that John was acting as a forerunner according to the prophecy of Malachi, 'I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me...' (Mal 3:1). He was not declaring that John was fulfilling the role of Elijah the Tishbite (Mal 4:5-6) or Elias the Restorer.
"The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias, or the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias, even from the early ages of the world." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 335.)
Matt 11:15 He who hath ears to hear, let him hear
This phrase, 'He who hath ears to hear, let him hear' occurs in several places in the scriptures. Whenever the phrase occurs, it signifies that the doctrine being presented is difficult to understand. Therefore, the phrase is like a flag, waving to the reader, declaring "there's something more here to understand if you will pay attention." Only those with spiritual ears will hear the message being given. Like a parable intended only for the spiritually-minded, the message will be misunderstood by most.
In this case, the Jews did not understand the difference between the roles of Elias and the mission of Elijah. They probably thought Christ was inferring that John was Elijah the Tishbite, but it takes the Spirit and help from latter-day revelation to understand the true meaning.
Matt 11:17 We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented
Jesus is using a parable to show the people that they can't have it both ways. John the Baptist comes to them from the wilderness as an isolated, austere prophet dressed in camel's hair, and he is rejected. Jesus comes to them as a common man; he associates with poor people eating and drinking with sinners, and he is rejected. God gave this generation two totally different kinds of prophets, one that was a loner who rejected all common pleasures and One that was social and ate and drank like the common man. Would the Jews reject both kinds? Which kind of prophet did they want?
To paraphrase the parable, "when we played happy music, you didn't rejoice and sing and dance; when we played sad music, you didn't cry and mourn and lament." The kind of music played was completely opposite just like God's presentation of these two prophets. In both instances, the hearers (John the Baptist and Jesus) didn't behave the way the musicians (the Jews) wanted.
When people think of prophets, they have widely different expectations. Joseph Smith often received the same response. People rejected him as a prophet because he didn't meet their expectations of how a prophet should behave. Joseph Wakefield must have expected a true prophet to be serious all the time. He once witnessed the Prophet Joseph stop translating the Bible so he could play with the children. He was completely astonished at this. "This convinced him that the Prophet was not a man of God, and that the work was false." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 324 - 325)
The Jews were insolent and self-righteous. When the Jews piped, Jesus didn't dance. They judged Him harshly because He didn't do what they wanted. They rejected him because he didn't behave the way they expected the Messiah to behave. They had the cart before the horse, for Christ was not to be judged by the world-the world is to be judged by Christ.
George Q. Morris
"The Lord Jesus Christ is not on trial before the world. Men should understand that. The world is on trial before the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will have to account for the attitude taken toward him and his message, and we cannot accept him without accepting his principles and his doctrines. If we reject his principles and his doctrines, we reject him." (Conference Report, April 1955, Fourth Day-Morning Meeting 101)
Matt 11:20-24 Woe unto thee Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida!...And thou Capernaum
Spencer W. Kimball
"With our Testament open we read of the ministry of Christ, for this was the scene of much of it. We ask for the cities in which he lived and performed so many miracles, for we remember that in this area of but a few miles much of his work was done, much of his ministry was accomplished. We would like to walk through the triplet cities so often visited: Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum. We see no spires nor towers, nor walls. We ask our guide: 'Where is Chorazin?' He shakes his head. There is no Chorazin. We conclude it must have been on those hills above where now are sprouting grain and vegetables and dry weeds.
"'Then where is Bethsaida?' we ask. 'Where is that noted city where so many sick were healed and the lame were made to walk; where deaf could hear and lepers lost their curse? Where is his favorite place he often lodged, the home of Andrew, Peter, and Philip his dearest friends? Where is old Bethsaida, the house of fishers, the place of miracles, the seat of gospel teachings, where fishermen became apostles?' In these very few miles much of interest happened. 'Where is Bethsaida?' Our guide shakes his head again. There is no Bethsaida. 'Capernaum, then?' we ask, 'Where is that important place, the port where fish were loaded, traded, marketed?' He shakes his head again, then smiles as he thinks it through and changes the accent, and 'Oh, you mean Capernaum.' He shows us the ruins of a large synagogue.
"If this was of the Messianic period it is the sole survivor. A back wall great stones tumbled in disarray, some olive presses are mute reminders of long ago. But that can't be Capernaum, his own city, the great Capernaum, the haughty, wicked, rebellious, Capernaum!
"Now we realize that we should not have expected to see these cities, for were they not doomed 1,900 years ago? Have we forgotten the prophetic curse of the Master? In their unrepentant attitudes toward the Savior of the world and his exalting message, Christ warned: 'Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
"'But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.' We found that Tyre and Sidon still exist on the Mediterranean coast.
"'And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.' (Matt. 11:21-24.)
"And then we remember that only prophets and angels had visited Sodom to call that people to repentance, but for these tri-cities the Creator, the Lord, the Christ had come in person and for nearly three years had dwelt among them and performed the miracles and taught the gospel. They had ignored and rejected him. (We cannot remember ever reading about any Church branches in these cities.) Sodom and Gomorrah went up in smoke 'as the smoke of a furnace.' If these cities were more rebellious than Tyre and Sidon, more corrupt than Sodom, and more wicked than Gomorrah, we think we understand." (Conference Report, April 1961, Afternoon Meeting 77 - 78.)
Matt 11:25 thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes
James E. Talmage
"Compared with the learned men of the time, such as the rabbis and scribes, whose knowledge served but to harden their hearts against the truth, these devoted servants were as babes in humility, trust, and faith. Such children were and are among the nobles of the kingdom." (Jesus the Christ, 397)
Elder James H. Moyle
"This is a glorious work! It is my privilege to labor with a splendid band of young missionaries, who have been an inspiration to me, especially as I have heard them report their labors in the mission field. I have felt that their experiences are similar to those...in the days of the Savior. When they returned and reported to him their labors and what they had witnessed, he said: 'I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.'
"These young people are not wise in this world's learning, or experienced; they are youthful, inexperienced, frequently uneducated, and crude, but enjoying an experience and receiving an education superior to that obtained anywhere else. We value the privilege of educating our children in the great universities of the world, preparing them for life's duties; but is it not far more important that they should be prepared both for this life's duties and those of the life to come, the eternities?
It is the greatest university training, to be thus divinely inspired, guided and educated. It is more than what people call religious training. There is in it also a most practical training for life's secular duties as well. It develops more than any college work will, initiative, self reliance, leadership, moral character, virtue, love of fellowmen, and above all the love of God, and a knowledge of him." (Conference Report, October 1929, Afternoon Meeting 125.)
Matt 11:27 neither knoweth any man the Father, save...he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him
Bruce R. McConkie
"The Son will reveal the Father to men.
"Jesus said: 'All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.' (Matthew 11:27.) The Son reveals the Father to men! And in like manner the Father testifies to men of the Son. 'And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son; for except it is through him no man can be saved.' (JST, John 1:19.)
"Both the Father and the Son may be seen by men.
"In his great discourse on the Second Comforter-perhaps as deep and wondrous a sermon as he ever delivered-the Lord Jesus promised: 'I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. . . . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.' (John 14:18-23.) The concluding sentence in this quotation is John 14:23, of which the revealed word, given in our day, says: 'The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man's heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.' (D&C 130:3.)
"Those whose calling and election has been made sure may see the Lord.
"When a man has 'his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter,' the Second Comforter, the Prophet Joseph Smith tells us. Then he asks: 'Now what is this other Comforter?' His answer: 'It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions-Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 150-51.)" (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 498-99.)
Matt 11:28 Come unto me...and I will give you rest
James E. Faust
"There is hope for all to be healed through repentance and obedience...After our full repentance, the formula is wonderfully simple. Indeed, the Lord has given it to us in these words: 'Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?' (3 Nephi 9:12) In so doing, we have his promise that 'he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds' (Psalm 147:3).
"We find solace in Christ through the agency of the Comforter, and Christ extends this invitation to us: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11:28). The apostle Peter speaks of 'casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you' (1 Peter 5:7). As we do this, healing takes place, just as the Lord promised through the prophet Jeremiah when he said, 'I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. . . . I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul' (Jeremiah 31:13, 25).
"In the celestial glory, we are told, 'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain' (Revelation 21:4). Then faith and hope will replace heartache, disappointment, torment, anguish, and despair, and the Lord will give us strength, as Alma says, that we 'should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ' (Alma 31:38). May we live to be worthy of that glorious day of rejoicing." (Finding Light in a Dark World, 31-2.)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"Despite dismal conditions in the world and the personal challenges that come into every life, peace within can be a reality. We can be calm and serene regardless of the swirling turmoil all about us. Attaining harmony within ourselves depends upon our relationship with our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and our willingness to emulate him by living the principles he has given us. He has extended to us an invitation: '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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' (Matthew 11:28-30.)
"The phrase 'Peace, be still' (Mark 4:39), which the Savior uttered when he calmed the storm-tossed sea, can have the same calming influence upon us when we are buffeted by life's storms. During the Passover feast, the Savior taught his disciples: 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.' (John 14:27.) Referring to the teachings he had given to his disciples, Jesus said: 'These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33.)
"...One faithful mother of a large family learned to find peace by accepting the Savior's invitation to come unto him and find rest. She lived in obedience to the commandments of God and had faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. She developed the practice of doing everything within her power to solve problems and meet challenges, and then, when she felt that she could do nothing more, she would cast her burdens upon the Lord and place the outcome in his hands." (Finding Peace in Our Lives, 10.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Happily, the commandment 'Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart' (Matt. 11:29) is a principle which carries an accompanying and compensating promise from Jesus: 'and ye shall find rest unto your souls.' This is a very special form of rest resulting from the shedding of certain needless burdens: fatiguing insincerity, exhausting hypocrisy, and the strength-sapping quest for recognition, praise, and power. Those of us who fall short, in one way or another, often do so because we carry such unnecessary and heavy baggage. Being overloaded, we sometimes stumble, and then we feel sorry for ourselves." (The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, 34-35.)
Matt 11:29 learn of me
Neal A. Maxwell
"A special kind of learning about particular truths comprehends the reality and existence of Jesus Christ as a resurrected Lord; it is the basis of all knowledge and must precede other forms of learning. Paul spoke of those who did not understand this central reality as being 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.' (2 Timothy 3:7.) " (Things As They Really Are, 94.)
Matt 11:29 for I am meek and lowly in heart
Alexander B. Morrison
"Is there, then, one single attribute of character that best characterizes the man or woman of Christ, enabling him or her to subdue the 'natural man'? Some might say love, courage, faithfulness, or integrity. Without in any way decrying the importance of each of the above, and many others as well, I submit that perhaps the most Christlike of all attributes of character is that of meekness, or in other words, humble submissiveness. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explains why:
'Meekness ranks low on the mortal scale of things, yet high on God's: `For none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart' (Moro. 7:44). The rigorous requirements of Christian discipleship are clearly unattainable without meekness. In fact, meekness is needed in order to be spiritually successful, whether in matters of the intellect, in the management of power, in the dissolution of personal pride, or in coping with the challenges of daily life. Jesus, the carpenter-who, with Joseph, `undoubtedly had experience making yokes'-gave us that marvelous metaphor: `Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.' (Matt. 11:29.) The yoke of obedience to Him is far better than servitude to sin, but the demands are real. . . . Among the qualities to be developed in order to . . . be more like Him and later with Him, is the quality of meekness. It is upon this quality that so many other things, in turn, depend. Without meekness, we cannot accept the gospel, be baptized worthily, maintain our faith, or enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Without meekness, we cannot retain a remission of our sins, nor can we come to have still further knowledge about Jesus Christ. And, finally, without meekness, we cannot enjoy the highest gospel ordinances worthily.'
"It hardly needs mentioning that meekness is not the same as servility. He who is meek does not grovel or cringe; he is no milksop. Meekness connotes strength, not weakness. After all, Jesus, the perfect example of meekness, and our model in every way, was the epitome of strength." (Zion: A Light in the Darkness, 68.)
Matt 11:30 What makes the yoke heavy and hard to bear?
"Spiritual masochists is my term for those who resist the good news of the easy yoke and the light burden (Matthew 11:28-30) and instead imagine such difficult requirements for salvation that they know they cannot possibly make it. Believing that God can't save them puts some people in a state of despair, which, for perverse carnal reasons, they prefer instead of joy. Their concern with their own sins and weaknesses is usually obsessive, and it often gives them a certain carnal satisfaction ('Your problems and sins are trivial, but mine are too complex even for God to resolve!') These individuals need to repent, not (at least not at first) of any single transgression but rather of their wallowing self-indulgence on the one hand and their lack of faith in the infinite power of Christ on the other." (Stephen E. Robinson, Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good News, 129.)
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"He who has borne all burdens has asked that we transfer the horror and terror, the scars of suffering, the baggage we have carried for so many years to Him. This transfer takes place in the same way for the victim as it does for the transgressor. Alma cried, 'O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold.' (Alma 36:18-20.) His soul was filled with joy exquisite and sweet." (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model, 10 - 11.)
Robert L. Simpson
"The only difficult way is the cobblestone byway of periodic indifference, broken covenants, and half-hearted effort." (Conference Report, April 1967, Afternoon Meeting 69.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"When a man confesses that it is hard to keep the commandments of the Lord, he is making a sad confession-that he is a violator of the Gospel law. Habits are easily formed. It is just as easy to form good habits as it is to form evil ones. Of course it is not easy to tell the truth, if you have been a confirmed liar. It is not easy to be honest, if you have formed habits of dishonesty. A man finds it very difficult to pray, if he has never prayed. On the other side, when a man has always been truthful, it is a hard thing for him to lie. If he has always been honest and he does some dishonest thing, his conscience protests very loudly. He will find no peace, except in repentance. If a man has the spirit of prayer, he delights in prayer. It is easy for him to approach the Lord with assurance that his petition will be answered. The paying of tithing is not hard for the man, fully converted to the Gospel, who pays his tenth on all that he receives. So we see the Lord has given us a great truth-his yoke is easy, his burden is light if we love to do his will!" (The Way to Perfection, 150.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"[Christ's] yoke, when fully and squarely placed upon us, is much lighter than the weight of sin. No burden is as heavy as the burden of the 'natural man'! The annoying load of ambivalence and the hecticness of hesitation produce their own aggravations and frustrations." (Men and Women of Christ, p. 103.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"If we enlist and take the Savior's yoke upon us we 'shall find rest unto [our] souls' (Matthew 11:29). If we are only part-time soldiers, though, partially yoked, we experience quite the opposite: frustration, irritation, and the absence of His full grace and spiritual rest. In that case weaknesses persist and satisfactions are intermittent. The less involved members resemble cartoonist Bill Mauldin's proud garritroopers of World War II-those who were too far forward to wear ties, but too far back to get shot, yet regarded themselves as real soldiers in the midst of the fray! Actually the partially yoked experience little spiritual satisfaction, because they are burdened by carrying the awful weight of the natural man-without any of the joys that come from progressing toward becoming 'the man of Christ.' They have scarcely '[begun] to be enlightened' (Alma 32:34). The meek and fully yoked, on the other hand, find God's reassuring grace and see their weakness yielding to strength (see Ether 12:27).
"Strange as it seems, a few of the partially yoked, undeservedly wearing the colors of the kingdom, are just close enough to the prescribed path and process to be able to observe in others some of the visible costs of discipleship. Sobered by that observation, they want victory without battle and expect campaign ribbons merely for watching; but there is no witness until after the trial of their faith (see Ether 12:6)." (Men and Women of Christ, 2.)
Matt 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light
Gordon B. Hinckley
"When an individual has that witness and testimony [of the truth of this work], the requirements of the Church become challenges rather than burdens. Declared the Savior: 'My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' ("Matt. 11:30Matthew 11:30.)
"The yoke of Church responsibility, the burden of Church leadership become opportunities rather than problems to him who wears the mantle of dedicated membership in the Church of Jesus Christ.
"While attending a conference in the East, I listened to the experience of an engineer who had joined the Church some months before. The missionaries had called at his home, and his wife had invited them in. She had eagerly responded to their message, while he felt himself being pulled in against his will. One evening she indicated that she wished to be baptized. He flew into a fit of anger. Didn't she know what this meant? This would mean time. This would mean the payment of tithing. This would mean giving up their friends. This would mean no more smoking. He threw on his coat and walked out into the night, slamming the door behind him. He walked the streets, swearing at his wife, swearing at the missionaries, swearing at himself for ever permitting them to teach them. As he grew tired, his anger cooled, and a spirit of prayer somehow came into his heart. He prayed as he walked. He pleaded with God for an answer to his questions. And then an impression, clear and unequivocal, came almost as if a voice had spoken with words that said, 'It's true.'
"'It's true,' he said to himself again and again. 'It's true.' A peace came into his heart. As he walked toward home, the restrictions, the demands, the requirements over which he had been so incensed began to appear as opportunities. When he opened the door, he found his wife on her knees.
"Then, before the congregation to whom he told this, he spoke of the gladness that had come into their lives. Tithing was not a problem; the sharing of their substance with God, who had given them everything, seemed little enough. Time for service was not a problem; this required only a little careful budgeting of the hours of the week. Responsibility was not a problem; out of it came growth and a new outlook on life. And then this man of intellect and training, this engineer, accustomed to dealing with the facts of the physical world in which we live, bore with moistened eyes solemn testimony of the miracle that had come into his life." (Be Thou an Example, 8.)
Elder Paul F. Royall
"Now this is a true statement. In my farm life, if I understand what a yoke is, I remember when we yoked the horses together we used to put something across their shoulders which would equalize the burdens, so that they could be yoked together and pull together. When the Lord said, 'My yoke is easy,' he meant just exactly that, that it was not difficult for us to take the yoke of the Lord and the burden which he cast upon us and to find rest to our souls, for surely it is so." (December 17, 1963, BYU Speeches of the Year, 4)
"How can the burden be light? It's because the yoke is a double one, designed for two. Jesus wants to be our yokefellow; yet how often do we struggle on, insisting on pulling the whole load ourselves, never realizing why it feels so lopsided? The Savior wants to share that burden, and we need to let him.
"So just memorize that ancient proverb and say it out loud when things are hard. Lighten up!
"You're going to have some dark moments. We all do. But when they come, I hope you will remember to let the sunshine into your life. Don't be hard on yourself, and don't let other people be hard on you either. Give yourself credit for the good things you do...There aren't many loads that are too heavy to pull if Jesus is pulling beside us.
"If we're really feeling burdened, then maybe we're not carrying Jesus' yoke. Maybe we're carrying somebody else's. Maybe it's time to say to ourselves, 'I really feel dragged down when I hear ___________' (you can fill in the blank with whatever happens to fit: 'that I should be doing genealogy,' 'that I should be reading the scriptures for half an hour every day,' 'that I should be doing more visiting teaching,' and so forth).
"Instead, try this. Say to yourself, 'This is how I really, truly, honestly feel. It's a burden, and I'm not going to carry it any longer.' And then dump it! Just twitch your shoulders and let it slide to the ground...Can you feel how differently your heart feels when you let go of unnecessary burdens? Isn't there a lightness and a brightness that wasn't there before? " (Lighten Up! pp. 6, 204-5.)