“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 5:2)
TO “BEAR” MEANS TO CARRY AS A RESULT OF UNION
Frequently the phrase “bear witness” is used concerning those who speak about another; those called upon to testify concerning another. The law says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” meaning we should not attach something to someone if it is not true. The Lord said of Paul “He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
– carry with you an account of another, if that man is worthy of you joining to them
Jesus, James, Paul and some of the prophets spoke of “bearing fruit.” This is when a tree produces and yields crop or a mother has a child. In both cases the “fruit” is the product of the parent. “A bad tree cannot bear good fruit” and a fig tree cannot bear olives. The fruit is evidence of tree.
– carry fruit that is evidence of your Divine union; bear fruit unto God
Paul once said “Bear with me in a little folly…” (2 Cor 11:1) meaning, be patient and allow me to continue with you. This has to do with withstanding and enabling something to occur…for a time. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13). Jesus said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you” (Lk 9:41).
– partake of, withstand, endure weakness of others, temptations for a time, sufferings for a time, foolishness for a time.
“As we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Cor 15:49).
– This is partaken of something without choice. We must bear the image of Adam and Christ.
To “bear” is to carry a load because you have been joined to someone or something. As a result of who you are and who/what you are joined to, to have added weight. In view of this principle consider these words of our Lord: “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Lk 14:27). Joining ourselves to the Lord will involve bearing burdens that are a direct result of our union with Him. There will also be voluntary burdens that we bear because His likeness is in us – He is a burden-bearer. We bear one another’s burdens because we are like Him.
Burdens are heavy. They are loads. They have weight that is in addition to your own weight. To bear another’s burden is to add additional weight to yourself so that their load can be lightened. “Each one shall bear his own load” (Gal 6:5) and when able, bear another’s load and thereby fulfill the Law of Christ.
Jethro saw the great quantity of Moses’ work in judging Israel and advised him to appoint 70 others to judge the smaller matters. He said, “so it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you” (Exod 18:22). The prophets shared the burden of Lord in preaching. They “felt” what the Lord “felt” concerning the people and what was the Lord’s burden became their burden. This is what fellowship is about. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
Paul sought to avoid being a burden to the brethren. He worked day and night in an effort to “not be a burden to any of [them]” (1 Th 2:9; 2 Th 3:8). The Judaizers, on the other hand, sought to bind burdens on the Gentile converts that no one could bear (Acts 15:10, 28-29). That is, laws and commandments with no help from God.
Bearing one another’s burden does not mean completely taking it from them but rather bearing it together. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you…For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt 11:30). In His yoke we learn from Him and take on life together with Him. He shows us how to overcome the world. It is a fellowship that is so sweet that the weight is lightened by His grace and presence alone. Furthermore, this is a yoke with many brethren under it – Jesus being the firstborn. All are carrying each other’s weight because they are joined together.
Jesus is the only one capable to bearing another’s sin. “He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa 53:12). He “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet 2:24). “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb 9:28).
The Law of Christ is one of bearing another’s burden. It is taking upon you additional weight that will result in greater struggle and pain and suffering – in an effort to care for others. Jesus bore our sin and as a result He was forever marred. He was smitten of God and afflicted. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. He gave His life as a ransom for many. He was bruised, crushed and pierced through so we could be healed from the penalty and power of sin. He did this so we could be with God forever. He suffered – for us.
BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS
Burdens are heavy and we must carry other’s burdens because we are united with them. This is primarily seen in us partaking “of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Pet 4:13). That is, being persecuted by forces in the heavens and in earth as a result of our union with Him. But it also involves us suffering for one another by bearing the burdens of other believers as a result of our fellowship with them. We are filling up “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church” (Col 1:24).
Jesus once said, concerning the kingdom of God, “Because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities” (Lk 19:17). Bearing the burdens of others makes us stronger as a fellow laborer in the church. It makes us prepared for greater works. It is how we lead and care for others. We do not lord it over we serve others. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:25-28)
Bearing burdens prepares us for bearing the weight of greater work, in a time when we will have greater power. This is how the kingdom of Christ works. This is the Law of Christ. Bear one another’s burdens.
– Pat Woods