Mutiny On The Bounty

By Pastor Troy D. Cane



In early April 1789 Captain Bligh left Tahiti in the Pacific and sailed to England with his crew. However on the 28th April he woke on the HMS Bounty to face a mutiny.

As the events unfolded, the ship’s officers were set adrift in a boat, while the rest of the crew under Fletcher Christian, sailed back to Tahiti. Upon their return some of the men persuaded the native women to come with them and a group set off for one of the islands, eventually coming to the island of Pitcairn.

WilliamBlighThey took all they could from the ‘Bounty’, set her on fire and sank her. Then on their island paradise they let loose all their passions. For about ten years they gave themselves to drinking and their island women. Though they thought they were pursuing joy, what actually unfolded for them were ten years of misery. Men spent weeks drunk; they fought and killed each other. They became like animals in their behaviour. Tragically one man went insane and jumped over a cliff.

What was supposed to be some sort of ‘dream freedom’ in paradise became a horrible nightmare and burden.

Eventually there were only two men left, Edward Young and Alexander Smith. One day Young found the old ship’s, Bible which he could read. Smith however could not read, so Young began to teach him to read from the Bible. As they read, they learned that God was holy, and that they were sinners; that they had fallen short of God’s perfect standard of holiness.

Young suffered with asthma, which eventually took his life, but the surviving Smith, who could now read, read on. He no doubt read the words of Jesus Christ, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light,“ (Matthew 11:28-30).

Here he found words that described him – words that describe all of us as sinners, ‘those who labour and are burdened down’. Those mutineers discovered this on Pitcairn Island. They had given so much energy to pursue their self-indulgence on their island paradise, but they ended up discovering that it was hard labour. Their souls had become weary due to their sin. A life that was supposed to bring lasting pleasure actually brought inner-weariness.

Are you someone who has become aware of this in your own life? Maybe you have begun to realise that there is something dreadfully wrong in your life and you have begun to search for the answer! Perhaps the more you seek, the heavier the burden becomes.

The years of drinking, violence and sexual sin became like a heavy burden on the back of Alexander Smith. As he read the Bible, he recognised that he was guilty before God; he knew that he had broken God’s law and offended Him.

Though you may not have committed mutiny or engaged in years of drinking and riotous living like the men from the Bounty, you know you are guilty before God, that you, too, have broken God’s laws countless times and deserve His condemnation. For instance, how many times have you lied? Yet God says, “You shall not bear false witness,” (Exodus 20:16). This is only one of God’s laws – how many others have you broken? Just like the mutineers, you are under the heavy burden of sin! But Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who labour and are heavy burdened.

Jesus’ words, “Come to Me,” are wonderful words. For all who come to Jesus, He promises, “I will give you rest.” There will be peace between you and God; you will know peace within or soul refreshment. These wonderful words invite every sin-laden, soul-weary person to come to Jesus for salvation!

Listen to what Alexander Smith said when he came to Jesus for salvation: “I had been working like a mole for years and suddenly it was as if the doors flew wide open and I saw the light, and I met God and the burden of my sin rolled away and I found new life.

The invitation of Jesus was not just for a man out in the Pacific; it is for you! If you would turn from your sin and come to Jesus Christ, you too will find rest for your soul.

Jesus went on to say, “Take My yoke upon you”. The yoke was a device that was placed over an ox in order to pull a plough or a cart. The yoked ox could no longer live its own life; it had a new master to serve. So it is with any who come to Jesus for salvation; they cease living life their way and start living under the authority of Jesus. But what is the yoke of Jesus like?

Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” This yoke is easy and pleasant in comparison to the burden you are currently under. Pursue a life of sin, like the men on Pitcairn Island and life will be hard! Submit to Christ and take His yoke and it will be pleasant.

But you also need to understand Jesus, the Master. He is not some cruel tyrant, like Captain Bligh. Jesus is gentle, not arrogant. The Bible describes all those who have not yet come to Jesus for salvation as servants of Satan, an arrogant and cruel tyrant who leads his subjects into hard service. Satan is a cruel ruler, far worse than Captain Bligh! But the gentle and humble Jesus invites you to come to Him and submit to His Lordship!

Yes, His yoke is real; His Lordship is real, but in comparison to the life of sin it is easy and pleasant. When Alexander Smith came to Christ for salvation, he joyfully took the yoke of Christ. He went from serving a hard taskmaster to serving the gentle Jesus and by the grace of God everything on Pitcairn Island changed. As more people came to Jesus for salvation, the island that had been under the great burden of sin became a delightful place.

palm_treeEighteen years after the original mutiny a ship from Boston came across the island. Captain Mayhew Folger came ashore and there he found a love and peace which he had never seen before. Upon his return to Boston he said, ‘in all his travels around the world he had never met a people who were so good and gracious in their lives.

Alexander Smith proved the words of Jesus to be true – He found rest for his soul and that the yoke of Christ was easy and light!

The personal invitation that Jesus gave to Alexander Smith on Pitcairn Island, Jesus offers you. By coming to Christ, you too can find rest for your sin-burdened soul. By taking the yoke of Christ and submitting to Him and serving Him, you will find it light and pleasant. You will discover that Jesus Christ is the best Master that any person could have on the face of the earth.

What is stopping you from accepting Jesus’ personal invitation for you to come to Him now? Pray to Him, He stands ready to save you; ready to give you rest of soul. Why not ask Him to save you today? He stands ready to forgive all your sins; grant you peace with God and peace to your troubled conscience. He stands ready to be your gentle Master for the rest of your days.

The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death,” (Proverbs 14:12).

Those mutineers from the Bounty thought they were choosing the way to pleasure and life, but it ended up being the way of misery and death. Alexander Smith chose life, because He chose Jesus Christ. Why choose death? Turn from your sin and come to Jesus Christ for salvation and everlasting life, then you will experience the bounty of Christ.