Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30.
In the midst of rebuking the places that had turned from God in spite of Jesus’s miracles there, Jesus calls to those who are weary and carry burdens. He promises rest. He reminds them that he is humble and gentle at heart. In his rebuke he was showing love by calling these people to repent. To the ones who are ready for rest he beckons and tells them how to get rest. He tells them to take his yoke upon themselves.
Jesus tells people who are already tired and carrying heavy burdens to carry one more thing. A yoke is heavy wooden object that is placed on and oxen to make it work.
Umm, Jesus, how does that make me feel better?
The yoke represents how I tie myself to Christ and his will for my life. I allow him to lead. It will require work and may feel burdensome at times, especially during times of persecution, but it is much easier than bearing all of the baggage that the world offers. I carry Jesus’s yoke and he takes away the baggage that I was carrying. It’s a win for me because my baggage is heavy and Jesus is also helping me pull the weight placed on me from the yoke. That’s how he can say that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
Right now I feel tired and heavy burdened. I’m finishing a challenging summer at camp and the guy I was dating ended the relationship suddenly. I just want to know why it all came on the same day and how in the world I’m supposed to move on. I feel angry that I didn’t see it coming. I’ve wanted to say some cruel things. Then I remember the yoke that ties me to Christ. The yoke that requires me to look to Jesus for strength. The yoke that forces me to keep doing God’s will. The yoke that keeps me from saying cruel things. It’s hard to bite my tongue but I know that doing so brings more glory to God than not. I look to Christ for rest and strength for my confused and broken heart, because I know that by yoking myself to him he will keep his promise of rest.