Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. For My Yoke is easy and my burden is light.
A yoke might be considered a strange illustration for us in our 21st century mind set. Though some of us may remember using wooden yokes. A few years ago, a friend who grew up in Northwestern Ontario, told me of her experience with yokes when she was a child. She would go down to the lake to get drinking water and carry two pails up to their house using a wooden yoke. My grandchildren would have no idea what she was talking about.
However, even though it isn’t a familiar object that we use today, the passage from the 11thchapter of Matthew is still pretty familiar. But maybe it is the second part of the verse that is more important than the yoke itself. It is the need to share our burdens with someone. To somehow relieve the weight pressing upon us; to unload the burdens that we carry.
Jesus says: Come to me those who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus used the yoke as a metaphor for the heavy burdens imposed upon the people by the religious leaders (such as the Pharisees) of his day. Living up to the Law was such an overbearing burden and Jesus gave comfort to His listeners, that Jesus yoke is not to be a burden but one that will bring rest and peace.
I am not an expert on yokes! However, as I understand it, if one was to buy a yoke that was factory made, a one size fits all kind of deal, it would never be as good as the one that a carpenter made special for the use in question.
I remember having a yoke stored away in our basement. As a young boy I would try and place it upon my shoulders. But it felt really uncomfortable. It was not made for me and it would dig into my shoulders. However, if the yoke was to be made to size, the carpenter would smooth out all the edges fitting it to the person and it would be much more comfortable to wear. Jesus being a carpenter would know what it meant to have a good fit, or a bad fit, a smooth yoke or a rough one. Unlike the yokes which would be a one size fits all. Isn’t it great that Jesus personalizes his yoke and makes one to fit just right for each one of us. Following Jesus isn’t to be a burden by following laws and regulations, but a personalized relationship with Jesus. Instead of condemnation for our sins and trespasses, Jesus speaks of Grace and Forgiveness.
Jesus says the same to us with the struggles we encounter in our lives. Come to me those who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
What a marvellous promise. I will help you overcome your worries, your cares, your fruitless efforts. I will redirect your life. You will be satisfied and at peace. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have worries or cares but that Jesus will be with us helping us get through those times of trial. Standing on HIS Promise: I will never leave you or forsake you but will be with you always!
What a wonderful invitation: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden.
I have watched a friend go through some challenging trials this past year or so and he has often said: “I don’t know what I would do, if I didn’t have Jesus!” The trial doesn’t necessarily go away. However, Jesus has made it possible for him to face the day. To get up each morning and know that in the midst of the darkness, there is hope! There is light at the end of the tunnel!
What burden do you have on your mind today? Maybe it has to do with your work? Maybe it is a sickness? Maybe it is the stress and worry over this pandemic; stress over finances; a broken relationship? Maybe it is a sin that you have committed in thought, word or deed. Those things which were done, or may be left undone.
Is there a burden that you are carrying around with you today that is weighing you down? Are you thinking: if only I could get some relief, if I could only unload it on someone!!! Jesus says today: “Come! Come to me and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”