Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the gospel?
The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, the yoke of God. Jesus says his yoke is "easy". The Greek word for "easy" can also mean "well-fitting".
Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well.
Oxen were yoked two by two. Jesus invites us to be yoked with him, to unite our life with his life, our will with his will, and our heart with his heart.
To be yoked with Jesus is to be united with him in a relationship of love, trust, and obedience.
Jesus also says his "burden is light". There's a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. "That's a heavy load you are carrying there," exclaimed the man. "He ain't heavy; he's my brother!" responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it's given in love and carried in love.
When we yoke our lives with Jesus, he also carries our burdens with us and gives us his strength to follow in his way of love.
Do you know the joy of resting in Jesus' presence and walking daily with him along the path he has for you?
Jesus offers us a new kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. In his kingdom sins are not only forgiven but removed, and eternal life is poured out for all its citizens. This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one.
The yoke of Christ's kingdom, his kingly rule and way of life, liberates us from the burden of guilt and from the oppression of sinful habits and hurtful desires.
Only Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us.
Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a weight of glory and victory with him. The yoke which Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of love, grace, and freedom from the power of sin.
Do you trust in God's love and submit to his will and plan for your life?