“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.”
Matthew 11:28-30, ESV
To be honest, this passage has yet to be fully processed by me. Sometimes I understand, but then I forget. Because of this, this post is preaching to me, and if you decide to bail on reading this that’s ok. I write because I truly believe that these things are possible. I don’t always put this passage in action. I ask for your forgiveness.
Jesus issues an invitation to His listeners that’s earth-shaking. He sets Himself is far above the rule of the Pharisees; these declarations can’t be explained away. Jesus puts Himself as the only one that brings true peace. That’s pretty arrogant, especially if it’s wrong.
But it’s really a false statement. Jesus bursts though this confusion, and life eternal is what He carries to each believer.
The Pharaeses have long ago decided the Law was the the Mosaic yoke that kept the people in line. Jesus taught otherwise.
“Come to Me.”
I suppose the operative word here is “Me.” Jesus Christ is the exclusive giver of peace and strength. He must be acknowledged as the believer’s complete focus–He is a man, not a religious set of rules and regulations. When we decide to follow Jesus it puts us at odds with legalism.
“All who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.“
Interesting, the Greek word for labor means “exhausted or toiling.” The word for heavy laden has the idea of someone who is fully loaded, carrying a pile, it also has the implication of having spiritual anxiety.
All means everyone–not a select few, nor those who think that they’re doing all right on their own. “Labor and heavy laden”. Both words describe those who carry burdens, and who have backs that are bending because of a difficult load. I believe that they’re those who struggle with defeat and failure.
The rest He gives is profound. And notice the word “give.” His desire is to free us, and that dear one is a gift, it’s not earned or achieved. The word “rest” means to refresh or to make calm.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,“
We lay down our cares, concern, and all spiritual anxiety and to receive another kind of weight–His yoke. Jesus also calls us to another burden. We are called to “learn” from Him.
In training oxen, a wise farmer has the new, weaker one to be yoked with the one who is older. They are to be trained properly pull the plow. The older one teaches the younger.
Two things I ask that you consider:
- We are learners. A student discovers that his teacher’s lessons can be challenging. I remember trying to grasp Geometry. I went around and around trying to understand. The teacher was patient, and she made an effort to communicate. In the same way the Holy Spirit works to share heavenly truths to me. One of His titles is “Teacher.”
- The Lord deeply desires to release me from my “spiritual anxiety.” Perhaps I offend Him everytime I pick my sinful burden up. I do this fairly often. But He promises us we’ll have we’ll have a spiritual victory if we choose to follow Him.
“For I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
“Gentle.” and “Lowly in heart.” This is how He explains Himself to us, which is pretty much opposite of what we think Jesus is. Somehow when we forget the yoke, sin and Satan muddles our thinking, and we often walk out our spiritual anxiety. This is incredibly exhausting, and our fear grows and we try hide it.
I suppose to be yoke-less opens us up to everything religious effort has to offer.
The Greek for “rest” is defined as an intermission or cessation of any activity, rest or recreation. It’s good word rhat when we become quiet; outward and inward. That seems to be opposite of what we think we must do. Often we ratchet up our activity to somehow show the Father that we deserve His love.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
What Jesus offers us is His own yoke of unconditional love. He replaces out heavy burden with His gentle weight. The yoke of Jesus replaces the burden of legalism. What He gives is of no comparison to what we think we might understand.
The yoke of Jesus is fairly easy. It’s meaning in the original is wonderful. It means something that’s mild or pleasant. Jesus’ gift of a yoke replaces our spiritual anxiety. We don’t walk in the constant fear of our failure to measure up.
“Easy” and “light” is the very nature of His yoke of discipleship.
Following Him shouldn’t be grueling or hard, and yet we stilldon’t grasp this .What Jesus offers is our chance to become real. He wants us to share His yoke, but it’s not hard. Yes, we must forsake everything to be one of His followers, but Jesus offers us far more than we ever dreamed.