Thursday, January 3, 2019
Jesus Wants to Bear My Burden with Me
In review of Matthew 11:28-30 it says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, 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” (RSV).
Today’s passage comes from Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus promises rest for my soul. He tells me that if I am tired from carrying heavy burdens and loads, I can come to him and he will give me rest. Take the yoke he gives, put it on my shoulders and then learn from him. For he is gentle and humble, and in him I will find rest. For his yoke is easy to bear, and it makes the burden much lighter.
A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of an ox or oxen. It is then attached to a piece of equipment the oxen are to pull. A person can be carrying heavy burdens of sin, excessive demands, oppression/persecution, or weariness in the search for God. Jesus frees people from all these burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose.
The yoke emphasizes the challenges, work, and difficulties of partnering with Christ in life. Responsibilities weigh us down, even the effort of staying true to God. But Jesus' yoke remains easy compared to the crushing alternative. Jesus doesn't offer a life of luxurious ease, the yoke is still an oxen's tool for working hard. But it's a shared yoke, with weight falling on bigger shoulders than mine. Someone with more pulling power is up front helping. Suddenly I am participating in life's responsibilities with a great Partner, and now any frown can turn into a smile, and that gripe into a song.
If you don’t really understand what a yoke is, it’s hard to understand what this passage means. When Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you,” it sounds a lot like he was going to give me something else to deal with. My burden is heavy enough already, Lord! I don’t need to take on an additional load! Knowing what a yoke is, a board with two arches in it that you put over two cattle so they can pull a cart and that is halves the load. Without a yoke, one animal’s got to pull that entire load by itself. But if you yoke up one animal with another, then the two animals pull the load together, and the load is half as heavy.
So when Jesus says to take his yoke, he’s not saying he’s going to give me an additional load, rather He’s saying he’s going to share my problems. He’s going to share my load. He’s going to take my stress on himself and bear it with me.
He uses three notable verbs in this Scripture: come, learn, and take. Jesus says, “Come to me. Team up with me. Then, learn how I do it. Take on a lighter load. This is going to reduce my stress. This is going to make it easier for me to navigate.”
When yoked with Christ, I move together with him. I move in the same direction and at the same speed.
If your carrying heavy burdens and concern, come to Jesus and rest. Take the yoke he gives, and put it on and learn from him. For He is gentle and humble. His yoke is easy to bear, and his burden is light.
What this means for me:
If I examine my life and think about the heavy burdens and workload I experience, he tells me to take his yoke and put it on. He will partner with me and teach me his gentle and humble ways. With his help my burdens will be easier and the load will be much lighter.
In summary, I can get Jesus assistance with my heavy burdens and load. I can come to him and he will give me rest. I simply just need to take the yoke he gives me, put it on my shoulders and then learn from him. For he is gentle and humble. In him I will find rest, for his yoke is easy to bear and it will greatly make the burden much lighter. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose. I need to come and team up with him. Learn how to do it. And then take his yoke and lighten my load. I pray this morning for your continued guidance and wisdom in handling my tasks, leading others and serving others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!
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