A Better Yoke
Jesus help me to set aside the cares and concerns that are always clamoring for attention. Help me, please, to focus on You and the truth that You so willingly share with us. Thank You! Amen
Read: Matthew 11:29, NIV
“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.”
This passage is preceded by Jesus thanking His Farther for hiding ultimate truth from the wise and learned and instead revealing these things to little children. He then precedes to say that these truths are about the true nature of the Father and the Son. As it turns out, these wise and learned people never did catch on. Jesus then says He can choose to whom He will make this revelation.
Our passage is the revelation. Jesus offers an easier life. This is an easier yoke to use in carrying life’s burdens. The yoke in this metaphor is a one-person yoke that is used by placing it across the back of your neck and resting it on your shoulders. You can then carry a weight evenly distributed on both shoulders. The term yoke was a metaphor for these Jews that referenced the teachings of a Rabbi. Jesus was replacing the rules and regulations of the current Jewish leaders with a new teaching that emphasized love and mercy without sacrificing true righteousness. This whole passage, starting with Jesus’ noting that the Father and Son were hidden from the wise, has a strong connection to the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is calling Himself humble and meek.
The core of any successful strategy for dealing with the hardship of life is true and abiding humility. If you are humble you will be less likely to claim your rights and expect compensation. It is God and His Son Jesus that have every right to all of you. You are God’s bondservant. Just before yesterday’s passage, in Colossians 4:1, Paul wrote, “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you also have a Master in heaven.” We can rest assured that whatever comes our way, comes with God’s permission and with a provision for dealing with it. We are His and can rest in His presence regardless of what happens.
We need to stay in fellowship with God and with our fellow Christians. We are not strong enough to do life on our own. Compassion for other people should compel us to reach out to any believer or unbeliever that we see struggling with life and offer them the solution to their misery. You notice I did not say solution to their problem. There are endless solutions to endless problems. Some solutions will work, others will not. I am convinced that some problems have no solution. For instance, if someone is dying from an incurable disease, it may well be that they are going to die. What we can offer that person is the salvation message. For unbelievers this should include the story of the thief on the cross. If someone cannot escape their grief after losing a loved one, we can offer them the hope of enjoying eternity with God and that loved one. If someone is impoverished by poor choices or bad luck, we can offer them material help within our means to do so. But we can also point out that a life of poverty lived for the Lord will be rich in spiritual blessings and that in fact it is easier for a poor man to enter heaven than for a rich man - simply because the poor may be more aware of their need for God. When it is our turn to suffer, our brothers and sisters in Christ can offer us teachings of hope and encouragement. And in all things, we can pray for ourselves and one another.
Jesus, I want to take your yoke upon my shoulders because Your yoke is well made and designed perfectly for the human heart and You make my burdens light. Amen