The Easy Yoke - A Devotional
"Come to Me, all you 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.” Matt. 11:28-30
What Is the Burden?
When Jesus made this comforting statement, the burden He was speaking of was religious legalism caused by the Pharisees of the day. The law of Moses had 613 laws. Added oral traditions and extensions to these laws were created by these legalistic religious leaders.
The problem with the Pharisees and other religious leaders was their hubris. I am sure there were individuals like Nicodemus who were not that way, but in general, these religious legalistic Jews acted superior to the common masses.
Jesus had their number. He called them "Hypocrites," "a brood of vipers," "white washed tombs," and "blind guides."
These men failed to see that the law was impossible to keep because human beings are sinful. The law was God's way of showing us how much we need a Savior. Sending His Son to die for our sins was the most supreme act of love there could ever be.
How many of us, before we turned to Christ, believed good works and perfection were necessary before God would accept us? What needless striving! Jesus does not expect people to be perfect before coming to Him. He died in our place and declared us righteous when we surrendered our lives to Him. He wants man to come to Him as is, sinful, flawed, and imperfect, hungry for the love and acceptance of the Savior. It is then that He can begin the work of transforming us from the inside out. Each day as we grow, we become more like Him.
To the Burdened, Burned-Out Servant
Jesus tells us in these verses to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him. A yoke is a device worn by oxen that couples them to work together. It keeps the lead ox from bearing the entire burden. Christ is asking people to come to Him, and accept yoke. As we take up His yoke we‘re not bearing the entire burden ourselves. He is there to bear the burden with us. In verse 30 He says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Although the opening verse could be meant for the religious and unrepentant, I believe that His words also apply to the burdened, burned-out servant of God as much. Hudson Taylor writes:
"To every toiling, heavy-laden sinner, Jesus says, 'Come to me and rest'.
But there are many toiling, heavy-laden believers, too. For them this same invitation is meant. Note well the words of Jesus, if you are heavy-laden with your service, and do not mistake it. It is not, 'Go, labor on,' as perhaps you imagine. On the contrary, it is stop, turn back, 'Come to me and rest.' Never, never did Christ send a heavy laden one to work; never, never did He send a hungry one, a weary one, a sick or sorrowing one, away on any service. For such the Bible only says, 'Come, come, come.'"
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24
Grace Through Faith Equals Rest
Paul told the Galatian's who had turned back to the law, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Gal. 5:1. Did you catch the kind of yoke he mentioned? Bondage! That's what Jesus meant by burdened. Notice Paul tells them “Christ has made us free...” He also uses the word "liberty.'" He's saying the same thing Jesus was saying only using different words. Jesus' yoke is easy, giving freedom from the burden and bondage of do-it-yourself salvation, which doesn't work.
It all boils down to grace and faith. Working for God's favor is law - burden and bondage - not grace. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2:8
If you are someone seeking God's favor and acceptance, accept the gift of God's grace by placing your faith and your soul in Jesus. If you are a weary, burdened, servant of the Lord, take up His yoke and find rest.
© 2014 Lori Colbo