Matthew 11:29-30 – 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (NRSV)
Why would Jesus want us to take His yoke upon us? Is not a yoke intended to enable animals to pull a burden? It sounds like He really wants to make our lives harder.
In an antique shop, I viewed a double yoke. It had been used many years before, when farmers ploughed their fields with mules or horses. This double yoke was used to hitch two animals together, doubling the pulling power on the plough the animals were pulling. I was reminded of today's Scripture.
As Christians we should imagine that the yoke that Christ gives us is a double yoke. He is there beside us helping us to pull the load, not walking behind as a cruel taskmaster with a whip and driving us to pull the load.
The yoke that Jesus offers is not an additional burden. He asks His disciples to learn from His gentle, humble heart, promising that we will find rest. Jesus' yoke offers us a new attitude toward life. Rather than putting on us a yoke of burden, as the yoke did for the animals, His is a yoke which frees people from slavery and spiritual confusion, and gives us a desire to learn and serve.
His yoke is easy because He teaches us how to wear the yoke, and then walks beside us, helping us as we pull the load.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You that Your yoke is easy, that You teach us how to wear it, and that if we are gentle and humble as we wear Your yoke, You will help us find rest for our souls. In Your name, we pray. Amen.