In verse 28 of Matthew 11, Jesus implores the weary, the burdened, the disillusioned to come to Him. The reward? Rest. How very ... restful.
But now, here He is, telling us to take on a yoke. Really, Lord? Another weight on my shoulders? It doesn't seem fair or right or logical.
And then He says we should do it because He will teach us ... and because He's humble in heart.
At first glance it seems that the over-burdened will be further weighed down by the addition of even more pressure. But because we know the Savior we have to ask more questions: what can this possibly mean?
The word translated yoke is the Greek word yugos. Yugos may also be defined as "to join", "coupling", "servitude (law or obligation)".
Ah! Now's it's coming clearer. Jesus wants us to be in servitude to Him. He wants us to be obligated to Him under his law. But even though we are His servants, taking on his yoke also means a union with Him.
I found the definition of the word yoke very interesting. The yoke that is fitted over the shoulder allows the weight to be divided into two equal parts.
If we are taking Jesus' yoke upon us, it means that our burdens will be evenly distributed. We will no longer be over-burdened.
A yoke is also used to represent a union or a tie such as marriage. When we put on Jesus' yoke, we enter into a union with Him. In this union, each of us has our roles and responsibilities.
We have a part to play. Jesus has one too.
We need a Savior. When we recognize our state of weariness and the weight that we take on our shoulders, we realize that we need to be balanced. We get that balance through Christ. Only He has the power to relieve our burdens.
We can trust Him because we know His character. He is humble. He gave up great riches for our greater good. He is gentle - a lover of all humanity.
Isn't it wonderful that we have this awesome opportunity to partner with Jesus? And what will He give us? Rest.
In today's lightning-paced society those four letters are an ocean paradise. Thank God that we serve a master who's able to provide peace in the midst of turmoil.