A Yoke? What's That All About?

Jesus looked into the disheartened crowd and gave this invitation, “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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” Mt 11:28-30.

This well-loved but rarely understood passage contains an antiquated yoke that baffles the modern city-dweller. “Come to Me” is simple enough, but what’s with the yoke?

Look at the picture and take note:
•A yoke is a wooden frame by which two animals, such as oxen, are coupled at the neck for the purpose of pulling a heavy load.
•Two animals work side by side in order to carry a load that one can’t do alone. If the load is not heavy, a yoke is not needed.
•A yoke makes independence impossible. You can’t go your own way.
•Typically a young, untrained ox is yoked with an older, trained ox. The younger learns from the older.
•If a trained ox can pull 5,000 pounds and an untrained ox can pull 2,000 pounds, together they can pull 10,000 pounds—much more than the sum of the two.
•Over time, the untrained ox becomes trained and the two begin to walk in-step with each other. Then they can pull 15,000 pounds.

Jesus gives us a word picture where He represents the trained ox, who leads the other ox, and does the heavy lifting—with no weight limitation.

Burnout doesn’t come from working too hard for God. It comes from working ALONE for God. Working side-by-side with Jesus gives us rest IN our work, not rest FROM our work.

We want to be yoked with Jesus because the load IS too heavy to carry alone. We don’t need to trivialize the burdens of this world. They are real and ever-present. If the load isn’t heavy, a yoke isn’t needed.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The yoke of Jesus is easy and his burden is light precisely because that yoke connects us to the One who has overcome the world.

Jesus is strong enough to carry the load.
He is gentle enough to know when to stop and rest.
He is wise enough to lead us where we need to go.

Any thoughts to add?

3 comments to A Yoke? What’s That All About?

  • Paulette

    Thank you for the reminder. I love how JESUS teaches us. When we are worn and stressed out.we are trying to carry too much.Thank you again.

  • Richie

    I always thought rest was something done apart from work. How exciting to think I can have rest WHILE working as long as I am in lock step with Jesus. Where’s that yoke?

  • Tony Pintcke

    You close this thought (information I call it) with “Any thoughts to add?” I respond as I can only respond… what could one possibly add to that.? So well thought out and obvious. How could I have missed that all these times reading it. I guess that’s why I am just a student, and through Jesus, you are my/our professor.
    Again, thank you!!