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.Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
In the previous chapter, Jesus called on us to take up our cross, die to ourselves, and follow him. In this passage, Jesus calls on us to take up his yoke and find rest. A yoke is a wooden beam used to allow a pair of oxen, or other animals, to pull together on a load, although sometimes it is used with a single animal. The yoke allows the herder to harness the strength of the animals to accomplish the needed task.
While Jesus only mentions his yoke here, there are actually two yokes in view. Jesus is calling to those who are yoked to another master, and whose burden is heavy. He calls them to take up Jesus’ yoke and serve him instead. His yoke is well-fitted, and the load that we will be pulling is well within our capabilities.
Do you find yourself struggling to get ahead in this world, or even to keep your head above the water? Is life a struggle with no end in sight? Jesus is calling us to throw off the yoke of this world by taking up our cross, dying to self, and the old master. And then we are free to take up the yoke that Jesus holds out to us. While the challenges we face in this world will likely continue, Jesus promises that we will find rest for our souls.