2007-09-12 - The Yoke
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
As I said last week, it was tempting to talk about the yoke in this passage. The first thing most people's mind runs to with this passage is a yoke like the one which oxen carry but Jesus' audience understood it to mean much more. A rabbi's set of teachings was his yoke.
The Jewish yoke was do this, don't' do that, sacrifice when you don't do what you should have or do the things you shouldn't have done. This yoke of laws consisted of the Mosaic Law contained in the Torah as well as years and years of additions piled upon it by the Jewish leaders. Jesus referred to all of this as "heavy burdens" that were "grievous to be borne". (Matthew 23:4)
Jesus offered a yoke of his own instead. He explained his yoke to Nicodemus saying, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:15) The yoke of the Pharisees, Sadducees and other Jewish leaders was a heavy burden of work. Christ offered grace and mercy in exchange for belief.
Everyone has a yoke on us. We all have a load to carry. Which yoke do you want - the yoke of the Law or the yoke of Faith?
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted