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An Easy Yoke

May 27, 2003 10:34 AM EDT

Matthew 11:25-30 (NRSV)



At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.



"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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."




Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me . . . . For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."


- Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)




I was looking at a photograph of one of the earliest modes of travel. The picture showed a team of six oxen yoked together in pairs, pulling a canopied wagon. The wagon contained a family -- father, mother, and four children. Running alongside the wagon was a young boy with a long whip, urging the team of oxen to move along. The yoke was a wooden frame resting on the shoulder of each ox, with a bar and oxbow at each end so they could pull together as a team. This kind of yoke, when properly fitted, was a help to them.



Not all yokes, however, are an asset. The Pharisees of Jesus' day placed heavy burdens upon the people with their many laws. This figurative yoke that the Pharisees placed on believers was an intolerable burden, an iron yoke. In contrast, the yoke Jesus offered was "easy" to carry. Jesus offered to walk with us every step of the way and shoulder the burden with us.



The yoke that Christ offers sets us free from slavery to sin, helping us to live holy lives. Christ also helps us to carry whatever loads have been placed upon us in this life.



Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for loving us so much that you help to carry our burdens. Amen.



THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:


Our burdens are easier to bear when we walk with Christ.



PRAYER FOCUS:


Someone bearing a heavy burden

By Elaine Shaw Massey (Randburg, South Africa)