Recently I have been meditating and studying on Jesus’ words found in Matt. 11:28-29. Jesus invites us to: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Our next few posts will deal with what God is teaching us through these verses. First, we want to say that Jesus is giving us a great invitation. “Come unto Me” is an invitation giving to those who are laboring and heavy laden. That is those who are trying to minister or work and finding it difficult, and wearisome. All of us have been here at one time or other. We feel the responsibility and duty of the tasks lying before us and we strain to complete our assignments with no joy and no rest.
The yoke was a device placed upon the neck of an ox to facilitate pulling a plow or cart. It was always placed on two oxen. It represents a burden. At first glance one would wonder how in the world can one get rest when there is a heavy yoke around your neck. Before we jump off the deep end, let’s take into account what Jesus is saying.
First, He is inviting you who are tired and weary, beat down by life to come to Him. He is the Lord of rest, seeing that He created a day of rest for Himself and for us. And even though He was very busy Jesus often took time for reflection and rest during His earthly ministry. Jesus is saying He wants to help us bear our burden. He is saying He doesn’t want us to bear the burden alone but He wants to add His strength to ours to enable us to labor without being depleted by it. He is present with us when we are loaded down and wants to help us pull the load.
Often the landowner would put a young inexperienced ox with an older more experience one. The older ox would know how to respond to the commands given, know how to pull the plow or cart and would help the younger animal respond correctly. When the younger animal would try to pull away or go in the wrong direction, the older animal would hold it in place and gently guide it into the right path.
When we get into the yoke with Christ, and learn how to be responsive to the Father’s commands, we can rest, knowing that Jesus knows the way.