The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me"

Scripture:  Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Meditation:  What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the gospel?  The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God.  They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, the yoke of God.  Jesus  says his yoke is "easy".  The Greek word for "easy" can also mean "well-fitting".  Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well.  We are commanded to put on the "sweet yoke of Jesus" and to live the "heavenly way of life and happiness". Jesus also says his "burden is light". There's a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back.  "That's a heavy load you are carrying there," exclaimed the man.  "He ain't heavy; he's my brother!" responded the boy.  No burden is too heavy when it's given in love and carried in love.  Jesus offers us a new kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.  In his kingdom sins are not only forgiven but removed, and eternal life is poured out for all its citizens. This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one. The yoke of Christ's kingdom, his kingly rule and way of life, liberates us from the burden of guilt and from the oppression of sin and hurtful desires. Only Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us. Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a burden of glory and yoke of freedom from sin.  The yoke which Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of grace and freedom from the power of sin.  Do you trust in God's love and submit to his will and plan for your life?

"Lord, inflame my heart with love for you and for your ways and help me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the yoke of submission to your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my own sinful ignorance and rebellious pride that I may I wholly desire what is good and in accord with your will."

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(c) 2002 Don Schwager