October 8, 2021
Scripture: “Come to me, all 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
Observation: Jesus’ comforting invitation follows his denunciation of three unrepentant cities who rejected his Gospel (11:20-24) and precedes two confrontations with the Pharisees over their legalistic interpretation of obedience to the Sabbath (12:1-14). Christ uses a familiar metaphor of “yoke,” which the religious leaders traditionally applied to God’s law and kingdom. Israel would find rest in their Promise Land if they yoked to his commands. Unfortunately, over the centuries, Israel’s teachers weighed down the Torah with human-contrived requirements that went well beyond its original intent.
Takeaway: Many apply this passage to those suffering from emotional and physical exhaustion from the onslaught of a fallen world. However, given its context as cited above, the burden comes from within us: sin. We are invited to lighten our load by repenting and receiving forgiveness. For Christ has borne the weight of our sins in his body. Thus, when we yoke with him, we lighten our load and find rest and renewed strength for our weary souls as we approach our eternal Promise Land.
Prayer: Father God, please help us to yoke with your Son through confession and repentance, confident that he has borne the weight of our sins and will bring rest for our weary souls. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling