Friday, April 12th
Learn: to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience
Matthew 11:28-30 (NRSV)
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.
(Yoke photo credit: https://lifehopeandtruth.com)
Jesus invites us all to find rest in him, but he also tells us that we will learn from him by taking his yoke upon ourselves. Looking at the yoke pictured here, I cannot imagine how wearing such a contraption would make learning easy or resting possible! What is Jesus really telling us?
I came across a commentary about these verses that I found helpful and beautiful:
Farmers used to train young oxen to plow by partnering them with stronger and more mature oxen. The job of the younger ox was simply to follow in the same direction and keep pace with the teacher ox. The older ox pulled most of the weight and understood the commands of the plow driver…
The heavy-laden people Jesus spoke to did not know grace. Instead, they were yoked to a complex system of Jewish regulations referred to as “the law.” Obeying the law as perfectly as they could was how they stayed in right relationship with God and made sure that the work they were doing for Him was acceptable…
The people in Jesus’ day were using the yoke of the law to pull their life and everything in it along. It left them “tired, worn out, and burned out on religion.” The yoke of grace Jesus offered was contrary to the yoke of the law. It was a move from depending on one’s own efforts and ability to depending on God’s grace and power.¹
By yoking ourselves with Jesus each day, we have someone to share the workload and relieve the burdens that we carry. We also have someone to guide us and help us obey the Driver. If Jesus pulls us one way, the yoke takes us that way, too. If Jesus nudges us another way, we go right along with him. Jesus has given us this yoke through his Spirit. We no longer need to be burdened by our own efforts to obey every letter of the law. We can trust and depend on Jesus alone.
You may have heard that there are a variety of preferred learning styles. Some people learn best by visual images, some do better with words, others prefer using their physical senses, and so on. As followers of Christ, we could say that we learn best by what we choose to wear each day. We learn by putting on his yoke and heading out the door- together!
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Cross photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash