by Tony Nester

My Yoke Is Easy
Tony Nester
Matthew 11:28-30

So, are you weary? Are you carrying a heavy burden? Do you need rest? Jesus
is inviting those who answer “Yes” to take on his yoke and become his yoke-mate.

It’s tempting for a preacher to take these words of Jesus and turn them into a
promise that says, “No matter what your problems, come to Jesus and he will make
you burden-free.”

There are those who present Jesus as the remover of every problem. They portray
the Christian life as though faith lifts you up and out of the realm of life’s
difficulties, sorrows, and disappointments. This, I believe, is a false
portrait of discipleship and a mistaken use of Jesus’ words.

Jesus makes it clear that the rest he offers us is not burden-free. He speaks
of the putting on his yoke, and yokes are for bearing burdens.

Yokes were common in Jesus’ day. Yokes were made for oxen so that the animals
could work together as a team and not be hurt by the burden they carried.

Yoke-making was a skilled craft. Good yokes were made of strong wood that
could be made smooth. Any area of roughness on the yoke would cause skin
irritation and muscle damage to the oxen as they pulled their load. Yokes also
had to be expertly sized of the team for which they were made. If the yoke put
the two animals too close together they would jostle and hurt each other. If
the yoke put them too far apart they would not be able to share the load as
easily as they might if the yoke had had a better fit.

Jesus is telling us that he is an expert yoke-maker.

{29} 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. {30} For my yoke is easy, and my
burden is light.""

Imagine yourself, then, yoked to Jesus. Your burdens are not removed, but Jesus
is your yoke-mate, and he is pulling with you. He has fit you with a yoke that
is perfectly made for you and him to work ...

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