Matthew 11:28 (NAS): 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
I return to this passage routinely. My weariness leads me back. It’s the invitation that calls to me. I’m drawn to it. The invitation itself reveals so much about the Lord Jesus. In His wisdom and care, He knows exactly what we need, and He touches us exactly there. Rest for our souls.
The world is full of weary people. Yet Jesus’ invitation is extended to all. He bids all who are tired and who carry heavy burdens to come and find rest. My soul longs for rest, and so I come. I’ve come to find rest for my soul.
Matthew 11:29 (NAS): 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.
Taking His Yoke
In Jesus’ day there was much talk of joyfully taking the yoke of the Torah. By it, the scribes and the Pharisees tied up heavy burdens and laid them on the people. This yoke would come to be the people’s only means of adequacy, strength, and acceptable identity— their only means of esteem. But it would prove too heavy a burden.
Jesus senses their fatigue, our fatigue, and offers an alternative yoke. An offer to exchange their yoke for His yoke. The reason to take His yoke has everything to do with His nature. He is gentle and humble in heart. The word, here translated “humble,” has important meaning. It means to be lowly, undistinguished, common. For a proud people, humility is only possible when you have reason to be proud but choose not to be. We can only act humble.
But with Jesus, it’s no act. He emptied Himself of any reason to be proud and became lowly and was thus humble in the truest since—humble in heart. We have an unsupported belief that Jesus maintained the highest standards and required it of others. Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s the other yoke. Jesus routinely found himself among the lowly. The tax collectors and sinners. They found comfort with Him. They were drawn to Him. They scrambled up sycamore trees just to get a glimpse. He didn’t require a higher righteousness to be in His presence. In fact, He would share His righteousness with them. They found His yoke easy.
Matthew 11:30 (NAS): 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
His Yoke is Easy
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No not one. There is an incomprehensible joy and rest in knowing that Jesus is the great judge of all the earth, and yet, in Him there is no condemnation. There is only gentleness and a kinship in lowliness.
I have never known the great solace of being in the company of someone great, without feeling the weight of my own inadequacies. That is until Jesus. I can share my heaviest burdens, my deepest fears, my ugliest failings, and see no hint of shame reflected in His eyes. In His eyes, I find the rest my soul has been searching for, because His yoke is easy.
A Yoke Like His
I find it tragically ironic that the yoke of others is too often heavier than the yoke of the Savior.Tweet
Our sensibilities are more easily offended than His. As if in our own righteousness, we don’t know the lowly failings and sins of our brothers and sisters. It’s as if we don’t share them. And yet with the one who knew no sin, we can find sympathy. To take Jesus’ yoke is to admit that we too are lowly. That’s what we must learn from Him.
Jesus emptied Himself of His reason to be proud. He had reason and didn’t regard it as something to be clutched. We have never had it, and yet find every reason to clutch for it. This, beloved, ought not be. Those who have found rest in Christ must resist clutching for pride, strength, and esteem. We must make the exchange, take His yoke, so that our own yoke may become as easy as His.