Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking Closer at the Yoke


Come to Me, all you 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

In continuation from yesterday and our discussion of there being no middle ground between being yoke to Satan and being yoked to Christ, we come to a study of what the yoke of Christ is really all about.   Matthew 11:28-30 tells us how Jesus explained the purpose of this yoke He offers.   I hope my study of these verses will be as enlightening to you as they were to me and help you to sort out where your life sits in relation to these two yokes.

Verse 28 starts with the word “come”, meaning that Jesus’ proclamation was an invitation, an invitation to come to Him.  I want to point out that this invitation was specifically directed to a certain group of people.  The scripture states it is address to “all you who labor and are heavy laden.”  Now the Greek words here are not talking about people who were sweating from a hard day’s work out in the field, but rather they translate more directly to addressing people who have been continually fatigued and/or wearied by a load of spiritual anxiety.  To those people Jesus states, “I can give you the refreshment and fulfillment that up until this time you have been laboring for on your own.”

Therefore, verse 28 rephrased says:
“Accept My invitation and move towards my side all of you who are fatigued by trying to make your life more righteous, more peaceful, more loving, more disciplined, more joyous, and more faithful, on your own and under your own conditions.  Then, when you do move closer to Me, I will present you with the refreshment and fulfillment you have so long been searching for but up until this point have been unable to find.”

Verse 29 starts with a two-fold command “take” and “upon.”  Meaning not only are we to step out and grab the instrument by which Jesus is offering that will couple ourselves to Him, but also then to superimpose that coupling over every place, time and order that runs its course through our lives.  The reason Jesus states He has in this coupling relationship is that He desires for us to learn from Him.  To learn from His gentle, humble, lowly nature that He desires to direct our way.  It is there, in that place of obedient discipleship – perfect relationship, that the soul will find the refreshing rest it had been yearning and laboring to find on its own.

Therefore, verse 29 rephrased says:
“I urge you to move into a relationship with me where everything you do, every place you are and every plan you have is alongside Me.  Then through the lessons you will learn alongside Me you will discover my gentle and humble thoughts and feelings towards you.   As a result, you will receive an intermission from your weary searching to satisfy the needs of soul through your own efforts.”

Verse 30 finishes off by comparing the yoke Jesus offers with the yoke you wear apart from Him, the one which binds you to Satan.  In the original Greek “easy” actually translates “easier” and “light” translates “lighter.”  So we are left to ask, “Easier than what?  Lighter than what?”   Those questions take us back to the lesson we discussed yesterday, of course they are in reference to the yoke Satan offers and the one original sin through Adam destines all mankind to be attached to through our human birth.  But through rebirth in Jesus Christ we are given the option to remove the harder and heavier yoke and put on Jesus’ yoke, the easier and lighter option.

Therefore, verse 30 rephrased says:
“Compared to the relationship Satan has had you bound in since your birth, the relationship I have to offer you is much easier and lighter on your soul.”

There are really four places where you can find yourself today as you look at the truth revealed in these verses.  The first place you could possibly be is still yoked to Satan, a slave to sin with a weary soul that has yet to find a place to rest.  The second place you could possibly be is sitting on the fence where some days you chose to be yoked to Satan and other days you chose to be yoked to Jesus, playing the field to get the best digs but growing more and more weary from trying to dictate your own righteousness, joy, and peace.  The third place you could possibly be is yoked to Jesus but doing nothing more than just plodding along letting the yoke pull you here and there, enjoying the ride (somewhat) but no longer turning your head towards Jesus to learn the lessons the yoke was purposed to teach you and therefore not getting to know Jesus any better nor receive the rest that relationship was designed to bring your soul.  Finally, you could possibly be in a place where you have decided to take full advantage of the yoke and rest in Jesus and where He leads you, yearning more and more for the walk and seeking day in and day out to learn the lessons He has to teach you along the way – there you will find rest for your weary soul! 

Rest is a choice, it is a choice based on the yoke you decide to put over your life.

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