Yoke yourself to me


            “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” (Mathew 11: 28-30.)


             During this time, the average people were being made to engage in ritualistic behaviors they couldn’t possible complete.  For example, on the Sabbath day, you couldn’t carry anything because that would constitute work.  When Jesus had healed a man who had been crippled, the man was carrying his mat, and the religious leaders scolded him for this.  He said, ‘the man who healed me told me to pick up my mat and go.’  They wanted to know who it was so they could go and scold the person who told him this, but the man did not know it was Jesus.  The religious leaders required so much from the people, but themselves were unwilling to do anything other than keep themselves pure and knock other people down who broke one of their rules.  Jesus presents the people with the solution to this problem.  The first thing he requires is that they come to him, and not the false teachers and those who were claiming to be Godly.  He is not giving them another ridiculous rule to follow to maintain a pleasing status with God; rather he is the thing that makes a person pleasing to God.

             Beasts of burden were usually yoked in groups of two.  When one oxen died, they would begin to train a new oxen.  The yoke was a harness for two.  As the mature and trained oxen plowed correctly the new oxen would be steadied and would only need to stay connected to his partner to stay on task.  He didn’t need to worry about doing it correctly, he just needed to stay in unison with the ox next to him.  Jesus wanted them to know that when they connected themselves with him, it would be their relationship with him that would make them disciples.  They needed only to be willing to walk as he walked, and to do as he did.  He wanted to teach them, and he wanted them to be teachable.  Jesus also wanted them to know that those who had a guilty and unsettled spirit could find peace with him; such as those who felt the weight of a lifetime of sin upon them; they needed only to yoke themselves to him, and he would take that sin upon his shoulders, and carry it.  He reminded them that he was gentle, in that he did not wish to harm them if they made a mistake (like the religious leaders were doing), but rather, he was approachable, loving, peaceful, and patient.  He is making the relationship between them and God no longer predicated upon rules and rituals, but upon a relationship.

             Today, Jesus is still calling out to those who are heavy laden and burdened down.  Many people are attempting to follow some set of rules, believing this will bring them closer to God.  They have not yet figured out that coming to Jesus is the only way to know God, and that it is our relationship with him that makes us more Godly.  Jesus is in heaven, but we are yoked with him in the form of the Holy Spirit.  In this place, we become more like him, each and every day, as we grow closer, and closer to him.  As we pray daily, as we talk with him, as we read his words, and let them move us in our actions, we are being transformed in to his image.  When we feed the hungry, when we love others, when we give without asking in return, it is because we are bonded to him, and we are his disciples indeed.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You would help us to have this rest You promise.  Give us the lowliness in heart that You have promised us as well.  Give us Your burden, however light it may be.  Help us to learn from You, and to grow closer to You, and to become more like You each and every day.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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