Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Within the familiar passage above, you can't help but see that Jesus has given an invitation for three things for a significant result.
"Come unto me"
Notice Jesus did not say "Come to me" but He said "Come unto me." This gives the impression that Jesus was not just calling you to stand in front of Him, but to come under His arms of protection and safety.
"Take my yoke"
Unless you know what a yoke is, the above scripture will mean nothing to you. A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of oxen. It is attached to a piece of equipment the oxen are to pull. If the yoke is too loose or too tight, it is extremely uncomfortable.
There are more than 50 references to the yoke in the Bible. In most of the references, the yoke has a negative image of subjection and bondage. Because a yoke is heavy, it conveys the message of being burdened with more than you can carry. However, Jesus gives us hope by saying His yoke is a perfect fit.
A person may be carrying heavy burdens because of sin or oppression or persecution or even weariness in his search for God. Jesus tells us to come to Him with our weariness and heavy burdens for He can free us from them. But why would Jesus use the metaphor of a heavy yoke if we are already weary and heavy laden?
It is because Jesus knew something about yokes. Jesus learned the trade of carpentry as an apprentice to His father (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). One tradition says they specialized in custom-made yokes for animals.
"And learn of me"
Jesus wants us to learn of Him. He wants us to know that He gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Even though most yokes are heavy, Jesus says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We can turn in our heavy yoke for the one that belongs to Jesus. And besides, Jesus is walking with us to share the load.
Jesus invites us to come to Him when we are tired and burdened down with cares of this world. He promised to give us rest — the rest that refreshes, restores, and revives. Accept that invitation and experience the rest that only Jesus can give.
Notice the above scripture clearly shows a partnership. When you respond to the invitation, Jesus promises to help you carry that heavy load. Then He will give you rest.
If you are weary and heavy laden, accept His invitation right now during this Lenten period so you can find rest for your soul.
You are invited to read the Lenten lesson for Day 29.