ESV - 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
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Since man has had a knowledge of good and evil, he/she had to experience pain, suffering and death as a manifestation of curses of the knowledge of evil (Genesis 3: 16-19). Fortunately, man also has had a knowledge of good; a knowledge about God, who is good and His mercy endured forever (2 Chronicles 7: 3); and He, who has done everything well (Mark 7: 37) and, no one is good-except God alone (Mark 10: 18). By believing and following Jesus, all evil matters symbolized in "yoke" and "burden"caused by the knowledge of evil will be overcome by the knowledge of good (John 16: 33) : a salvation on earth and in Heaven (John 3: 16-21).
A yoke was a wooden beam which was placed across the shoulders of two animals working in tandem. It allowed them to direct their combined labor to a single task, accomplishing that which could not be done alone. Jesus is suggesting that we give up the idea of achieving righteousness by our own effort and be yoked together with him. In doing so we find that he shoulders the load and relieves us of the burden of sin which no person can overcome alone. When the burden of sin has been dealt with, we are released to live productive lives of joy, peace and purpose. "His yoke is easy, his burden is light..."
A yoke means work, as originally oxen were united together to farm land. Yokes meant heavy, hard work because the yokes themselves were heavy and wooden (crossbars) which were utilized to connect 2 oxen together to plow more efficiently than the one man behind the horse/ox idea. But Jesus is using a paradox here (which He loved/loves to do). Jesus contrasts the load of doing the Law with the light burden of obeying His teachings (with His help, of course). Help us, O Lord, Thy yoke to wear, Delighting in Thy perfect will; Each other’s burden learn to bear, And thus Thy law of love fulfill. --a hymn by Thomas Cotterill entitled, "More Blessed to Give Than to Receive"
"Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mt 11:28) I don't believe anyone can truthfully declare themselves to be without the heaviness of stress and anxiety that we labor with, before we accept the offer from Jesus to bring it to him. It's standard issue for life here on this planet. It matters not your station in life; this life, every life that begins and ends here, is characterized by trials and tribulations. If you're in search of a part that is trouble free, you've taken a starring role in the wrong movie. Here in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33). That's the burden that Jesus is speaking about in Matt 11. I don't think he's talking about the burden of trying to keep the Law of Moses. I don't think he's talking about trying to get to heaven or anything like that. I think he's talking about the stress of life that is inevitable. I don't care how well situated you are, at a certain age of your life you begin to feel the pressure of simply being alive. It starts for some at an earlier age than others, depending on many different circumstances. Environment, social status, manner of living, and other considerations all play a part. I don't believe anyone is exempt. This is what I think this scripture is about. Simple, everyday stress. He says, "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." There's a whole lot to unpack in that. Is he offering us to swap burdens? No, he doesn't actually say he's going to take away the burden that has you weighed down; he says he's going to give us an added burden that will be restful for our soul. We're going to be yoked together with him. How does that work? "Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart." I don't care how easy-going we might think we are, we naturally struggle with the sin of pride and being self-centered. It's where sin was born in mankind. It was the birthplace of unrighteousness. The hardest thing for all of us is to get our minds off of ourselves. How did Satan get Adam to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit? He got Adam's wife Eve to eat it first. Then Adam also ate. So, they both ate of the fruit. Why? Because Satan lied to them; he said that God had not told them the truth. Instead of believing God they believed Satan. Why? I think he appealed to a part of them with which he could identify: he knew there was a good chance they could be just as self-centered as he was. He was right! They put themselves before God. It's the day pride was found in them the same as it was found in Satan. "Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor" (Ezekiel 28:). This was said of Satan. The same thing happened to them/us. We forgot about God. Jesus offers us a chance to humble ourselves by imitating him. It's the cure for our heaviness. We need to concentrate our attention on him instead of focusing on our self-centeredness and lack of self-control. He says "learn of me." I think he means we're to study him. When we come to a good understanding of who he is and just how empty we are without him, we will "find rest for [our] souls." He's talking about an inner peace that comes from knowing him. I don't mean knowing about him. Even the unbelieving world knows about him, there's nothing in that to calm an anxious soul.. If you want to find peace that you can't get anywhere else, humble yourself and learn from him the value of humility, 'Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men... he humbled himself by becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross' (Phil 2:6-8). Why didn't the citizens of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum not repent? PRIDE! Vanity is our heavy burden. When we become his servants, we'll find rest for our anxious souls.
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