A Call to the Weary

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Please tell me I’m not the only one who grew up hearing this verse and thinking of eggs…I think it’s because when you grow up hearing it the closest thing you identify with the word “yoke” is “yolk”. Up until writing this months ago, I spent pretty much my entire life wondering what in the world a “yoke” is. (Knowing that it doesn’t actually have any correlation to an egg.) All I’ve ever known is that it must be hard or heavy if Jesus is offering to take it from me.

As an adult, I’ve learned not only that “yoke” is very different from “yolk”, but also that it carries deep meaning.

“‘Yoke’ was a common rabbinic designation for the Torah, cited in the Mishnah concerning proselytes taking up ‘the yoke of the commandments.'” [1] In the few verses prior to verse 28, Jesus is talking about how people who are well-rounded and full of knowledge and education, completely familiar with the law, are also completely missing the point (Jesus). Yet, little children understand. He explains that the only way to get to God is through Jesus. He is setting up His statement in verses 28-30 by saying in summary, You can be as Biblically well-rounded and educated as you want, but if you don’t get Jesus, you don’t get it. It’s impossible for you to keep all the commandments. That’s why I came. Stop working so hard and just rest. Learn from me by being with me instead of trying to earn my approval.” (Obvious paraphrase)

Jesus didn’t come to give us freedom in the sense of denying the law and doing whatever we please, but to live in true freedom from the burden of having to fully take on the law by ourselves. We should still embrace the law of God, but through the freedom we have in Jesus knowing that ultimately, only He could fulfill it. It’s not avoiding the law altogether, it’s a new way of approaching the law. He makes up where we fall short. Our souls find deep, satisfying rest from the weariness of trying to get it all right as we lean in to the kind heart of Jesus as He beckons us, “Come to me…”.

 

 

[1] [Ger, Steven (2018). Acts: Witnesses to the World (p. 210). Wordsearch. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com.%5D

 

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