Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In contrast to the religious leaders, Jesus offers an “easy yoke.” The phrase ‘yoke’ comes from the world of farming, where the yoke was used to connect oxen together for the purpose of plowing. Rabbis used this term to talk about their students. A student (disciple) was “yoked” to his rabbi. This meant that he followed the rabbi everywhere, and imitated him in everything he did — just like an ox had to go step by step with the other ox to which it was yoked. Jesus encourages us that walking step by step with him is easy and light. The word “easy” actually means “simple.” Walking with Jesus is hard work, but it isn’t complicated. And unlike Satan’s yoke, it bears fruit and leads to life. Jesus’ yoke is light because we no longer have the heaviness of having to please everyone else (or even ourselves — sometimes we are our own harshest judge). Instead, we work under the lightness of Jesus’ love and affirmation.