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Yoked with Jesus

“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” (Matthew 11:28,29).

Are you tired? Probably. Perhaps the rigors of daily life, worries about the future, or a grueling schedule are wearing you out. Maybe you’re tired from carrying burdens such as physical pain, emotional ache, or the guilt of past sins.

When you are tired and worn out, you need a break. You need some rest.

Looking for rest from your burdens

In Matthew chapter 11, Jesus offers that rest: “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.” That’s good news, isn’t it? I’m weary. I’m burdened. I can use some rest.

But do you notice how Jesus gives you rest? It’s not how you’d expect. You’d expect Jesus to say, “Give me your burdens. Let me carry them for you.” But he doesn’t say that here. Instead, he says, “Take my yoke upon you.” He sees you carrying your burdens and says, “Here, carry something else.” That’s odd.

It’s odd because of what he’s telling you to carry: a yoke. A yoke is a heavy wooden beam farmers use to join oxen together for plowing a field or hauling a load. It isn’t the most comfortable thing to wear. It is heavy, hot, and can be downright painful. That’s what Jesus tells you to carry. It doesn’t make sense.

Jesus shares your load

But it does make sense for two reasons. The first reason is because yokes are used for teamwork. Two oxen can drag a heavy plow or haul a weighty load much more easily than one ox working by itself. So when Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you,” he is really saying that he wants to share the load. Jesus is there to help you carry your burdens. So be yoked with Jesus so he can help you with your troubles and problems.

The second reason Jesus tells you to take up his yoke is because of the experience factor. Farmers yoke two kinds of oxen together—an older, experienced one and a younger, inexperienced one. The older, more experienced ox has carried the yoke many times, and it shows the younger, inexperienced one how to carry a heavy load.

That’s what Jesus does for you. He says, “Learn from me.” Jesus knows how the daily rigors of life or a grueling schedule can wear you out. He knows what it’s like to suffer physical pain and emotional hurt. He knows what it’s like to live in a world full of sorrow and heartache. He knows what it’s like to carry a heavy load. He knows what you’re going through. He knows, and he wants to teach you how to carry that burden.

Be yoked with Jesus so he can help you with your troubles and problems.

So go to Jesus. Hear his earnest call: “Come to me.” Don’t let pain or doubt, skepticism or sorrow keep you from Jesus. Take up his yoke. He gives you what he is carrying: forgiveness for the sins that trouble you, relief from the pains that hurt you, and freedom from the guilt that weighs you down. In him, you find rest—for right now and for eternity.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, direct us weary and burdened sinners to Jesus, in whom we find rest for our souls. Amen.

Author: Evan Chartrand
Volume 111, Number 07
Issue: July 2024

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This entry is part 1 of 61 in the series devotion

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