Find Rest For Your Souls
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
The religious legalism was oppressive when Jesus spoke these beckoning words; It still weighs as a heavy burden in our lives. But, often we use these words to extend into other areas like being overwhelmed with life and needing rest in this wearisome world. Jesus supplies rest from the law, repose in this world and eternal rest for our souls.
Who in the midst of this busy and overwhelming existence would think it enticing to say, Come over here. Let me put a heavy, wooden harness on your neck.?
Yokes are definitely a commodity of the past. I haven’t been able to think of anything comparable, so this is a stretch to say this least. A three-legged or sack race is not wooden or heavy, but I keep envisioning my children on field day being tied to other kids, how burdensome it is for them to work together but, in actuality, against each other. I picture oxen being that way under such weight, then Jesus saying, Take mine on you. It’s easy. And my burden, (emotionally difficult to bear, source of great worry or stress, responsibility or duty, load, oppressive) it’s light.
We are tired, overwhelmed, forgetful. How can we possibly carry a burdensome, heavy piece of wood on our shoulders?
Jesus carried it for us.
He is not asking us to perform.
It has already been fulfilled. Accomplished.
He’s just wooing us to come.
Find rest for our souls.
The reason we can take on the yoke and the burden is because we’re not really taking on anything at all. We’re just accepting what he did on our behalf — a life we could never live, a death we deserved to die.
A yoke cannot be easy, and a burden cannot be light. Such is the beauty of the oxymoronic words of Jesus. Only through a perfect man who came and turned our world upside-down are these things possible.