February 2 I Thursday
“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…” —Matthew 11:28-29
Jesus invites all of us who are wearying and burdening ourselves to Him to find rest. He explains how we can experience that rest by telling us to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart.
In ancient Israel, a yoke was an instrument associated with more work. One would place a yoke on an ox so that it could do more work than it could by itself. This understanding is different from what we would typically imagine when we think of rest, like a relaxing vacation by a beach, which then begs the question, what is Jesus’s yoke?
In the New Testament time, a rabbi’s yoke was commonly understood as his teaching. We could reinterpret Jesus as saying, “Take My teaching upon you and you will find rest.” In some respects, this is true. The more we align our lives with the teachings of Scripture, we discover His joy, goodness, and rest. However, the context of this verse seems to point to a different interpretation. One reason being that Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you,” which means Jesus Himself is also wearing this yoke. Another reason is that in the next verse, He speaks of “My burden” (Matthew 11:30), which is something He Himself carries or bears up under.
As we consider the verse prior to Jesus’s invitation, it actually provides us with a clue and insight into what He is actually saying. In Matthew 11:27, Jesus says, “All things have been committed to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” If we read this verse closely, the yoke that Jesus is inviting us into is contained in the verse. The yoke of Jesus is the relationship that He has with the Father. Jesus invites us into the very relationship that sits at the centre of the universe. It is actually the relationship that we were formed from and formed for. Yet, the culture around Jesus rejects His message. They are too wise and learned to receive the simplicity of what He is inviting them into.
Behind Jesus’s statement is also an implication that the patriarch, the prophets and the priests did not fully know God. Jesus stands unique; only He knows the Father and only He can reveal the Father to us. The yoke of Jesus is a relationship with the Father. May we receive the invitation that Jesus is offering to us—a relationship with God.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, I confess that I have wearied and overburdened myself chasing after my own idea of rest. Thank You for the invitation to come to You and find rest under Your yoke—a relationship with God.
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