Reading: Matthew 11. 27-30 New Living Translation (NLT)
27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens”.
It is an open invitation to everyone. But, interestingly, it is an invitation to a yoke, a yoke to the tired and already burdened people. It doesn’t seem to be a proper invitation. Most of us who have been in lockdown for several months now may find it not easy. But, here, we need to carefully look at the yoke Jesus is talking about.
As we know, a yoke is a heavy wooden harness, which fits over the shoulders of oxen, so that they can pull a piece of equipment attached to it. In Jewish culture, it is said that usually two oxen are put and tied into a yoke. So, when they are put together into a yoke, immediately they start fighting fiercely and desperately, to take an initiative under the yoke. They fight and fight, until one of them kneels down and surrenders to the other. Then, the loser is to follow the winner all the time obediently. When the winner starts to go one way, the loser should follow it. When he stops, the other stops. When he turns, the other should turn. That is the situation of taking a yoke together.
So, when we are invited to Jesus’ yoke, we must understand that we should follow his way wherever he goes, walk in his pace, and when he dances, we should dance to his beat, and imitate his style, and learn from him whatever he does. That is what it means to take his yoke, through which we can live by his Spirit, walking together with Jesus in his yoke. It is not just following his way in a distance, in my own style, as if I know the steps. It is to live and walk with him humbly, in his yoke, resisting my own will.
And, the church is the place where we can practice our footsteps, which we learn from Jesus. It is the place where we move our footsteps following the tune Jesus plays, whatever the tune the world may play. In doing so, we can tame our sinful flesh, and overcome all the temptations of following the worldly steps.
Now then, have you learned any new steps from Jesus? If so, I just want you to show them, and share them in our church family, so that we all may follow his style and his way.
Lord, we pray that in our journey, we all may go together, taking up Jesus’ yoke, and sharing the burdens with each other, so that we may become more like Jesus, walk like Jesus, dance like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and live in his freedom. Amen.