Jesus offers each individual person a promise of rest and peace. No matter what Jesus offers you rest for your soul in Matthew 11:28-29.
For 2000 years these words of promise have given peace to Jesus friends. Jesus invitation couldn't be simpler. He's speaking to every person who has too much to carry. If we're honest we could all talk about the burdens we have to carry. There are so many burdens people try to shoulder alone:
- unrealistic religious systems
- guilt and shame over the past
- unanswered prayer or unhealed part of your life
- grief over loss
When Jesus says to come and walk with him he used a very common everyday image that most everyone in Palestine 2000 years ago might understand: a yoke. It was the wood placed across an animal so it could pull. When Jesus says we should take on his yoke everybody knew what he meant. I am a city kid, a graduate of good old South High in Minneapolis. I don't know much about horses. But I have seen two horses yoked together that had amazing power.
When I was first a pastor a member of the church, a retired airline pilot, invited out the kids for wagon rides and slay rides. He had two great big old Belgian horses. I couldn't reach up to the top of their backs they were so big. When these two old horse, both a good 20 years old, were yoked together they had such amazing power. A wagon load of kids or a slay filled with two families was no trouble for these two beautiful animals to pull.
Jesus says, come along side of him and take his yoke on your shoulders. Jesus invitation isn't an invitation to drop everything and run away from the struggle. No he's offering you and me an invitation to enter the journey through our lives starting now with him sharing his yoke.. He says we should take his yoke on your shoulders. Jesus was telling the people a profound truth of a life of faith in a language everybody in his day understood. They all knew the power of two animals who shared a yoke walking side by side. Jesus doesn't say the load will disappear. Instead he spoke of sharing his yoke. Jesus didn't say every trouble will be gone if you just believe. He said come and learn from him. Jesus offers us a very vivid image of the Christian life walking side by side with someone who is gentle and humble in heart. We are meant to walk close to Jesus, shoulder to shoulder close, just like those two old Belgian horses who pulled together. Riding along people could hear their hoofs landing in rhythm with one another. Jesus invites us to that close of a walk with him. Come and learn his gentle and humble pace.
Peace and thanks for reading, John