“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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 NIV
Have you heard this verse before? I like The Message paraphrase of it.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.“
In the Jewish context, the Rabbis spoke of the yoke of the Torah. In the Torah-what we know as the first five books of the Old Testament-are 613 laws. That’s quite a load to carry.
On top of that, add the Pharisees’ rules and traditions that made it harder to break any of the above laws. They put them in place because they desperately wanted to be right with God.
Then Jesus shows up and flips that on its head. He sums up the 613 laws with, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Except now we don’t have to deal with the burden of the Torah. I don’t even think any of my readers are observant Jews. As far as I know, we’re all classified as Gentiles or non-Jews.
What is our burden then? Is it our worldview? Do we deal with the yoke of:
- Searching for identity instead of resting in the fact that a Christian is a child of God?
- Postmodernism’s no objective reality; it all depends on how you feel because nothing contradicts, yet everything contradicts?
This leads to an introspective question. What yoke are you under? What burden are you carrying?