No Yolk! Sun 29th April

All of us who have walked with Jesus for some time will have a number of Scriptures that are particularly pertinent to us. Over the years, I have found myself returning, time and again, to the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew Chapter 11. Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

A yoke is a wooden collar which is laid across the back of oxen in order that they can be comfortably attached to the plough which they are tasked to pull. In speaking, Jesus contrasts himself to the religious leaders of the day, many of which laid burdens upon people’s shoulders that were too great for them to bear. I love the fact that Jesus was a carpenter by trade. He was undoubtedly therefore experienced at crafting hand-made yokes, designed to fit perfectly around individual oxen. By using this imagery, Jesus is saying that he does not overwhelm us with laws, nor overburden us with tasks. Rather, he calls us to himself as the one who is humble and gentle at heart in order that our souls may find rest. Yet this glorious, deep, renewing and refreshing rest comes; not by doing nothing, but by being united with him and serving alongside him. Isn’t that wonderful?

Be blessed, Gareth