“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30, NKJV).
Does the imagery in this passage strike you as surprising? A yoke is an instrument of arduous labor. It joins two oxen together so they can pull tediously heavy items forward. Why would Jesus use a symbol of backbreaking toil to teach about receiving His gift of rest? Why didn’t He say something like, “Come, climb into My hammock while My angels fan you gently and serve you lemonade”? Or “Come, collapse on My heavenly mattress, pull up My sumptuous covers, and you will find rest for your souls”?
There’s an excellent reason. He chose the symbol of a yoke because all of us, in real life, are carrying weighty responsibilities. We can’t just cease from our obligations and take a perpetual vacation. He wants to teach us to be at rest on the inside – in the depths of our souls – even as we carry out our everyday activities.
The yoke binds the two oxen together and makes them one unit. When you unite yourself to Jesus, you unite yourself to His rest. He is always deeply at rest in His soul. When you and He are entwined together, that profoundly peaceful restfulness flows from His soul to yours. Then, no matter what the activity, you move through it in His strength, not your own.
“Learn from Me.” That means, “Lean into My bosom as I impart to you My rest. Receive the peace I am ever pouring into you. Discover a new way to live. I will train you to cease from your own toilsome labors as you instead let Me do the work through you.”
How? It all starts with those first three words:
“Come to Me…” The more we heed His beckoning… the more we come into His arms… the more we spend time with Him… the more we will learn His lifestyle of restfulness. Then we will be able to truly declare with Him, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light!”
What are your observations about the rest that comes through oneness with Jesus?